Our Place is His Place!

 Our Place is His Place

And the World would know!

John 14:23-31

 Jesus, Son, Savior

 May we welcome the Holy Spirit’s indwelling, confident of the love and mercy with which He cleanses our lives, and sets them apart to live in Christ with the Father!

 Mi Casa et Su Casa:  Ruth

Pentecost is more than a Sunday we celebrate once a year.  It is more as well than the longest church season of the year – when that banner is up there, and when I wear a green stole to symbolize the growth of the church.

It is the start of something wonderful, something which defines every day every moment of our life.  Because of the Holy Spirit, the one we confess is the Lord and Giver of our life.

One of the best illustrations of that life is found in the story of Naomi and Ruth.  The promise that Jesus makes to us, comes more fully into focus when we hear the promise Ruth made to Naomi,

But Ruth said, “Don’t force me to leave you; don’t make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I’ll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; 17  where you die, I’ll die, and that’s where I’ll be buried, so help me GOD—not even death itself is going to come between us!” 18  When Naomi saw that Ruth had her heart set on going with her, she gave in. Ruth 1:16-18 (MSG) 16  

Of course, the Holy Spirit doesn’t say it quite like that – but the desire, the commitment, the very attitude of God is no less than Ruth’s, even unto death, God has made us a promise.  “and We (the Father and Jesus) will come to him, and make Our Home with Him.”

May we indeed be like Naomi, and realizing that God has His heart set on going with us, may we give in, and welcome the Holy Spirit into our lives.

May we rejoice in the ministry of the Holy Spirit, may we rejoice in His presence, here and now.

Judas’ lack of vision

I was given an article this week, a pastor’s comments on the ascension, that troubled me.  The basic concept was the reason the pastor thought Jesus ascended to heaven. He basically said the lesson of the Ascension was that God “trusts” us.  That He left us to finish His work and trusts us to do it. Here’s a quote:  “These were Jesus final marching orders:  ‘Go everywhere you can and be a witness for love.’ And then He left”

Some really bad theology there, for a number of reasons.  But I seem to recall the words a little differently

18  Jesus drew near and said to them, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19  Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 20  and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (TEV)

It’s that last line, the I will be with you always, that somehow I think the pastor missed.

And I think Judas’ question shows us why.

“Lord,” he says, “How is it that you will reveal your glory to us, but you will assure the world won’t be able to see it?”

I guess all the “light unto the gentiles stuff” and “that the world may know” that seems so much a part of the gospel readings slipped Judas’s mind for the moment.  Even as I think that the mission of making disciples slips our mind occasionally.

Along with some of the other things God would have us do, like loving our neighbor, or feeding the poor, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and forgiving those who have sinned against us.

I pray that God doesn’t just “trust us, and then leave.”  I need, and I believe you need the constant presence of the Comforter, to heal us, to comfort us, to empower and commission us to use the very gifts that the Spirit has invested in us….as we depend on Him

The Miracle of the Holy Spirit’s Ministry

As these two widows, the young Ruth and older Naomi moved to Jerusalem, Ruth took on the role of the provider. She was the one who went out into the fields and worked, she cared for her mother-in-law, even as she promised.

In many ways, this too pictures the relationship of the Holy Spirit with us, nourishing us with the word of God, gathering us to the sacrament,  Jesus prophesies about this work in this way. But the Helper, 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.”

This blessed work of the Holy Spirit, is something we so desperately need in our lives.  For the treasure of the teachings of God are so easily pushed aside as we deal with the challenges in this world.  We need to know God’s love, we know He is with us, we need to explore the depths of His love, and how that love changes us from people outcasts, to being His very children.

We need the Holy Spirit to help us adjust our priorities, to help us keep our focus on God.  We need to be reminded of our baptism – the very place where the Spirit was poured out on us, reviving us and renewing us.  We need the Holy Spirit to grant us repentance, to help us treasure the incredible words of Jesus, the promises made to us by the Son of God.  We need to be reminded that God’s will is that no one should perish, that all would be transformed by God.

Here is how Paul described this work of the Holy Spirit,

27  God’s plan is to make known his secret to his people, this rich and glorious secret which he has for all peoples. And the secret is that Christ is in you, which means that you will share in the glory of God. 28  So we preach Christ to everyone. With all possible wisdom we warn and teach them in order to bring each one into God’s presence as a mature individual in union with Christ. Colossians 1:27-28 (TEV)

In other words – our place, wherever we are, He chooses as His place as well.  And that is what the Holy Spirit teaches us, even as we teach others.

What is that message?

So what is it the Holy Spirit calls us to our minds, that which Christ had taught the disciples?  Jesus said it this way,

“I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.”

And the Father sent His Son to save us, to make us His own people.. and such you are…

For he has done this – He has left us in His peace, He has given us His peace, the comfort the Holy Spirit has made known to us.

Assured of this – we have no need of troubled hearts, nor anxious minds..

For the Spirit reminds us, we dwell with God, we are in Christ, we are welcome here… in His peace.

AMEN.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God’s saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on May 19, 2013, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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