Every Sunday we experience the most amazing thing. The priest and deacon lift up the bread and wine–the body and blood of our Lord–and the priest declares, “the gifts of God for the people of God, take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your heart by faith with thanksgiving.”
It nearly brings me to tears simply to think on it. What amazing love that the One who made all things, the One in whom all things hold together, gives us himself. He nourishes our spirit with his body and blood. Furthermore, He gives His Spirit to dwell in us as the very air we breathe. And He opens to us the treasures of His house…things new and old (Matthew 13:52). Indeed, in some sense this Gospel we preach could be summed up in the words of Jesus, “freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).
So, I have realized upon further meditation that my recent Meditations on Pentecost (found here, here, and here) fit within an older category that I never fully developed entitled The Gifts of God for the People of God. That series was not developed more fully precisely because in some sense it would be an effort to summarize the whole of the gospel…a gargantuan effort to re-present all we have received from our Self-giving God. The magnitude of such a thing is beyond me…and yet the beauty of this Truth, that God loves and gives, is like fire shut up in my bones. It must be shared.
Thankfully, God gives us Himself through His church. And by His wisdom His church has given us useful tools like the liturgical calendar. That calendar was developed as a tool to help summarize the essential whole of the Gospel in one year of time marked by reference to the major events in the advent, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus and the founding of His Church at Pentecost. In light of this, I will follow that calendar to some degree in my posts (though I’ll not stick to the lectionary, but to the themes of the seasons). As such, these meditations on Pentecost will continue in the weeks ahead as part of sharing the gifts of God with emphasis on his gifts for living as his church in this broken world.
I have discussed in several places (especially here and here) the reality and importance of the indwelling Spirit of God to the believer. In upcoming posts I will at least look at these few key points:
(1) The trinitarian existence of the church.
(2) God’s gift of himself in Christ as our armor and what it means to put on the full armor of God.
(3) “Spiritual gifts,” or charisms, particularly prophecy, tongues, and the much neglected gift of discernment.
Beyond that, I have only rough concepts. But, if I can discipline myself to keep my political remarks to Facebook, then this theme of God’s good gifts will likely become the center of all I write here.
May God be glorified in it.