June 11, 2000
MAY THE WORDS OF MY MOUTH ... AND THE MEDITATIONS OF ALL
OUR HEARTS ... BE ALWAYS ACCEPTABLE TO YOU --- OUR STRENGTH AND
OUR REDEEMER AMEN
Do today's Bible lessons scare you? ... I am thinking especially of the Acts reading describing the day of Pentecost .. but also the John and Corinthians readings. If they don't scare you -- you probably have not been listening!! Hear it again -- "they were filled with the Holy Spirit!!" .. or the gospel of John: "as the Father has sent me, so I send you .. receive the Holy Spirit." ... or Paul's letter to us: "to every one of you has been given a manifestation of the Holy Spirit for the common good."
You are filled with the Holy Spirit ... you have been given gifts - talents - abilities which are a manifestation - evidence - symptom - indication of the Holy Spirit's presence in your life, and in this world ... you have been sent out by God -- by God to serve the common good!!
Scared yet? .... I could repeat all that if you're not!! It is a scary and daunting description of our lives as Christians.
I wish that rather than hearing people say they do not attend church because it has nothing to say to them, people would say they do not go to church because they are afraid to take on those responsibilities. They are afraid to learn that they are filled with the Holy Spirit and God expects them to do something with it!
We are faced here again with the contrast between the old covenant -- the relationship between God and human beings based on the law -- based on a myriad of specific rules .... verses the new covenant -- the relationship described best when Jesus said "Now I call you friends". The contrast is clear when we understand that Pentecost was a Jewish holiday commemorating the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. In the midst of all these people celebrating the law God gave them -- God gives a much more powerful and ...
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