2015. október 26., hétfő

The pendulum of the Spirit

"The simple believeth every word... A wise mean feareth and departeth from evil." (Proverbs 14)
"...for the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say."
"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Lk 12)

We need both experiences: the laborious effort to live up to the desired goodness that we express in words; and the joy of being fully transparent when touched by the Father's love. Hard work and full celebration will enable us to appreciate the gift of being a Christian in the here and now. These two experiences purify us.
This purification is vital in order to be able to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and really small) gifts. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German martyr theologian stresses that entering into the real life of grace is the ground of genuine Christian joy. As Bonhoeffer puts it: "The Christian community is not an ideal which we must realise; it is rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we participate." "Only God knows the real state of our fellowship, of our sanctification. What may appear weak and trifling to us may appear great and glorious to God." (Life Together).
Seeing the numeric decline in our congregations can be extremely painful. Proverbs and Luke's Gospel remind us that the person and the community are always on a pilgrimage. These are not our high ideals and expectations that define reality but always God's generous Providence. Being unfinished can be God's glory, precisely because it shatters the dream that it is we who are the source of life and who can 'create' the otherwise rightly desired growth and rebirth.
Cranmer's masterful composition makes us realise that this is time for moral growth (through effort). This is also a time for full reliance on external life (as little flock). And the middle way of the pendulum between the two is when we will start to speak, judge, and reflect freely. This is when "the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say." For this 'hour of the Holy Spirit' is worth working and waiting.


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