MySpiritualAdvisor.com’s Mark Kurowski reflects on chaos, life and God. How does a Spiritual being enter us and change us? What does it mean to have the Holy Spirit in our lives? Listen to this podcast of his reflection on the readings for Pentecost Sunday to find out what this all means. Please read Acts 2:1-11 #Prayer #Sermons #Homilyhelper #Pentecost #HolySpirit
MySpiritualAdvisor.com, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 6/8/2014, Pentecost Sunday.
Please pause this audio and read Acts 2:1-11 .
Where do you belong?
In the life that God has given me to live, there has been a continuous stream of people who are confused, in trouble, and don’t know where to turn. They have laws they live by that are confused, troublesome and chaotic. Just the simplest obvious situations are clouded.
I had a family come to me in the era prior to cell phones who were living in chaos and discord. The mother and the 14 year old were at odds all the time. There was no communication between them. The lack of communication was the cause of great suspicion and distrust. I asked them to describe a typical day.
The daughter said, “I come home on the bus from school. I get something out of the fridge. I go up to my room, turn on my television and call my friends. Then my mom comes and stands outside my door and bugs me.”
The mother, exasperated, said, “I feel like throwing the television through the window and ripping the phone out of the wall.”
That is when I said, “Why don’t you? Who said a fourteen year old person has the right to have a television and a house phone in their room? You are just inviting her to live a life without you.” The mother looked relieved. The daughter looked horrified. I was stunned, but satisfied. “Where did that wisdom come from?” I thought for a second, and then, I knew. It was the Holy Spirit who used me when I wasn’t expecting it.
The end of the story is that the daughter lost her television and phone. She was forced to negotiate what television was to be watched in the common area of the home. The mother was forced to give in more than she wanted to, but the relationship was forged. The next month, they returned and there was order again. With the order, there was peace. Mother was the mother again. Daughter was the daughter again. Love was the rule of the day again. It was as God intended.
Today is the day that the Law was given on Mt. Sinai to Moses. This feast of Pentecost, the 50 days, is the day that our brothers and sisters in the Jewish Temples celebrate and remember the giving of the Torah, the Law, to Moses. It is a sign of the way of life that the Jews are to live. They call it the “Feast of Weeks” or “Shavuot”. It is a time of gathering in the first harvest of crops that are ready after seven weeks of growth.
We Christians are a religion of fulfillment. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law. The prophecies of that same law given on the Mountain of Sinai are fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus made a promise that he would not leave us orphaned and so, today, we celebrate the day that the Holy Spirit was given formally to the Church. We are joined to Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit to unite our spirits and souls to Jesus and we thus fulfill the Law.
It is a monumental day for us. No longer will the determination of our salvation be by an ethnic birth into a “people of God.” No longer will an outside law dominate us as we struggle to do what is good. No, not for us. We have been given God who is Spirit, without body, who moves in us to say things we never expected, to give order to those who are in a chaotic existence. The Holy Spirit is not in a body, does not grow old, in fact, can make us feel oh so very young again with life, purpose and perspective.
St. Basil the Great, a church father who lived in the 300s and was a Bishop in what is modern day Turkey, said that all life is from the Holy Spirit, lived through the Holy Spirit, and is directed to the Holy Spirit. We say in the creed, “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life.” The one who is given to us affirms the giving of the Laws to Moses, but he supersedes the Law and the Prophets in the sense that he enters us spiritually and writes the Law and the Prophets on our hearts. Life and purpose come from God, come from the Holy Spirit. This is a monumental day, a day of great celebration. No longer should we have to teach one another, “Know the Lord, “ for we all know him, from the least of us to the greatest. The Holy Spirit has written His love on our hearts. He has killed us and given us new birth through the waters of baptism. He has rid us of our lives of chaos, given us a new life to live with Him and to Him. He connects us to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
On facebook the other day, I accidentally allowed myself to get into a posting fight about whether animals are going to heaven or not. On other days, I get into posting arguments with people who think the poor should be dependent only upon churches and the whims of generosity of the rich and powerful. On other days, I get into posting arguments with people who think that babies are disposable. Where does this all come from when we know that only humans were created in the image and likeness of God, that we are to give to all who beg from us and that our nation will be judged as Amos warned when we do not take care of our poor as a whole, and when we know that all life is sacred enough to have the God of the universe come in human form and die for us to live forever? All of this comes when we forget that all life, ALL life, is given by the Holy Spirit, is given purpose when lived with the Holy Spirit and is ordered properly when directed to the Holy Spirit.
Certainly, there is a messiness of the Holy Spirit, too. Each of us are given gifts to fulfill God’s work and that doesn’t always follow the neat and tidy cultural constructions of our individual churches. There are some of us who live from the Holy Spirit, with the Holy Spirit and to the Holy Spirit as we live in the wilderness because our life brings chaos to the community of faith. Yet, there are some questions that need to be asked, a testing of the Spirit himself, as directed by 1 John 4 in Scripture that needs to happen.
We need to ask if our life is chaotic because we are doing something that is godly, but the world cannot understand. Is the community of faith breaking a commandment of God? We need to ask if what we are doing is something that is self-serving. God usually gives us something to do and be that serves others. Is our chaos from the fact that we are not serving others, but have turned in upon ourselves and have victimized ourselves so that the world will serve us? We need to ask if the chaos in our lives is because we are being prophetic or pathetic. If we are delivering a word from the Holy Spirit, then we know we that it will fulfill the law of love. Remember, love rejoices in the right, not the wrong. Love is not jealous. Love is not arrogant, boastful, rude, irritable, resentful nor insisting on its own way. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things.
It is only when we have removed all of these self focused and hurtful things that there is room for the Holy Spirit to take us, mold us, make us and move us to change the world. It is when we have evaluated ourselves, truly evaluated ourselves and removed the junk that there is a room in the house for the Holy Spirit to move in and make a home in us.
So, today, receive the Holy Spirit! Recognize that your life, purpose and goal is the Holy Spirit. Be moved to have your heart filled with the Holy Spirit by removing all that selfish stuff. When you have your life ordered from, with and to the Holy Spirit, then you will have the power of God that moves mountains. So, today, I invite you to evaluate your motives. Look under the hood of your heart and listen for God who is speaking to you.
Where do you belong? That is what I asked at the beginning of this message. You belong to the Holy Spirit. You belong to the Church. You belong here. Amen? Amen.
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