In spite of it all, our history, traditions and reasoning, God seems confident that we, his creation are worth waiting for. Yet we make him wait for our affection, compassion, commitment and ultimately our love. Perhaps the gift of the Holy Spirit is not a risk at all, at least not on God’s part but rather a challenge. Dare we open our hearts as children, that we may receive it fully and completely so as not to allow the obstacles of the storms, fears and doubts, overwhelm our desire to travel this Christian journey in peace? The alternative of course is to do what many of us have done and receive it conditionally and with restriction in our lives, in that as long as we experience the good without disturbance we are all too eager to acknowledge it’s power and authority. Soon afterward mistakenly believing that it doesn’t matter what we do or whether we do anything at all the spirit is favorably guiding us. Subsequently, when the storms come (especially the the sudden ones) we tend to feel as if they are a personal attack specifically against us resulting in the all too well-known disparaging thoughts; “Why me? and Where is God in all of this?” While the Holy Spirit has no respect of person, the reality is that neither do the storms. Whether we walk into the storms willingly or whether they come upon us without warning, we are the ones who happen to be in its way. Either way the challenge is to hold fast to the power and authority of the Holy Spirit while in the midst of the storm, which historically and traditionally submits to that over which it ultimately has no authority or power.
The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. This statement in John’ Gospel is crucial to those of us who strive to live into the baptism of Jesus Christ. We need the laws because they help us to understand what in community is acceptable and unacceptable. Being part of many communities we have many laws. I think it is safe to say that we don’t follow them all, including the Law of Moses as well as the Law of Grace and Truth. As new creations we have to consider them both. Laws are simply rules that regulate actions while grace is unmerited favor. We all know that laws are broken. We know that when laws are broken, consequences (although not consistent or equal by any stretch of the imagination) will follow. We’ve also heard it said that ignorance of the law is no defense against breaking the law. The good news is that whether we know the law or whether we are ignorant of the law, if we know Christ as a new creation we have God’s grace (should we choose to accept it), to redeem us from the law. Does this mean we will not suffer the consequences of wrongful acts? No. Rather, those who continue to believe and strive to live into the baptism of Christ are counted as heirs to salvation, and through God’s unmerited favor, there is nothing that can’t be overcome.