Saturday, September 19, 2009

Is a Radical Spontaneous Re~Mission Needed ?

To You God's Precious, Valuable, Important and Worthwhile Child,

Grace and Peace to you from God our father through Christ Jesus,

Contemplate with me for a few minutes about the response of the disciples when Jesus ascended into heaven and what happened to them because of it.

Acts 1:11 (The Message)

 "You Galileans!( Men and Women) ~ why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come (back to you and me) as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left."

In like manner . . . Christ became what we are in order to make us what he is.  Jesus Christ went in order to return, and in the meantime, an invaluable spiritual principal is being imparted to us . . . Our life in Him will know an alteration in our relationship with Him.  God is calling us to be open to change in our lives . . . to the times when He will leave us in the same manner and return in a new and deeper way.  These withdrawals are to draw us into the next stage of growth.

It isn't that He literally leaves us, for He promised to be with us always, but He brings closure to a phase of our pilgrimage in order to open new depth in our relationship with Him.  It seems if we have lost Him, But . . . He is down the road calling us to a new dimension of adventure of knowing Him more profoundly.

The transition sometimes breaks our hearts.  But hearts aren't made of frail glass; they are more like clay on the potter's wheel.  And our potter has an magnificent design for us to follow : His own nature!  Helping us to understand more clearly His statement made at the end of His life on a mount called Olivet . . . letting us know in no uncertain terms that none of us get to be stage manager ~ except God, Himself . . .

Luke 22:42 (New International Version)

"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."

The time and manner of this transformational growth will be of God's choosing, not our own.  It will take place in the Upper Room where we wait patiently on God to reveal His Spirit.

Acts 1:12-14 (The Message)

"So they left the mountain called Olives and returned to Jerusalem. It was a little over half a mile. They went to the upper room they had been using as a meeting place: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James, son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas, son of James. They agreed they were in this for ~ good, completely together ~ in prayer, the women included. Also Jesus' mother, Mary, and his brothers."

It is in this upper room where we begin to consciously choose to accept our humanness . . . in all things.  We begin to wait on God and pray anticipating His return together.  And this sets the stage for 2 things to occur that must be central in ~ our own preparation for Pentecost and  the Ressurection of Christ's Spirit in us.  The 2 are part of one experience.  We pray together and we have a profound time of reconciling relationships.

John 20:22-23 (New International Version)

"And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. "If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

Contemplate with me again on all the people who were waiting together in prayer in the upper room . . . there had been competition among the disciples and there must have been residue of criticism of each other.  Peter had denied the Lord, Thomas had doubted and James and John had wrangled over who was the greatest and what position they would have in Jesus Kingdom.  Also, there had been bad feelings between Jesus' family and the disciples.  His mother and brothers had tried to dissuade Jesus, and had come to take him home to Nazareth on at least one occasion.  From the cross, Jesus assigned John the responsibility of his mother, and we are sure John was sorting what that would mean in the light of the challenges Jesus had given them on Olivet before departing.

Then, adding to that mix were people whom Jesus had healed from sins that no good Jew could tolerate.  Had the disciples ever worked through their real feelings about a person like Mary Magdalene?  With Jesus absence, they were comforted by the fact that their relationship always had been cushioned with His gracious acceptance.  Did they feel as He did?  And what about the Pharisee Nicodemus?  Was he really one of them?  He was a member of the Sannhedrin and yet had not been able to stop the excruciating thing the Jewish leaders had done to the Lord.  The Pharisee had shown his loyalty by asking for the body of Jesus and assisted with His burial.  But could he be trusted?  And what about the rich Joseph of Arimathea?  He provided the tomb in the garden outside the city wall.  And with all what Jesus said about the rich and the responsibility to the poor, was his presence a genuine concern?  If he had provided the tomb, probably as a secret admirer and follower of the Lord, was he really to be accepted among the inner band of loyal followers?

A strange mixture of humanity was gathered there in the Upper Room.  Each had his own agenda for being there ~ the knowledge of what Jesus had meant to each one of them.  But ~ what were they to each other except people who had a common loyalty to Jesus?  And, now, He was gone.  They now had to sit and wait . . . open their hearts to one another  . . . share their loneliness . . .  their grief over Jesus absence, and . . . their wonderment about the future.  Here were rich and poor, people of high social status, and reclaimed people ~ whose lives would never have touched each other ~ apart from Jesus.

The family and disciples had little which to build a relationship.  Had there been hostility among Jesus' brothers resulting from the feeling that Jesus had spent his time with a motley band of fisherman, a tax collector, and a zealot ~ with no time for his own family?  And had the disciples resented the filial protectiveness of Jesus' family?

Surely ~ Put yourself into this drama of human relationship . . . How much are we just like them?

A common grief can open strangers / aliens to one another.  It can begin to build relationships.  And it can put conflicts between friends into perspective.  Mutual need can break through the fabric of hurting memories of what we have said or done to one another.

And yet it is a shared hope ~ that galvanizes people.  The frail thread of anticipation in each of the people in the Upper Room was woven into a strong bond of oneness.

I believe differences were confessed, hurts were shared and reconciliation was started.  What was about to happen to them (and to us) would be the only lasting basis of true relationship, and the immensity of Jesus promise before He forced them (and us) to get ready ~ by being open with one another.

Acts 2:1 (The Message)

"When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place (of one accord)."

Prayer brings unity.  We can't begin to seek the loving heart of the Lord for long without recognizing the needs of our relationships with our brother's and sister's with whom we pray.  Surely Jesus followers huddled together in prayer, remembering what he had assured them . . .

Matthew 18:18-20

"What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I'll be there."

We wonder what they prayed about?  I think it was the disciples' report on what Jesus promised in those last hours before his ascension; they should not depart from Jerusalem but wait for the promised baptism of the Holy Spirit and the power He was to give them and us!  A sublime reason for a prayer meeting in any age.

And this brings us back to the need for the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit making prolonged prayer and getting right with ourselves, others and God more than elements of good preparation; they are a necessity!

2 Chronicles 7:14 (The Message)

"If my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I'll be there ready for you: I'll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health."

It is now our personal responsibility before the Lord to prepare our hearts for Pentecost.  To pray for the Holy Spirit and to be sure there is nothing in our relationships blocking full acceptance of the blessing that follows.

We need to ask the Lord to reveal if there is anything unconfessed in us or between others and, or God.  And if there is, we may need a radical spontaneous re-mission by the Holy Spirit to change our attitudes ~ to uncover unhealed memories and or unguided plans for our future which never had the Lord's blessing or direction.

The Lord wants to bless each and every one of us with His Holy Spirit.  Prayer and reconciled relationships with ourself, others and God is the best place to begin and then begin again and again all through our Christian Adventure.

True love starts with ~ accepting a person (including ourselves) for ~ who they are and who they are not.

Can you say, I forgive you & I love you?

Because His Unconditional Mercy and Love Compel Me,


No comments:

Post a Comment