Jesus Calls Us Into a Spiritual Community
Easter 3a 2020 Fr. John Gishler (YouTube video available:
As people going through the upset and confusion of a pandemic we all know what it is like to have your life fall apart like the men on the way to Emmaus. Like them, we need Jesus to come gently alongside us and open our spiritual eyes so we can see the good news coming out of the bad news. The point of the story is that Jesus is not just a good man calling us to love on another. The Risen Jesus is calling us to die to our old way of life and be born again into a new holy spiritual community.
1. Emmaus story is my story and your story
I spent the first 35 years of my life trying to be a good person and balance what God wanted and what I wanted. As shared in my book “Going Spiritual” I went through a series of crises that drove me to read the whole Bible, repent and confess my sins and experience the Holy Spirit, supernatural Healing and a new spiritual life in Christ.
· This is a pattern I have seen over and over in twenty-five years of ordained ministry
· Like the men on the way to Emmaus we develop a holy spiritual life through daily Bible reading and prayer, serious confession and absolution and personal experiences of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
· We need to nourish and re-connect our spiritual life through regular Holy Communion
· Service includes Bible reading, orthodox teaching, confession and absolution and an experience of community in “spiritual communion”
2. We are called into a spiritual community
Christian baptism is supposed to be a death to the old way of life and a rebirth into a new life of spiritual community in Christ. This community is not necessarily a physical church. Last Sunday Lucille and I could feel the spiritual community during our Youtube video service. Spiritual community must be Holy Spirit led and guided:
· Jesus was chosen and anointed by the Holy Spirit (where intellectually-based churches can go wrong)
· The men on the road to Emmaus could tell this because their personal spirits - “hearts burned within them”.
· Spiritually anointed and gifted people can sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in others intuitively
· Church leadership must have demonstrated anointing and spiritual gifts to be effective in ministry
· Those who have been re-born or anointed by the Holy Spirit no longer fit into their old community of friends
· Need a new Spiritual community that is in the world but not of the world
3. Spiritual community heals and nourishes our spiritual life
· My interpretation of Jesus mission (Luke 4.18-19) goes beyond opening the eyes of the physically blind and physically freeing the prisoners
· Jesus also opens our “spiritual eyes” so we can see spiritually things that are hidden to others
· Spiritual seeing frees people from false teachings that may have imprisoned them – intellectualism, liberalism
· Satan can deceive us into building Mental strongholds that imprison and blind us to the truth
· We all need a spiritually nourishing community for:
o Connection to others (sharing experiences, encouraging, healing prayer and guidance)
o Orthodox teaching / worship that connects to God
o Relevant sharing, healing ministry, encouragement
o Outreach, sharing and connection to the wider community that gives our lives meaning
Jesus calls us into a healing and nourishing community
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