Posted on Sat, May 21, 2016
Romans 8:14-17, 22-27
May 15, 2016
Day of Pentecost: “God’s unfolding promise to mend the entire Universe.”
Text: Romans 8:14-17, 22-27
14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba!* Father!’ 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness* with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in* hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes* for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes* with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God,* who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit* intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.*
Pentecost is the Birthday of the Church! Not the church as in the ELCA, or the Pacifica Synod, or even Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church. It is the Birth, the real birth, of the Body of Christ. It is the completion of the Holy Trinity. God the Father, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the One who chose Israel to be God’s people for the purpose of being a “Priestly Kingdom and a holy nation.” And according to our text in Exodus, Moses calls his elders and they declared, that they will do “Everything the LORD has spoken we will do!” After this the LORD said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, in order that the people may hear when I speak with you and so trust you forever.” God is never far, and always visible!
Already, God is speaking of appearing in some form so that the people can hear and experience God speaking to Moses, leading Moses, giving counsel to Moses, and providing for the people of Israel, so that they can demonstrate to the world that they indeed are a Priestly Kingdom and a holy nation.
The question for me is how are they called to demonstrate God’s mercy, faithfulness and grace to all the people living in that same land? How are they to live so that all people see them as a Priestly Kingdom and a holy nation? Just read you copy of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism and the explanation of the Ten Commandments. If you read it over, you will notice how Luther turns all the “Thou Shall nots!” into “Thou Shall!” The role of Israel is to be faithful to God’s leading and living according to the commandments.
When Jesus comes on the scene, we get a clearer picture of what being a “Priestly Kingdom and a Holy Nation” means; Jesus’ commandments are very simple: 1) Stay focused by our Loving and Living God, and 2) by loving your neighbor as you have been loved by God. We can’t understand the second part of that commandment; until we truly take quiet time to meditate on all the blessings and gifts we have in all shapes and sizes. The time we have with friends and family, the food we have received, the beauty that surrounds us each and everyday, the chance to learn and deepen our mind and spirit. The list goes on and on. It is essential to talk with our neighbors about the Blessings of God, because we miss so many blessings if we only think and look by ourselves. The Second Commandment, allows us to share and experience the Love, mercy and joy God has bestowed on us by being Priestly people and holy through faith. This is essentially that words that were commanded by the Lord through Moses.
Now, comes the Holy Spirit, our advocate who walks along side with us in the very same way that God lead Moses, and Jesus lead his disciples, but now, through the Holy Spirit there is power for our faith.
There is power to preach like never before, Peter’s speech in Acts is a fine example of that truth. There is a passion to praise God in all situations because the Holy Spirit gives us the power to feel God’s presence in all situations. There is also, among many, the power to heal.
I love to focus on how suddenly the disciples could speak the languages of all the people gathered in the very cosmopolitan city of Jerusalem and go out as Missionaries to all parts of the world, but today I want us to look at the coming of the Holy Spirit as a means of allowing our faith to a form or power for healing. One of my favorite little writings is a book called “Manna and Mercy, A brief history of God’s unfolding promise to mend the entire universe.”
As a faith community, we have gone through some very painful valleys over the past month or so. As we all know, a huge part of Jesus’ ministry was healing and mending minds as well as hearts. He healed those who were physically sick, and he also mended people by giving them hope when they were in despair. Remember the woman at the well, she felt alone even within a community. Jesus reached out to her, and gave her hope by first just talking with her and mending her relationship with the Most High God. When Jesus proclaims that in His giving of his life for us, we receive the hope of eternal life, but in the sending of the Holy Spirit, we don't have focus on a time that is undetermined, but on the very present now.
For many of us, there are holes in our heart that are too big for us to mend by ourselves… That would be the role of the Holy Spirit. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one, and Jesus was the master at healing.
The Holy Spirit gives us the power and courage to confess that we aren’t always a priestly people or holy nation, but it also gives us the power to believe that our shortcomings, sins, doubts and the like don't define us. What defines us is the fact that our salvation and relationship with God was the focus of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus came first to mend our relationship, on a personal, one to one level, with God. The Holy Spirit was given to us to give us real HOPE. Hope that is founded on God’s promise of always being with us, the same promise God gave to Moses in appearing in the cloud, and in the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit coming into our midst blessing us with the power of faith, the joy of sharing, the loveliness of holding or caring for someone who is in pain, the desire to work for justice for all people, the need to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the afflicted, and periodically afflict the comfortable.
The Holy Spirit rushed into the room and soon the disciples took off to places all over the world. Today, let the Holy Spirit enter your heart, mind and soul and let the love that surpasses all understand you, help to mend your heart with God and all of God’s beloved. Amen.
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