May 9, 2020

Spiritual Relationships (Easter 5)

(Watch on John Gishler Youtube channel

In the Gospel Reading (John 14.1-14) Jesus is comforting His disciples with The Good News that they will not be left alone. He will continue to be with them in the form of the Holy Spirit until they join Him in heaven. This will be a new type of spiritual relationship. He is explaining that the way into this new relationship is belief in Him. Specifically by dying with Him to their old sinful past life and being raised or born again into a new spiritual life in Him. His death and resurrection is a sign of the truth of His promise. His sending of the Holy Spirit will give life to them through this new spiritual relationship.

1. How does this work?

We need to understand our own body – soul – spirit relationship before we can understand how we relate to the divine and other people.
·      Diagram illustrates the Creation story in Genesis
·      Red circle is our body formed from clay with its physical senses, desires and needs
·      Blue circle is our personal spirit – the breath of God that gives us life – our intuitive connection to the divine and others (we just know things)
·      Purple overlap is our soul – our mind and will that arbitrates between the desires of our spirit and the desires of our body
·      If we give in to all the desires of our body we may be in rebellion against God, fall into sin and pollute our spirit with sin guilt
·      If we let our spirit control our soul we make good choices, listen to Jesus, believe in Him and He sends the Holy Spirit to live in us an guide us, protect us, comfort and heal us

2. Jesus is the way into holy spiritual relationships

God is holy. If our spirit and soul are polluted by sin-guilt we cannot exist in close relationship. We would be like a can of gasoline near a bonfire. Jesus is the way because He created a way for us to be forgiven and freed from our sin-guilt through His sacrificial death for us. We demonstrate belief by trusting in Him, believing in Him and asking Him to give us forgiveness.

3. Jesus is the truth about spiritual relationships

Spiritual relationships are hard to define and understand because they are intuitive rather than logical:
·      Falling in love is an example Nickey Gumble used in the Alpha Course
·      I share my own experiences of deciding on marriage first using my reason (and failing) then using my intuition and finding true love
·      Truth is very elusive in our time so intuition is best
·      When spiritual people walk into a room they are drawn intuitively to other spiritual people

4. Jesus is the life of spiritual relationships

As I said He is still with us – or at least with those who have invited the Holy Spirit / Jesus unto their lives. Sadly many of us did not get much teaching about the Holy Spirit. Many church leaders are still “resisting the Holy Spirit” as we read in the first reading. Clergy are also handicapped sometimes by their academic education which trains them to reason as opposed to listening to their intuition.
·      Spiritual relationships have to be experienced
·      Jesus is the way into, the truth about and the life of these relationships

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