Pentecost: Divine Resuscitation
† IHS †
May the Holy Spirit’s Work in Your Life Make You Even More Aware of the Grace of God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ!
The Missing Piece
So today, children of the Father, we have a small pop quiz. It might be tricky, and anyone who fails may be subject to going through confirmation again.
I want you to think of the creed that you just confessed, before singing “my redeemer lives”. Without reciting it in your mind, or looking it up, here is your one question quiz.
Who is described as “the Lord” in the creed? ( pause for answers)
Specifically, who is described as “the Lord and giver of Life.”
We may talk of believing in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, but even the Creed talk more of the effect of the Holy Spirit than of the Holy Spirit himself. We talk of the communion of saints, knowing our sins are forgiven, the resurrection of the Body and life, the life given us by the Spirit, everlasting.
But we often so overlook the role of the Holy Spirit, who has given us life.
So curious how many people need to have a refresher in what they learned in confirmation?
In today’s Old Testament passage, we see a great picture of the work of the Holy Spirit, who is not just the giver of life, but the Lord of Life. Yeah, the Lord of Life.
We need to understand this, not just as a matter of semantics, but to understand the work that God does in us, to us…. And through us.
The Damage of Sin
If we are to understand this, we need to see the reason that the bones were there in the valley. The clearest explanation is given by the people who struggled with God,
“They are saying, We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished. ”
By finished, Ezekiel is making the comment that they are cut off from God. Using the Mosaic Law, they are exiled from the people of God. They are acknowledging that they all deserve the treatment that blasphemy earns described well in
13 Then the LORD said to Moses, 14 “Take the blasphemer outside the camp, and tell all those who heard the curse to lay their hands on his head. Then let the entire community stone him to death. 15 Say to the people of Israel: Those who curse their God will be punished for their sin. 16 Anyone who blasphemes the Name of the LORD must be stoned to death by the whole community of Israel. Any native-born Israelite or foreigner among you who blasphemes the Name of the LORD must be put to death. Leviticus 24:13-16 (NLT)
That is what they mean by their nation, their people, being finished.
That is why there is nothing left in the valley, but the dried, withered bones. We aren’t talking about bones like this… but ones so dried out, that they are brittle. There is nothing left, no marrow, no DNA, nothing…
That is what sin does to us, it hollows us, makes us empty, completely eradicates all trace of life, even from our perspective, any trace of God’s presence.
But that is why this son of Man was asked, “can these bones become living people again?” It is why Jesus came and wandered among those dead in sin, and why His cross and resurrection is that which puts back all that sin destroyed.
it is amazing to contemplate the bones coming back together, the cartilage and muscles crawling back over the skeletons, the flesh being restored.
Even then, forgiven, put back together, made whole, the army of bodies needs something to transform them from death to life. To use the word found in the creeds – to be made quick, to be brought alive.
They need to be resuscitated.
The Divine Resuscitation
We needed to be resuscitated, to be made to inhale the breath of life, the Holy Spirit. Even as God breathed into Adam, even as Jesus breathed on the Apostles and said, “receive the Holy Spirit,” We needed to have happened to us what happened on Pentecost. Hear Ezekiel’s words again… and know this is your promise:
9 Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again
The Spirit to be breathed into us, to bring us back to life, to be the Lord of life and the giver of our life. It is the Holy Spirit that transforms us, that kindles faith and a repentant and transformed life. It is the Holy Spirit that brings us to proclaim Christ Jesus as our hope, reminding us of all He teaches us. That brings us together, as a unified body of Christ.
That makes us one, holy, united church that is sent in the world to transform others, even as we have been transformed as the Holy Spirit focuses our lives, our minds, our hearts on Jesus.
Doing this while as invisible, but as tangible and real, as a refreshing breeze that washes over us and gives us life on a day when we are parched and tired, and our faith may be dry.
The Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, the Spirit who discerns who has which talents, which gifts, and forms the church, ensuring it has what it needs, to depend on Jesus, to minister to each other, to minister from Cerritos to Georgia to the Sudan and Papua New Guinea. To reach out to expectant moms in Africa and the people of Bellflower.
The Spirit, who would blow through your life, removing that which isn’t like Jesus, who would see the glory of God, reflect through us, bringing hope to the people around us.
Remember – this is the day when a church of 120 grew into a church of 3000!
May the Spirit so enkindle our hearts, so breathe life into us, that the same thing would happen again!
Didn’t He Already Do That?
You might ask what I mean by the Holy Spirit breathe life into us again. No, I don’t mean that we are spiritually dead like in the valley of dried bones. But there are times where we feel like it, where we wonder if our bones if the church (and I don’t mean just Concordia) can be brought back to life in this country.
If you look at the statistics, or just tour empty churches on Sunday morning, you would wonder if the church couldn’t say these same things. Areas where 50-70 percent of people were once in church on Sunday morning are now where the number is one-tenth the amount.
The church isn’t dead, it cannot be, we haven’t left God’s presence, the work of Christ isn’t in vain. For the Holy Spirit isn’t just the giver of our life, but the Lord of it. Paul describes the Holy Spirit’s ongoing work, this way,
17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NLT)
And that is a promise to us, in this day, as solid as the promise to bring us to life in Christ…for that is what the Lord of Life does… He makes more and more like Jesus… as we are changed into His image… as we see His glory. AMEN? Then realize this, the Lord of Life is with You! AMEN!