…he thought he was seeing a vision. Acts 12:1-17 It is possible to look upon something and think that it can’t be real when in fact it is, such as unforeseen opportunities. Unless you act on what seems a reality you may never know that it was in fact real until it’s too late. The freedom to act is a gift. When our time comes, may wisdom in Love be our guide to use such a gift. Real freedom is making the right choice out of love for God and not one’s self.
If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. John 8:21-32
The one being able to grasp, let him grasp … Matthew 19:1-12 A college friend told me; “Once you’ve made a decision to do something it’s yours. You have to take responsibility for it regardless of how it turns out and move on.” I received his words that day because I knew he was speaking from experience. When Jesus is pressed by authorities concerning divorce, his disciples are taken aback by his answer believing that perhaps marriage is not a good choice. But Jesus’ use of the word eunuch in three different contexts seems to make clear, the significance of having the gift of making a choice and taking responsibility for that choice. The first eunuch has no choice. The second eunuch has the choice forced upon him. The third eunuch is the one who chooses to willingly give up one life (physical) for the sake of another (spiritual). Not everyone is willing to make that commitment. Our decision to have faith in God and follow in the way of Christ is for us to own and take responsibility. Although our steps won’t always be perfect, commitment to our faith keeps us on track. The good news is that it is that faith in God (more precious than gold) of which Peter writes to the diaspora, that gives us the freedom to grasp that commitment one day at a time and live in hope by that same faith.
Luke describes Jesus’ baptism as the Holy Spirit descending upon him in bodily form like a dove. In remembering my own baptism, while quite exhilarating, the only thing I felt was cool water rushing away from my body as I was pulled up out of the water. I could however, imagine what it was like for the many who came to John to be baptized. However, John himself admitted that this was just a physical outward experience representing the initiation of what will happen later on the inside, a change in how we understand ourselves as God’s own. As our thoughts begin to change, so will our actions. Although some of those actions have caused “Mountain top” as well as “Damascus” events in my life, I now realize that they were all part of the journey that I’ve taken since that “dip” in the water. Back then, I may not have seen the heavens open up or felt the Holy Spirit embrace me like the giant wings of a dove but what did open up was my heart making room for what John the Baptist promised would happen; the discerning of the Holy Spirit. To the glory of God, I’ve been changing ever since.
Luke 3:16 ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
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.