Going Deeper 05.20.2021

The second reading for Pentecost Sunday... Romans 8:22-27
We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

 

In our first reading we heard of the coming of the promised Holy Spirit in spectacular fashion upon the followers of Jesus on the day of Pentecost.  This second reading proclaims that the Spirit came and stayed for the duration, accompanying all followers of Jesus through their journeys of life.  "The Spirit helps us in our weakness"... how comforting are those words?!   We continue to deal with a whole lot of weakness within and around us. 

 

Jennifer V. Pietz, Professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary, had this to say in her commentary on this text: Amidst a global health crisis and urgent struggles for social justice, there is increased awareness that things are not right. Our text’s affirmation that God is not yet finished with the world resonates with our experiences, opening up space for our collective groaning and longing for something better. It also gives hope that we are not on our own in the struggle—God’s Spirit is groaning right along with us, expressing our pain, fears, and dreams to God as petitions too deep for us to put into words. The text also invites us to consider the ways in which life in the Spirit empowers us to deeply engage a hurting world, trusting that the Spirit is constantly working in human weakness to bring about God’s full liberation and wholeness.

 

Being a follower of Jesus does not mean we are delivered from hardship or heartache but fills us with the vital gift of hope in the midst of the struggle.  We are not alone.  We do not face the woundedness of ourselves and the world alone.  We do not have to deal with heartbreak in our own strength.  God's Spirit is with us and within us, providing comfort and hope and peace in the midst of the groaning.

 

I don't know about you, but I find this to be of great comfort!  The Holy Spirit of God is a gift worth celebrating!!

 

With You in God's Spirit,

 

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

 

"Gratefully Growing Servants"