Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Thought for Thursday 22 January 2015

“If you invoke as Father the One who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile.  You know you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.”  1 Peter 1:17-18 NRSV

“You were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.”  1 Corinthians 6:20 NRSV

“We cannot express what we have never experienced ourselves.”  Me

Praying for the gift of the Holy Spirit in this week’s prayer service at our church, it occurred to me in the devotion that we often cannot grasp the reality of our redemption because we have never experienced real persecution or bondage.  It is impossible to fully understand what it means to have been set free if we have never been physically bound or restrained.

Before there was official Church doctrine or dogma about what prayers to say and what things to do before being baptized into the Church, Peter and Paul were both speaking to people who likely had no idea about Jesus.  Maybe they had heard some things, but they did not really know about being set free if their personal circumstances had not really changed.

Yet the apostles are speaking to a reality that had taken place even as the people were not aware.  Taking it further, it can be said there were likely skeptics among the crowds who would simply not believe what these crazy men were saying!  Believe or not, however, and know it or not, “you were bought with a  price”.  That is, before we’ve even had a chance to learn more about it, this remarkable act of Divine Love took place whether we know it or believe it, whether we want it or choose to deny it.

Word of mouth is a powerful means of communication when a story comes from someone who actually witnessed something.  St. Paul saw none of what Peter had seen, and yet he put his life on the line to convey what he knew to be true!  That is the Spirit working within Paul, so Paul could preach not merely what he might believe but what he discovered to be true.

This is why praying for the gift of the Holy Spirit may probably be the single, most important petition we can lift up to The Lord.  We cannot appreciate nor feel nor express that which we know nothing about – and we need to know!  For the sake of the Church today and our immortal souls tomorrow, we need to know!

I encourage us all to make this specific petition central to our devotions because no book, no Bible, no preacher, no priest can make this real for us.  This is the unique and sole task of the Holy Spirit, the essence of the Eternal God; to show us, to teach us, and to comfort us in this reality.  Once we become aware, then a response is required.  The Holy God desires that all be saved on The Day of The Lord.  What will our answer be?

Come, Holy Spirit, come!


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