Monday, May 21, 2007

When God Keeps a Promiese Pentecost C John 14:8-27 Acts 2:1-21

There's a real difference between making a promise and delivering on that promise. In Acts 2 God carried through on his promise. He told his friends, before he died,

“If you love me, you will keepf my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,g to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be inh you.

18 “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.

f Other ancient authorities read me, keep g Or Helperh Or among The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version, John 14:15-18. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
In our day we are suspicious of promises; but faith in God means living on a promise. Jesus promised to be with his followers. He told them that they would never be alone, that help was on the way. Jesus comes into our lives over and over, just as he promised. He came in Holy Spirit at Pentecost and he comes today in Word, Sacrament, and Spirit into our lives.

Reading Acts 2 we can imagine the arrival of the Holy Spirit into the life of the early church. The believers were together. They had recently seen their Risen Lord or heard from other followers who had seen him in alive in the flesh even after death. They would have been in a state of awe and wonder to have seen him again. The Spirit flowed into and through that same group of believers. A noise like a violent wind πνοη̂ς βιαίας rushed in. Unimagined things started to happen. They were speaking in their own native languages and understanding everything spoken in other languages. And they asked a great question that has been wrestled with for 2000 years.
All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”Acts 2:12 (NRSV)

So what does it mean, to have the Spirit come into the church. It means God is present. Some call Pentecost the birthday of the church. It was, but it wasn't the only moment of the Spirit's activity. The experience of God, active in Word and Spirit was not completed on Pentecost, God was just getting started. The challenge of our day is to give credit to the Spirit for all the gifts that we receive from God. There are numerous gifts of the Spirit but we mustn't over look faith and hope. Luther wrote
... if I have the Holy Spirit, I have faith, by which I cling to God. And if I believe in God, then I also have his love and I love God, foe, and friend. That is why Paul says: I can do all things through the Spirit of God [Phil. 4:13]. The Spirit does not come through fasting, praying, pilgrimages, running to and fro around the country; no, only through faith. So Christ bestows his gifts upon you without any merit whatsoever and what he did for him [i.e., Paul], he does for you also.
Luther, Martin. Vol. 51, Luther's Works, Vol. 51 : Sermons I. Edited by Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann. Luther's Works. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999, c1959.
Jesus came to save. The Spirit comes to give life by revealing to is the promise made in the Word of God. Praise God for a Spirit who shows us light and life.

1 comment:

Pastor Eric said...

In Jackson and throughout most of MN it has been really windy. And as I look around my once neat and clean yard I am reminded that things don't stay neat and clean for long. The Spirit is alive and active in our lives and the Church. It blows where it wills and "messes" things up as a reminder to us to get up and do something. Too many people and churches have grown complacent. We need to get up and doing some "cleaning" - sharing God's love with each other.

Thank you for you post and for once again making me think. Take care.