This morning I saw a picture in my Facebook feed of a memory three years ago. It was a picture of the Wilderness in Israel. I had traveled to the Holy Land with fellow clergy and on that morning we ventured to the wilderness.
Remembering that Jesus went to the wilderness immediately after his baptism, and seeing the true barrenness of the land, I am mindful of the absolute importance of evoking the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. That is how Jesus lived his life – and was able to accomplish all that he did. He relied on the power of God in him, through the presence of the Holy Spirit. He also reminded us that same power and presence is available to us today.
There is a prayer I invite us to explore a bit today.
“Come, Holy Spirit. Fill the hearts of thy faithful people. Kindle in them the fire of thy love. Send forth thy spirit and make us anew. And thou shalt renew the face of the earth. Amen.”
After a weekend of hearing the vast angst that is going on in our country right now, this prayer resonated with me especially this morning.
Jesus spoke often of the Kingdom of God. He tried to paint pictures for the people of what the Kingdom of God could be like. The Apostle Paul defined the Kingdom of God in his letter to the church in Rome: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Let’s define those words – righteousness, peace, and joy.
Righteousness – the quality of being without sin (which means missing the mark). What mark are we aiming for? The mark of love. Therefore, righteousness means living a life of absolute and total love.
Peace – freedom from disturbance, being in a state of tranquility and harmony.
Joy – a way of being that is true contentment and spiritual radiance that is born from a deep well-being and kindness ( & Tutu, 2016).
As we pray . . .
“Send forth thy spirit and make us anew” we are allowing God to use us, to guide us with the presence of God so that we are made anew and then can renew the face of the earth. And – we may not agree on a lot of things in our world right now – but I’m relatively certain we all agree that overall – the world needs to be renewed.
If we will be a people of prayer, we will be a part of ushering in the Kingdom of God in very real ways. We become a people of righteousness, peace, and joy.
It requires action and sacrifice on each of our parts.
In involves looking at all things from all perspectives, not just our own.
May we pray today, “Holy Spirit come! Fill me anew – so that I may be a carrier of joy, peace, and righteousness. Amen.”