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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Pentecost Sunday

The acting-pastor of our church, Father Charlie, wrote a column for our local paper's "Matter of Faith" section (where weekly they have a member of the clergy give a 'sermon' on paper). I thought his insights into Pentecost were very interesting.

I especially liked his thoughts on the gifts of the Holy Spirit:

Love means God's life within our lives. We act as Jesus did who looked on people and loved them even when they were sinners.

Joy is the first vital sign of a life lived in God's will, as light is the first sign of day. It is also the first thing to go when we sin. Joy is not pleasure or confused with happiness, and it is not got with drugs. It is an ease of spirit coming from confidence in God's care and power. It is the spirit radiating from firmly lived priorities that start in God. Joy makes giving and forgiving ready and it is not squelched by conflict.

Peace is not freedom from conflict, strife, or hostility. Rather, it is the confidence that disciples will never be abandoned. Jesus will always be present to them through his word; the Father will dwell in them; the Holy Spirit will guide them. The result is a peace this world cannot give!

Patience or "great-spiritedness," that quality of the great when they are hindered or hurt, is what Jesus showed us so clearly — the last days of his life. So the disciple of Christ, hurt by events or stung by other people, rides out frustration's hurricanes battened down and ready to open up and get on with things the instant they have exhausted themselves.

Kindness is usefulness for others that rise spontaneously from what we are. Led by Christ's Spirit, we would hope to be useful even to a terrorist bleeding from his own bomb.

Goodness follows that, because it is a generosity aside from or beyond usefulness. We are taught by the Spirit to "have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself . . ." (Phil 2:5-11)

Trustfulness comes from knowing where our great treasure lies. It is the freedom to be loyal and to keep our word that comes from treasuring what rust and moth cannot wreck, that freedom is a great strength.

Gentleness follows that strength. Human nature as it is tends toward vehemence and violence and it seems to be tending that way more than ever. The Spirit leads us away from the deception that anger has to well up from the deep uncontrollable reaches of our psyche.

Self-control is connected with being led that way. But self-control is not negative. Rather, it is the dynamic governing and guiding of passions and desires for the purposes of serving God and being for others.

You can read the whole article here.

1 comment:

cloudscome said...

Thanks for this - it meant a lot to me.