Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Spirit's gifts

I preached this weekend about how the Spirit is connected with Ascension. After the Ascension of the Lord in Luke last weekend the Apostles were sent by our Lord to the upper room to wait. Today, they are sent out. This is the life of the church, like lungs. We gather (breathe in) and scatter (are sent out) all in the name of Jesus. The Spirit does both. But, the Spirit doesn't just scatter us with nothing. He gives each of us individual gifts just as he has given the church specific general gifts. Our responsibility is to discern what gifts we have been given and then use them to build up the body of Christ.

I was fortunate in my little country parish to be able to use an image in a stained glass window of the Holy Spirit as a dove descending. I told them that that image was put there to remind us each time that we gather (inhale) that the Spirit is what gives us gifts, helps us understand how to use them and sends us forth.

Now I have a complete day to finish reading Pope Benedict's Jesus of Nazareth last two chapters. What an incredible book. This is a man of profound trust that the church hasn't been misled constantly. He offers us hope that the Spirit is really leading us and won't lead us astray.

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