RENEW US BY YOUR SPIRIT – MAY 24
WEEK 4 — 1—SILENCE —The other side of words
When we do come to God. Or when we return to God. Or when we receive Holy Communion and hold that broken piece of bread in our hands. Or when we hear a passage from scripture that moves us. Or when we see in each other a love that holds and sustains us. And when we know we are loved, the only real response is silence.
There is a place beyond words, where the heart rests in peace, in the knowledge of being known and loved.
Not all of us experience such love in our lives. Some of us have been very damaged by life’s injustices. But the love we receive from Jesus, the love that is from God, is secure. It is waiting for us the other side of words. We only need to turn.
Loving God, our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you. Hold me, for the storms are raging and the waves crash over. Be my rest and my security. And even though human touch and human love is so beautiful and so longed for, help me to know today that it comes from you and, like everything that is good and beautiful, will return to you in the silence of your eternal and never changing love. Be with me as I hold myself and hold others in your embrace.
Receive the Holy Spirit. In the Bible there are two accounts of how God gives us the Holy Spirit. First, the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, today’s celebration. But in John’s gospel, on Easter day itself, with the disciples locked away like so many of us have spent the last year locked away, Jesus breathes on them and gives them the Spirit. (see John 20.22)
Both stories have important things to say, but this year, with all the challenges we face, and knowing what lockdown has done to us and how many of us have slipped from the practice of our faith, I am holding onto a picture of Jesus coming to each of us and breathing his life and goodness into us. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he says. “My spirit of peace.” And then He sends us into the world: praying for others and serving them in the name of Christ.
Overflowing God, breathe the spirt of Jesus into me and into all those who long for peace, especially those who have drifted from your way, got stuck in their faith, or who have not yet found a way to believe. You believe in them. Renew them by your Spirt. And today may your Church be filled with joy.
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (Romans 5.1-5)
If you have worked your way through these thoughts and prayers over the last four weeks and made some notes about how you feel about God and how you make sense of life, and if the promises of God that we receive in Jesus are even beginning to make you wonder whether there is more to life than the things you see around you, and more to hope for than the fleeting promises of the world, then the best way of knowing and following Jesus is in the company of his Church. We’re not perfect. Far from it. We are also followers in the way, working out how best to live this life and trusting in God, knowing how much we need God’s love and forgiveness to keep us going. We are not an organisation looking for new members. We are a company of travellers and explorers who are very glad to have new people help us. We have things to share with you, but you also have things to share with us. Together, we can travel God’s way. And for those of us who are members of a church community let us continue to pray for the work of God’s church both locally, nationally and worldwide.
Keep safe. Keep Praying