Tell us about: The Holy Spirit

You will find and introduction to my BOM theological paperwork here: Doctrinal Exam

¶324.9.e:  What is your conception of the activity of the Holy Spirit in personal faith, in the community of believers, and in responsible living in the world?

John Wesley understood the working of the Holy Spirit as deeper and more meaningful than mere words could express, “It is hard to find words in the language of men to explain ‘the deep things of God.’”[1] Any explanation of the work of the Spirit will fall short of explaining the activity of the Holy Spirit in personal faith, in the community of believers, and in responsible living in the world. The Holy Spirit works in personal faith, reaching towards us with love before we can acknowledge or respond, before we are even aware of it. I see the work of the Holy Spirit in my story, stepping into my life, forgiving me, convicting me of my brokenness, all with a gentle but clear assurance of God’s love for me. Now, only now, can I choose to walk towards holiness, loving God, loving my neighbor and loving myself. To love my neighbor is to know that they are broken, just like I am broken, to love myself is to be open to my brokenness and find a soul loved by God, to love this world is to know that it is broken and find that creation is deeply loved by its creator.

 

By convicting us of our sin, as individuals and as the Church, the Holy Spirit allows us to feel the weight of Christ’s sacrifice for us and the love that God has for us. This love, rooted in our hearts, grows toward loving one another in a deep, meaningful, Christ-like way. We, as a community of believers walk side-by-side to bring God’s healing to one another. As a community of faith, the Holy Spirit draws us together towards the one: “the one Spirit, the one hope, the one Lord, the one faith, the one baptism, and the one God and Father of all.”[2] The Holy Spirit draws the community together through many means of grace; these outward signs of inward grace include prayer, searching the Scriptures, and receiving the Lord’s Supper.[3] 

As we find God’s grace and healing in the community of faith, the Holy Spirit draws us into the world: towards loving our Neighbor, desiring justice, healing the sick, and sharing God’s grace. The community of faith was not created for itself, “the Spirit has brought it into existence for the healing of nations.”[4] By knowing our own brokenness and experiencing God’s love, personally and in community, we can bring God’s love outside of the church, into the brokenness. The Holy Spirit shows up in the world wherever there is darkness, the community of believers, is to carry that light into the world. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, we find that we are loved, drawn into community, and sent into the world to carry God’s love into the darkness.

[1] John Wesley Sermon, The Witness of the Spirit I, I.7

[2] John Wesley Sermon, Of the Church, I.2-7

[3] John Wesley Sermon, The Means of Grace, II.1

[4] BOD, ¶102

Say a quiet yes to God…

#singingbowl via tiffkei
#singingbowl via tiffkei

Sunday, September 23, 2012

James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a

(prayerful response to Lectio Divina)

A sparkling word or phrase:

“Say a quiet yes to God”

The image:

The image I see as I listen to this text is first an image of total chaos. Maybe a group of people fighting over control, everyone going after what they want, ignoring the needs of others…maybe a “National Lampoon” family dinner or a board meeting gone awry. You know…Chaos!

But in this line…”Say A Quite Yes to God”…I see hope. In the midst of the chaos, I see a spot of quite…calm…peace…a place to rest. The thing is…that spot is always there. Always. No matter how noisy the chaos, how all-encompassing the chaos is…peace is always present.

Prayer:

Spirit of God, I see the chaos. How could I miss it. I “yell a loud no to the devil” all the time. Please help me remember that you God are present in the quite yes. Thanks be to God.

Related Links:

Lectio Divina when in doubt ~ Biblegateway ~ Using the  Bible to Meet with God ~

Contradiction…

A few weeks ago I found myself drawn into an epic debate over all things Christian. It was amazing and fun, I loved every second. At one point, an hour or two into the debate, I mentioned the contradictions in the Bible. To which my friend informed me that there were none. Which kind of confused me. Of course there are contradictions…of course he wanted examples…of course I couldn’t think of one in that second. Yikes! There is nothing worse than my brain taking a nap in the middle of a debate! (OK…there are many things in life that are much worse but it wasn’t a fun moment!)

When my brain finally rebooted, I pointed out that Genesis 1 depicts God as transcendent and powerful, while Genesis 2 describes God as anthropomorphic, walking through the garden in the evening. His answer was to point out the trinity and remind me that God is anthropomorphic and transcendent.

So, I was thinking about this conversation today and had one of those moments. You know, those moments that the answer comes after the opportunity to speak it has passed.

The trinity, in its very nature is contradictory. Somehow we hold the trinity with ease. We are OK with God that is Father, Son, and Spirit. We are fine with the fact the Christ is fully God and fully Man. These are contradictions, things that cannot fully exist at the same time. Why is it that God can be beyond our understanding but when it comes to the Bible we want to rid it of the things that don’t make sense? The Bible has contradictions. For me that’s one of the things that makes it Holy…it is a book that I can turn to when I need to look for peace…I can open it when I need strength, understanding, and wisdom. It is also a book that I find conviction and correction. I am OK with God being more than I can ever understand, I am also OK with the Bible being more than I can understand.

Related Stuff…

Holy Chaos

For the last week and a half, my life has consisted of planned…controlled…maddening…CHAOS. First, we planned and prepared Christmas dinner for fourteen people. Dinner was amazing and wonderful, even if my house only holds six or seven people at one time. We somehow made it work. Christmas Day was chaos but it held a Love that embraced us all.

A short twelve hours later the Christmas tree was down, decorations were stored for the year and we were ripping the carpet out of our living room. A different kind of chaos maybe…but chaos non-the-less! After spending most of the week creating a level surface, we finally laid our new flooring. Our new living room floor is flat, clean, new and beautiful. We still have chaos, little things that need to be done (like baseboards and bringing the furniture back in) but I am thankful that most of the dust is gone.

I would guess that my life over the past week had quite a bit of influence on how I read the lectionary text because chaos jumped off the page with every word. Genesis 1:1-5, the beginning. Chaos reigned; there was darkness, void, water…CHAOS. Then God brought light. Psalm 29 is a song that speaks of God’s power to create chaos. The wilderness shakes, the voice of God flashes forth flames of fire, God makes the oaks swirl and strips the forest bare. (We had a tree fall on our house last year during an intense windstorm, when the bible tells me that the LORD “strips the forest bare”, I can almost taste the chaos!) The next reading, Acts 19:1-7, Paul asks the people of Ephesus if they were baptized in the Holy Spirit, which sounds a bit like “was their chaos at your baptism?”  Paul lays his hands on them and “they spoke in tongues and prophesied.” This scene is almost as chaotic as 14 people packed like sardines into my little living room! Finally in Mark 1:4-11 “[Jesus] saw the heavens torn apart.” More chaos!

Occasionally a theme shines through the lectionary texts. This week the theme could be the Breath of God, the coming of the Holy Spirit, or maybe the power that the people feel when they encounter God…but with a chaotic Christmas Dinner and the absences of a living room floor in my recent past, I see chaos in these texts. A God that comes into our lives and brings light into the chaos (Genesis 1:1-5), a word so powerful it frees the forest of its leaves (Psalm 29), a God not bound by language (Acts 19:1-7) and tears the heavens apart to acknowledge Christ (Mark 1:1-11). Our God is a God that is not afraid of chaos.

Chaos on the web: