Monday, April 3, 2017

Daily Devotion for Lent 2017 - Day 29, Monday

Today's Reading: John 14:15-31 (NRSV)

John introduces the Holy Spirit as our Advocate or Helper.  We receive the Holy Spirit without end.  The Holy Spirit abides in us and we abide in the Holy Spirit.

What does it mean to be connected with God in this way?

Certainly, the difficulty is that Christians continue to sin.  We would like to move to become more Christ-like in our lives.  We would like to be more forgiving, more charitable in lots of ways, and less fearful or angry or irritable.

But we have not arrived yet at the place we would like to be.  So are we any different than non-Christians?

Certainly, there are non-Christians that are more loving than many of us.  What does it mean to abide in the Holy Spirit?  And how does the Holy Spirit teach us?  How are we reminded of the words of Jesus?

We learn to abide in the Holy Spirit
in peace with one another at an early
age.  It is not always easy to forgive
one another but it is important to practice.
The church has received a bad rap lately. It is not as popular in the United States among the masses.  We've had clergy scandals and churches that seem to focus on themselves more than helping others. The church has become an easy target, especially among millennials who are dropping out at the fastest rate.

Yet, it is within the church that we discover what it means to abide in the Holy Spirit. As the spirit moves among the congregation, we remind one another of the words of Jesus through worship and Bible study.  We try to hold one another accountable although this is easier said than done.  We lift up the vision of what we should be in Christ.  And collectively, just as individually, we acknowledge that we are not there yet.

We remember that Jesus gives us the gift of peace.  This is not a gift that should be overlooked.  It is a gift that we share with one another.  It can only be practiced in community where we get around people that make us angry or irritable.  We practice forgiving one another even when we don't want to.  I believe that this is what it means to abide in the Holy Spirit.

And it may be that we are doing a better job holding people accountable than we thought. This is never something that people find very popular - maybe especially today.

Prayer for the day:

Nothing, O Lord, is more like your holy nature than the mind that is settled in quietness. You have called us into that quietness and peace of Yours, from out of the turmoils of this world, as it were, from out of storms into a haven; which is such a peace as the world cannot give, and as passes all capacity of human beings.  Grant now, O most merciful Father, that, through Your exceeding goodness, our minds may yield themselves obedient unto You without striving; and that they may quietly rise into that sovereign rest of Yours above.  Grant that nothing may disturb or disquiet them here beneath; but that all things may be quiet and calm through that peace of Yours.  Amen.

                     A Book of Christian Prayers, A.D. 1578

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