Furthering thoughts for April 16th 2019
It’s always difficult to say goodbye. I remember as a child, my family and I would travel to South Korea to visit all our extended family lived there. It was a time of joy as we ate, laughed, played, and simply had a great time with family. But the saddest part of our trip was to say goodbye. As a child, I was very sad because I knew a whole body of water was separating us. I learned that long distance is never an advantage. Even now, to this day…
For the disciples, it was difficult for them to wrap their minds around this great paradox. They wanted Jesus close and they wondered how His departure could be an advantage. “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you”[Jn16:7].
“And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in me, concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer, concerning judgment, because the ruler of the world is judged” [Jn16:8-11].
This is the work of the Holy Spirit. And though Jesus would soon die on the Cross for the sins of the world, it is in His leaving, His exodus, His departure, that the Holy Spirit is sent to us just as the Lord had promised [Acts1:8].
As we say time and time again, and I urge you to continue to repeat, repeat, and repeat even more the Apostles Creed. Ever opportunity you have, in the morning, at night, on your drive, at lunch, at a red light, in the check out line, repeat repeat repeat. Because in the Creed, we have the treasured answer to the question, “What does it mean to believe in God?”.
In the Third Article of the Creed, we confess, “I believe in the Holy Spirit”. In other words, what we are really confessing is that [as it reads in the AC ArtIII explanation] “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith”.
It is to our advantage as the Holy Spirit creates faith in each and everyone us by the Word of God. Because of sin, we play no part and are unable [Rm3:23]. In our brokenness, the Spirit calls us..convicting us of our sin and pointing to the work of Christ and His merits for the forgiveness of sins. By the power of the Word, we are enlightened by the gifts, namely the Sacraments of Holy Baptism [Mk16:16] and the Lord’s Supper [Mt26:26-28]. Therefore, we are sanctified, “Holyfied”, by His very Word given to us. And now, as we continue on in this road of faith, we pray that the Holy Spirit keeps us by His very Word.
There are no goodbyes with Jesus, for just as He promised “I am with you always until the end of the age” [Mt 28:20b] He is!