(Available on John Gishler Youtube channel Sunday morning)
Jesus is teaching us that spiritual wisdom is very different from intellectual wisdom. Christians need to put on His “yoke”- the Holy Spirit, to guide them in overcoming the conflict between their bodily or worldly desires and their spiritual or heavenly desires. Abraham’s servant gives us an example of choosing to be guided by divine wisdom instead of his human wisdom in finding a wife for Isaac. This is in contrast to Paul who is so steeped in human wisdom he cannot understand the conflict in his soul.
1. Spiritual wisdom is very different from human wisdom
Today’s Readings challenge us to develop right relationships in this life as we prepare for our resurrection life in Jesus Christ. Last week we were challenged to love God more than family. This week we are challenged to die emotionally and spiritually to anything that competes with our love of God and to love our neighbour as ourselves. This involves painful challenges to the development and healing of our spiritual lives.
Fathers Day is a celebration and thanksgiving for Fathers – including both our earthly and heavenly fathers. In our post-Christendom time many men are confused about their identity. We are seeing the breakdown of the family as individualism, liberalism and feminism erode traditional Biblical family values. Like many people my own father was emotionally absent and critical. My life changed when I discovered that God was my Father and really heard Jesus’ answer to Philip – “Anyone who has seen me has seen theFather.” (John 14.9) The song “He Knows My Name” by Tommy Walker always brings me to tears of healing. It reminds us we are valued, listened to and will never be abandoned by the powerful God who loves us.
1. Fathers give us a sense of value (Knows by name)
We are all like Sarah and tend to laugh at God when we are promised something that sounds impossible:
·Having a child in old age
·Raising from death
·Forgiving our rebellion and sin to make us holy
But this is the business our God is in as he continues to reach out to us with the offer of forgiveness, healing and reconciliation into our eternal spiritual life with God. He knows we cannot work hard enough to overcome our natural rebellion and spiritual un-holiness. Sadly, many in the Church also laugh at God’s supernatural gifts and fail in their responsibility to bring in the full harvest of heaven. Paul challenges us to persevere in example of Father Abraham and have faith in God’s promises of forgiveness, healing and reconciliation. This is why Abraham was chosen by God as the father of our faith.
1. Un-forgiveness separates us from God, self and others
Jesus disciples are like us in grief, confused and distraught at being separated from Him. The Good News is Jesus’ promise “I am with you always” (Mt.28.20) The Apostle Paul, in his prayer of departure from Corinth prays “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Cor.13.14) The “you” Paul refers to is the community of believers – and us. Christian churches are to be a community of believers led by and in fellowship with the Holy Spirit and with each other.
(see John Gishler Youtube channel for the video service)
It is often a challenge for people living in a modern “science-based” culture to believe in and understand how things work in the supernatural dimension. This is why many people have trouble with the virgin birth, the Resurrection and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The readings for Pentecost describe that confusion – even for people who lived in a culture that believed in angels and the demonic. The point is we all need to personally experience the Holy Spirit before we can really understand and believe in the Holy Spirit. This is the great gift of Pentecost. An experience of the Holy Spirit was poured out on all people – as long prophesied. The readings help us understand:
·Who the Holy Spirit is, and
·The work of the Holy Spirit in developing our spiritual life by uniting us to God and other believers.