18 May 2013

Homily at Evening Prayer (last night)

Text: Romans 8:12–17

The Holy Spirit is no spirit of bondage, no spirit of fear. That’s another spirit and he’s anything but holy. The unclean spirit, the evil spirit, Satan and his minions, they thrive on you being bound to sin and filled with fear. You know, what I mean. You can’t sleep at night and suddenly, there he is, plopping the old DVD into the player and making you see your sin. Showing you the lies, the hurt look on the faces of the people you’ve treated shamefully (most of all those who might be sleeping under the same roof at the moment), the words that you’ve used to leave other cut and bleeding, the times you’ve failed to confess Christ and slunk away in silence, shamed like Peter. He’s got them all recorded and he loves to watch them with you. All the while saying: “So you are bound. Bound to me. Bound to be with me forever in the fires. You can’t even pretend that you belong to HIM. He wouldn’t have the likes of you, and you know it. You feel it in your bones.”

Ah, you know what I speak of, don’t you? There’s a reason our Lord revealed him as the accuser. For that’s what the devil loves to do. To accuse. And he doesn’t even need to use lies. He can devastate you with the truth.

But against this one God sends a helper for you, an advocate for you, one who pleads for you, but in you. The gift of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit doesn’t lead you to fear. He leads you to peace. He does this because He doesn’t come to accuse, but to proclaim, to testify, to announce that you are not a slave, but a child. A beloved child. That you have a Father who loves you. A Father who gave His Son to spill His blood to blot out your every offense. All those true things that Satan shows you in the middle of the night when you lie awake?  The Spirit shows you that every last one of them has been lifted. Has been carried. Has been taken by the Son of God to His cross and answered for.

Pastor Wolfmueller brought me this joy some months ago: what your Lord does right now in the presence of the Father, to plead for you as your advocate, your paraclete, your defense attorney, never ceasing to plead His own atoning sacrifice on your behalf (1 John 2 stuff!); what Jesus does for you before the Father, this Jesus sends His Spirit to do within you. To testify, to bear withness with your spirit, that you are a child of God, and if a child then an heir. An heir of God and so co-heir with Jesus. Suffering with Him that you also may be glorified with Him. All that’s His by virtue of His being the Beloved Son of the Father, the Spirit proclaims within you, is forked over to you as yours. Everything. You even get to join Him in His “Abba.”

And so the Spirit of Holiness, the Spirit of God, leads you away from slavery to sin, away from the constant fretting and fear that fill anyone if they fixate upon themselves and see the truth about themselves unvarnished. He puts his finger (for He is the finger of God) beneath your chin and lifts your head up from yourself to see your Savior. He leads you to your Jesus, to look upon Him, to see in Him your perfect righteousness as the very gift of divine love poured out on you, proclaimed to you as yours. The Spirit discloses to you the gifts that God freely gives you and says: “Listen not to the evil one. For there is a truth deeper than anything he would ever be able to show you. It is the truth that you have been loved with a love immeasureable, deep and divine. Be at peace. You have a Father, you have a Savior, and you have Me to constantly remind you of the fact.”

As you, people loved by God, begin your work tonight, ask for the grace of the Holy Spirit that you may renounce the way of being accusers of our brothers – the way of the evil spirit – and join in the joy of the Holy Spirit, proclaiming in every resolution you craft: “Rejoice, children of God! You are loved in Jesus! Fear not!” For all this we send up glory and praise to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and to the ages of ages! Amen.

1 comment:

Jon Townsend said...

Thank you - just what I needed this morning!