In my sermon yesterday I used the Romans 8:22-27 lectionary text. This is one of those passages that reminds us of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is a good Pentecost passage. It is a passage of hope set in the reality of a world existing in the pain of peccancy. We will have problems, struggles, conflicts, and face the gauntlet of negative emotions. There will be times when it seems overwhelming.
During these times we may realize there is not a quick fix. We may have to accept the limitations of our certainty and walk completely in faith. We may have to endure and just wait on the Lord. In these times we may not feel very hopeful. We may not know what to do. We may have to accept the difficult and put our hope completely in the intercession of the Holy Spirit in our behalf.
As Juanell and I move through our current process of change, I realize there are matters which are not in our control. We do not know if our house will sell. We do not know where Juanell will be working. Even though I pray and pray for answers and action, right now I do not know how things will finally unfold. I can be assured God does. But I can be confident God hears the Spirit in my heart interceding for me.
The one thing I do know is I CAN trust my Lord for things to work out. The passage after Romans 8:22-27 gives this assurance. All things will work for good for those who love the Lord. I have seen this promise played out time and time again, even when I could not understand how or why in the midst of the situation or circumstances. We do serve a great God!
This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. It is also Memorial Day Sunday. In Memorial Day, we remember sacrifices and services of the past. We reflect on relationships with those who have gone beyond the veil and now fully know what we await.
In Pentecost we celebrate the power of promise. We rejoice in the presence. We reflect upon the purpose given to those of us who hold the hope in Jesus. Pentecost is the birth of the church. It is giving of the gift and gifts which this world cannot give. It is a reminder of baptism and connection of communion. It is a day of rejoicing.
A day of rejoicing and respect. What a wonderful combination for worship.
*A personal note: What a gift God has given me. What an exciting hope and renewed desire I have been blessed with. Last night I met with six people who have accepted a responsibility in which I will be intimately involved. I could not ask for this intimacy to be in better hands. God is so good.
I am less than a month away from beginning my service to a new family of faith. I am filled with excitement and anticipation. God has given me a new sense of optimism and hope.
This new direction in my spiritual journey and calling has developed out of crisis and reflection. It is a direction revealed only after prayer, research, confirmation and having God open one door after another. I have no doubt God has opened this door and as such will bless me in ways I cannot even imagine as I make this change.
I begin this change not with a Pollyanna-ish perspective, but from a perspective enabled by years of experience, tempered and seasoned through storms and challenges. I understand the field of service will be one of testing and struggle. We do fight a spiritual fight. I understand I must prove myself as God validates what I do. I understand the expectations will be high. I also understand that the support structure I am entering and the theology I am embracing offers many, many more opportunities and possibilities than I have ever had before and I am so thankful to God for the illumination I am now following.
God is so good!
Mother’s Day Litany
I have not had much time to blog this past week. I am winding down my work at my present place of service and preparing the folks for my departure. Ten years is a long time.
However, I do want to share this litany we will be using tomorrow:
Mother’s Day Litany
Leader: Lord, your word says, “Honor your mother.”
People: Lord help us to obey in attitude and action.
Leader: Lord, in the pain of childbirth we enter this world. It is in labor we were brought forth.
People: God, we gave thanks for the gift of life we have been given and for mothers who carried us and through whom our physical birth came.
Leader: Lord, no parent is a professional and all mothers make mistakes. Yet, the gift they have given is greater than any of this.
People: Lord, we pray for mothers and for wisdom and strength, direction and patience, mercy and hope.
Leader: Lord, a mother’s love is a treasure, a mother’s faith a source of strength.
People: Dear God, we praise you for your plan. We praise you for our homes. May we listen to your word and be faithful.
Leader: God’s word says, “Honor your mother.”
People: We hear Lord and will obey. Amen.
We try to hide from things we fear. We seek to be available to what we love.
Our culture seeks to hide/avoid the things of God. People do not want to believe they are accountable to God. Even Christians have to struggle with this cultural corruption. It is easy to escape into the busy things provided by the immediacy of this life and to push aside the work of developing the faith, the discipleship we are called to pursue.
Fast food is easier than eating healthy. Categorized Christianity, idolizing doubt, pursuing pleasure is easier than making the commitment to the depth of love. In our world relationships are recreational. In the Kingdom of God, living relationship are reality. God IS love and God does love us and deeply desires to dwell with us and in us.
John reminds us that God’s love that comes from his nature, the love which offers grace, is an event that breaks into our world and provide confidence and security.
Wow, God is so good!
Who does Jesus hate?
What a strange question. However, if Jesus dwells within our hearts and we hate, are we not exposing our Lord to our hate?
The epistle passage for this Sunday reminds us that God is not about hate. Hate is rooted in the emotions of the Fall. Hate is destructive to our spiritual lives. Hate can make us numb to the conviction and comfort of the Holy Spirit.
I expect tomorrow’s lectionary group will take on this isssue.