Friday, 9 May 2008

Waiting For the Holy Ghost.

I have given a series of meditations on 'Waiting For the Holy Ghost' recently. We are doing a lot of waiting expectantly in the Anglican Church recently, much as the Apostles did before they were filled with the Holy Ghost and the charism to build the Church and renew the Earth. We could do with some renewal at the moment, pray with me this Pentecost, as the fire descends, that we may feel it in our hearts and show it in our lives.
"Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid"

Scripture: John 14:23-29
23 Jesus answered him, "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me. 25 "These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, `I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe.

Meditation: What makes us both truly human and truly like God? Love for certain. It is love that unites us in a bond of fellowship with others. From the very beginning of creation God said: it is not good that man should be alone (Genesis 2:18). We were created in love for love -- to be a community of loving persons, just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are united in love. John Henry Newman said: We love because it is our nature to love, and it is our nature because God the Holy Spirit has made it our nature. Jesus speaks to his disciples of the inseparable bound of love between himself and the Father, and of their love for humankind. In Jesus we see the fulness of God's love and how God's love is directed to our well-being. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might have life through him (1 John 4:9). How do we know that God loves us? In the cross we see the proof of God's love for us and the incredible price God was willing to pay for our redemption. Jesus gave up his life that we might have life — abundant, everlasting life with God -- a life of love and unity with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit forever. Through the cross Jesus opened a new way of relationship for us as adopted sons and daughters of God — his beloved children (Romans 8:14-17). Jesus calls his disciples to walk in his way of love through obedience to the will of the Father. True love is more than sentiment or good intentions. As important as these may be they are not the proof of sincere love. True love for God is expressed in obedience and obedience is expressed in love. Jesus promised to give his followers the best of gifts, the Holy Spirit as their Counselor and Helper. How does the Holy Spirit help us? Counselor is a legal term for one who defends someone against an adversary and who guides that person during the ordeal of trial. The Holy Spirit is our Advocate and Helper who brings us safely through the challenges and adversities we must face in this life. The Holy Spirit is also the Giver of life -- the life of God -- and the One who guides us in the way of truth. We can never stop learning because the Spirit leads us more and more into the knowledge of God's love and truth. Jesus also promised his followers the gift of peace. Peace is more than the absence of conflict or trouble. Peace includes everything which makes for our highest good. Trust in God, faith in his promises, and obedience to his word lead us to peace and safety in God's presence. That is why a Christian need not fear or be troubled by anything. What can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus?

"O God, you are the unsearchable abyss of peace, the ineffable sea of love, the fountain of blessings and the bestower of affection, who sends peace to those who receive it. Open to us this day the sea of your love and water us with abundant streams from the riches of your grace and from the most sweet springs of your kindness. Make us children of quietness and heirs of peace; enkindle in us the fire of your love; sow in us your fear; strengthen our weakness by your power; bind us closely to you and to each other in our firm and indissoluble bond of unity." (An ancient prayer from the Syrian Clementine liturgy)

Psalm 67:2-7
2 That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving power among all nations. 3 Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee! 4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for thou dost judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. 5 Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee! 6 The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us. 7 God has blessed us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!