A “Go With God” moment.
As we look ahead to Pentecost, (remember May 23rd) I would like for you to think about preparing yourself for the arrival of the Spirit just like you may have geared up for Lent. You may ask, “Why?” Simply think about how valuable the coming of the Holy Spirit is to the Gospel writers themselves. In John’s Gospel, Jesus specifically says that it is “good that I go away” because then, and only then will another comforter will come (John 16:7). Luke lays down a similar climatic premise when the Resurrected Jesus says to His disciples “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49) And the promise of the Father is not an eternal home in heaven, or the second coming of Jesus, but the filling of the Holy Spirit made manifest at Pentecost.
Now, would you allow me to bring this home with just a simple biblical insight that I never saw until this semester in IBS. It comes from Romans 12:1. You have probably read it more times than you can remember. But this time the truth climbed off the page and gripped my heart. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers (and sisters), in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.” The NIV misses the mark with this translation, for the word “sacrifice” is singular in the Greek, NOT plural. Do you see it? The simple observation of a plural noun (your bodies) being focused into a singular metaphor (living sacrifice). To me, this changes everything. Paul is not depicting a person in the act of consecration alone at an altar of prayer. Rather, you are seen as one person among many, who consecrate their lives to the good of the whole; together creating one beautiful and sweet smelling aroma to the Lord. This act, in our modern America, where the individual’s rights and privileges reign supreme, may be the most powerful display of the Work of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost calls us to individually put aside any and all ambitions which might lean in the direction of self-centeredness and rather take upon us the image of “other-centeredness” (check out Phil 2:3-4).
What will cause us to lose ourselves and be refashioned into a “living sacrifice”?
What will it take to look and think like You Lord?
What will empower us to be seen as loving You and one another fully?
What will refashion Your image; the Imago Dei in us?
Lord, it seems as if I am asking the wrong question Lord. It’s not what but who.
Lord, we long for nothing short of You; Your precious cleansing Holy Spirit.
Come sweet Pentecost, from there we will walk in a new manner; not to be served, but to serve; and gives ourselves away to others.
Now, Go with God.