Aloha Friday Message – June 7, 2019 – Siblings of Fire

1923AFC060719 – Siblings of Fire

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    Romans 8:15c-17 … you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ – if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! We have arrived at the Birthday of the Church – Pentecost Sunday. This year it seems more important than ever to be aware of the movement and power of the Holy Spirit in each of us, and through us in The Church. Christians everywhere know that the Holy Spirit is actively countering the massive attacks against righteousness all across the world. If ever there was a time for us to exercise our spiritual authority, NOW IS THE TIME! (↔ Music Link)

Several years ago I mentioned another of those songs that shaped my childhood. It was called The Assurance March (↔ Music Link) The message referenced “Chapter 1 verse 12 of John.” That particular line was part of the bridge (the connecting music between verses) and the whole line of the lyric goes “Chapter 1 verse 12 of John is the ground we (firmly) stand upon.” So that verse is a foundational verse, one on which tenets of faith are built – part of the Christian creed. This is a tenet of faith in that it helps us define “the children of God … born … of God. Long story short is that comes about by believing in Him (John 3:16-17) and through baptism. Baptized believers are children of God, joint-heirs with Christ, and recipients of Christ’s participation in Creation which is and was and will be the Light of Life. That Light is, was, and always will be Christ. Everything that is Good comes from that Light – “God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, Begotten not made, Consubstaantial with the Father, Through Him all things were made.” (From the Nicene Creed; the Profession of Faith). Here is that verse so that you can see how it is foundational to Christian living:

John 1:12 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God …

Often reviewing this verse leads to a discussion of how to survive those tests of faith we encounter so often in our lives. Sometimes things happen that we just cannot understand – like the death of a child, the betrayal of innocence, or pointless violence. These things are often difficult to comprehend even within our Christian understanding of life. This too is something about which much has been written – why bad things happen to good people (and the converse of that, why good things happen to bad people). Again, there is a short answer which is inadequate only if you don’t believe that the longer answer isn’t any different from the short answer. The short answer is, “with God all things are possible.” The good and the bad happen, but it all happens within God’s knowing of it. Victims exist and God knows the how and why of that existence. He does not produce the victim or the circumstances that result in victims.

If we look at both of these Scripture passages, we see they are both about the children of God – and that is a very apt description of a Christian. Popular culture wants to tell us that every earthling is a child of God. That’s not necessarily so. What does this passage in John say? It says “ … all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.” And how is that power exercised? We become his children through adoption as God’s sons and daughters which is why we name ourselves as brothers and sisters of Jesus.  This is such a magnificent Truth that we can scarcely take it in, yet it is so believable that we often overlook its enormity. Jesus – through whom all things were made (See John 1:1-5) – humbled himself to share in our humanity (See Philippians 2:7-8). He, the Creator, became one like his creation – flesh and blood, sinew and bone, body-mind-and-spirit human, in every way like us except in sin. He IS our brother, and we are his siblings; that means, of course, that we who are the children of God are siblings to one another:

Hebrews 2:14-18 14 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

He suffered so that we can become the children of God and as such we inherit all of the Life of Christ because as children of God and Jesus’ siblings and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ – if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. Therefore we indeed cry out with Jesus, (Use this Music Link)  “Father, I put my life in your hands.” (See Psalm 31:5) “Abba, into your hands I commend my spirit.” (See Luke 23:46) This reality of familial relationship grows from the Eternal Relationships in the Holy Trinity. It is Spirit and takes on flesh, and flesh enlivened by Spirit (See Genesis 1:2 and Genesis 2:7) Then, in the magnificent perfection and integrity of God’s plan, the Holy Spirit came to us at the Feast of Pentecost – Shavu’ot, (See Leviticus 23:15-16, 21) the giving of First Fruits and the giving of the Torah to Moses at Mount Sinai. On the Pentecost we celebrate this weekend as Christians, we rejoice in reading and hearing the Second Chapter of Acts. (See Acts 2:1-11) THAT SAME Spirit is what unites us as brothers and sisters in Christ. God said it, and thus it was so, and God saw that it was very good.

It was God’s decision to offer us a place in the Kingdom as His children. It was God’s decision to let us live in The Kingdom as a free agent, able to choose good over evil, life over death. It was God’s decision to create us and call us by name to enjoy everything in our lives – even the tough stuff. Believe me; I have seen a lot of the tough stuff in your life and mine. One of the free choices we have is the choice to accept Him and His forgiveness. We are all already forgiven, every single one of us from every single sin. Only one thing is required to make that truth complete in our lives: Become a child of God. Accept Him through whom all things were created. It is the ground we stand upon (See Ephesians 5:10-17 See especially Verses 14-16) and we can stand on that ground only because Jesus showed his love for his Father and for us in ways we cannot begin to understand.

We are the children of God, joint-heirs with Christ in the Fire of the Spirit! The indelible mark of baptism identifies us as such; it animates – brings to Life – each soul called to the Supper of the Lamb. We are the Siblings of Fire ablaze with the vigor of Everlasting Life. How? Why? Look to 1 Corinthians 12:3b no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. As God’s child, you are his Belovéd and so, as the Apostle John tells us 1 John 3:1-2 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.

And so we close with this benediction:

Ephesians 3:16-22 16 I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 18 I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever —

at your service, Belovéd!

Happy Birthday to The Church and a blesséd and most Holy Pentecost to all!  Let there be Fire in the Whole!

Please pray with us here at Share-a-Prayer.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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