Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Spirit is Gift Unrestrained

Holy Spirit above baptismal font at    Beverly Minster, E. Riding,
Yorkshire Eng. 

By Beth DeCristofaro

But Peter and the Apostles said in reply, "We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him." (Acts 5:29-32)

For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. (John3:34)

"Bless me, most loving Jesus, bless me and have mercy on me in the loving-kindness of your most gracious heart. Ah! That my soul may choose to know nothing apart from you and that, disciplined by your grace and instructed by the anointing, I may progress well, passionately, and powerfully in the school of your love." St Gertrude the Great

Change!  Change is more constant than taxes in my life.  A recent corporate acquisition of my employer…please, just let me visit my hospice clients without learning another software charting program!  My mom who has become so hard of hearing that I can listen to her TV located in the living room while I’m working down in the basement.  The revised words of the Liturgy!  These same knees that walked in many Walkathons rasp while going downstairs.  Of course, many changes are delightful.  I just had a boy!  A son-in-law, I mean, joined our family.  My oldest daughter is a nurse and I call her now for consults.

In Acts, just a few verses beyond those quoted above, one of the temple leaders advises his fellows ‘So now I tell you, have nothing to do with these men, and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.” They were persuaded by him’ (Acts 5:34-38)  It is awesome, fearful and a challenge to accept that the only real constant is God.  God’s love, mercy, grace, and presence are not only infinite and eternal but free.  God bestows lavishly.  If we accept at a deep level, the Spirit propels us to be solidly rooted in the eternal now rather than lethally rocked in the finitude of change. No matter what life heaves at us unexpectedly, what changes transform our landscape and our prospects, God’s life is fruitful, protective and will not leave us stranded. It is our choice to say “no.”

The Apostles had NO choice but to witness publicly.  The Spirit’s extravagant presence is too much for one to remain alone, isolated and aloof.  The Spirit wants to burst out – how do I provide the vessel for Grace to enter the world?  I have so many, many opportunities.    

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