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Celtic Advent III: The Trinity Looks at the Incarnation

Celtic Cross

Celtic Cross (Photo credit: Nick Corble)

The Holy Spirit’s View: Looking forward to Jesus Being Born of Mary

Luke 1:26-38 & Joel 2:27-32

 In Jesus Name

 

May you know the presence of the Holy Spirit, given to you in your baptism, by whose power you bring Christ into other’s lives!

 

Understanding the Holy Spirit?

         

As we’ve journey this advent, we’ve seen passages that we could see the Father’s vision for Christ’s coming, and the incredible desire He has for people to become His children.  Then last week, we saw this same desire in Christ, who set aside every right, every privilege and all the glory of heaven to come down into our mess, and die on the cross to cleanse us and bring us peace.

This week is more of a challenge, as we look at the Holy Spirit.  For in scripture, we don’t directly hear the Spirit.  We see it in action, in Genesis, in the Tabernacle, in the Temple, guiding people’s lives, inspiring apostles and prophets and those who penned the scriptures.

So this night, our lesson is a little harder to hear, but we can take a look of the Holy Spirit in action – to see a model of how God works, and then understand how He has planned to work in our lives.

it was for this reason that the early church often spoke of Mary, and held her up as an example of faithfulness, but as well, they held her up as an example of God’s relationship with His people, the church.
Mary on whom the Holy Spirit would come upon, who would bring the Savior into a broken world.

How did the Holy Spirit work with Mary    

In our gospel reading, we see some insights into the young lady.  Our scriptures tell us that she was confused and disturbed, by the words of the Angel, who informed her that she would be blessed.

Over and over scripture tells us she pondered the things that were happening, the things that were said in her heart.  Can you imagine?  How will this all work out?  Finding it not a dream, but finding herself pregnant, having to explain this to parents and to Joseph. Then undertaking journeys, first to Elizabeth, then with Joseph to Nazareth.

This last song describes, I think, some of what she could have been thinking.

Frightened, not only by being pregnant, but knowing her child was the hope of Israel, the one through whom all peoples would be bless… and her cry for God’s mercy.  Imagine trying to figure out why God chose her, and relying on God for the strength to endure.

These aren’t things normal to us, for fear of what God would have us do, how to step out in faith and obey His call isn’t something we do easily. Nor is depending on Him when the road is strange.

She was able to, and to ponder and treasure all that happened in her heart….

Because the Spirit of the Lord was with her…

These are the Ancient promises

You know, we hear these Christmas stories, we know who is who in the nativity figurines, we can hear Linus repeating the Christmas Story almost by memory.  But do we see them as models of God’s handiwork?  A model that is replicated in each one of us?

Of course, none of you are going to give birth literally to the Messiah, but God has called each one of you into a relationship – by which Christ does involve Himself in our world, and the world of those around us.  These Ancient Words, these promises, what theologians call types – Mary is no different than any of us, someone who struggled with questions, and fears, and yet heard the voice of God.  As such, she is a good example for us to look at – to realize how God works.

In our baptism – the same Spirit that came upon her, came upon us.  The Holy Spirit – the Breath of Heaven, is given to us, dwells with in us, and bring the light of Christ into a world just as desperate, just as broken, as the world Mary lived in.

That is what Peter was talking about when he quoted Joel on Pentecost.

 Then you will know that I am among my people Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and there is no other. Never again will my people be disgraced. 28  “Then, after doing all those things, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. 29  In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on servants—men and women alike.

God is among us, God is here.

Because He is here, we know we will never be disgraced, never again be shamed.  He is here, to bind our brokenness, to restore us, to bring us life and joy, to give us the vision of our abiding with Him always.  He destroys our fears with His love and light of His glory, with the love that we know is here, that we see in each others eyes, that we hear as we tell each other that God is Immanuel, that God is with us.

Such are the words of the Holy Spirit, given to us,

For that is His role, according to Paul, to empower us, to bring us to life that we can rejoice in the Father’s love, demonstrated to us.

It is what He inspired prophets of old to prophecy about – as the Spirit dwelt in them, and the apostles as well. It is why he would come upon this young lady named Mary, and why she would give birth to God.

And why we are here…ready to know God is with us, and bear Christ to a world that so needs Him to take their burdens…

Even as we place ours in His hands again…

And live in a peace we can’t describe, secure and safe because God is guarding us… AMEN?

Who is more faithful to the faith? Wrong question!

Jesus Christ Crucifix

Jesus Christ Crucifix (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Devotional Thought of the Day

8  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9  Do not let all kinds of strange teachings lead you from the right way. It is good to receive inner strength from God’s grace, and not by obeying rules about foods; those who obey these rules have not been helped by themHebrews 13:8-9 (TEV) 

Although it seems a paradox, those who call themselves sons of the Church may often be precisely those who sow greater confusion.  (1)

I see a lot of confusion among the people of the church caused by those in the church today.  Matter of fact, the old cliche, “we’ve met the enemy and we are it!” may be at a epic high.  It doesn’t matter what denomination, what movement, what area, there is a battle who is more faithful.  In my denomination, the battle as to who is most faithful often is waged between those who want to abide by the old rules, the old ways and customs and methods of the church in its 1940’s-1950’s heyday, and those who define faithfulness as being tied to ourreach and mission.  We get convinced that only if we can find the right box, with the right walls, then God will bless us – because we are faithful. That God will cause the church to thrive because of our perfect liturgy, our our desire to see people know Christ.

And we lovk ourslves in a box…. Sometimes in fear, sometimes in frustration, sometimes just because we want and need a way to now we are okay with God.

It is ironic.  But then, as sinners, we are good about making it all about ourselves.

In other times, it was waged over music, or church governance or finances or any of a number of good and practical things.  We focus on concepts, on the theology, on the practice… and we forget about the content, the relationship.. to put it bluntly, what I see lacking the most in these battles, is our desire to know and make known the Lord who loves us.

It’s time to cut through the confusion, its time to strip away both new ideas and old man-made requitements and just draw our strength from where it comes.  Hebrews says it is a gift of God, it is grace, it is walking each day in His presence, reveling in His mercy, depending on His faithfulness, trusting ourselves into His loving hands…confident of His faithfulness.

Seeing whatever happens as something He is working through, whether it is joyous or a cross, whether it is in abundancae …well… let me quote Paul

8  We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; 9  there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed. 10  At all times we carry in our mortal bodies the death of Jesus, so that his life also may be seen in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 (TEV)

Here is the key that stops us from looking for affirmation of our faithfulness- because we don’t need it.  We have Christ.   We have a God who says, “you are my child, I have begotten you… dwell in my love.”

And when we do.. all sorts of interesting things happen…not that we’d notice… for our lives would be constantly praising Him… for His faithfulness.

So stop trying to prove your faithful, that your faithfulness is superior or more holy.. and just dwell in His presence, evjoy His love.. and adore Him..for He is our God, and we are His kids.

AMEN

Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1664-1665). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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