20. May 2018

Thy Kingdom Come

Series:
Service Type:

Minister: Revd Dr. Ian Tutton | Series: Pentecost

‘…Seek the things that are above, where Christ is…’ (Colossians 3, 1)
‘Praying in Aid’ is one of those quaint, old-fashioned phrases the meaning of which is most likely lost to many of us. It means to use someone or something to help prove an argument, most often in a legal context. During this past week two major initiatives have been rolled out within the life of the Church – Christian Aid Week, the one with which we are most familiar, and most involved – but also ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, a call to prayer as a spur to all Christians to seek to transform the communities of which we are a part and to which we belong. An aspiration shared by organisations such as Christian Aid who have been for many years seeking to transform the lives of whole communities throughout the world. Today is Pentecost, the day on which the Church is reminded of events that happened in Jerusalem some 50 days after Jesus was raised from the dead when the disciples and others were visited by a manifestation of the Holy Spirit so dramatic that whilst to some it appeared as if they were drunk to others it soon became obvious that was evidence of the power of God at work in their lives. Pentecost teaches us that God is present and active the world. God – The Holy Spirit – God’s active presence. And so, for us as for all Christians, Pentecost reminds us that if we are to remain faithful to the lifestyle to which we are called as Christians; if we are to remain faithful to the Gospel, the Good News which God shared with the world in Jesus; if we are to remain faithful to our commitment to see ‘Thy Kingdom Come’; if we are to remain faithful to seeing to it that ‘Christian Aid’ reaches wherever there is need of it, then we have to ‘pray in aid’ the Holy Spirit – God’s active presence. We have to…

live & love in the power of the Holy Spirit…
give & go in the power of the Holy Spirit…
bless & forgive in the power of the Holy Spirit…
welcome & heal in the power of the Holy Spirit…
judge & affirm in the power of the Holy Spirit…
teach & baptise in the power of the Holy Spirit…
worship & pray in the power of the Holy Spirit…

In so doing we bear witness to God’s active presence in our lives and in our world. Hence, The Holy Spirit is for life, not just for Pentecost…
“Our task, as image-bearing, God-loving, Christ-shaped, Spirit-filled Christians, following Christ and shaping our world, is to announce redemption to the world that has discovered its fallenness, to announce healing to the world that has discovered its fallenness, to announce healing to the world that has discovered its brokenness, to proclaim love and trust to the world that knows only exploitation, fear and suspicion.”  (N.T. Wright, The Challenge of Easter).
What Jesus requires of those who would be His followers, who would seek to imitate His way of living is seemingly, from a worldly point of view a recipe for self-delusion; indeed from a purely human perspective it will inevitably prove to be impossible, but when lived in the power of the Holy Spirit, but when we have prayed in aid God’s active presence it, indeed everything becomes entirely possible for nothing is impossible with God, and so for example…
“The Sermon on the Mount is not a set of principles to be obeyed apart from identification with Jesus Christ. The Sermon on the Mount is a statement of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is getting his way with us.”  (Oswald Chambers).
The danger we can fall into if we are not careful is to somehow separate off the Holy Spirit; hive Him/Her/It off into some theological cul-de-sac because the last thing we want is to find ourselves being embarrassed in any way as a consequence of the Holy Spirit having caused us to say/do whatever in a manner that is most unlike us. We don’t want to appear as if we are ‘drunk’ to others. Yet without the Holy Spirit, without the God being present and active in our lives we are not who we were made to be, and we cannot be who we ought to be…
“To put it simply: the Holy Spirit bothers us. Because the Holy Spirit moves us, makes us walk, pushes the Church to go forward. And we are like Peter at the Transfiguration: ‘Ah, how wonderful it is to be here like this, all together!’ … But don’t bother us. We want the Holy Spirit to doze off … we want to domesticate the Holy Spirit. And that’s no good. because this is God, the Holy Spirit; that wind which comes and goes and you don’t know where; the power of God, the One who gives us consolation and strength to move forward. But: to move forward! And this bothers us. It’s so much nicer to be comfortable.” (Pope Francis, Encountering Truth: Meeting God in the Everyday).
God cannot be tamed, the Gospel cannot be domesticated, God determines to be present and active in the world according to God’s will and God’s purpose. To experience the active presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is disturbing, we will, we ought, we should be disturbed. But that is how it must be. Living as A Christian in the world of today we should be disturbed by what we see happening around us – enraged, outraged – but not so as to make us feel helpless, but to remind us that in the power of the Holy Spirit – the active presence of God it is possible to transform this world in such a way as it reflects the reality of the emerging of the Kingdom of God. We are encouraged to know the Christian message will be the agent of such a transformation. We can ‘pray in aid’ the Holy Spirit that the active presence of God might enable us to pray that ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ – ‘Thy will be done’.

Thy Kingdom Come

‘…Seek the things that are above, where Christ is…’ (Colossians 3, 1)

‘Praying in Aid’ is one of those quaint, old-fashioned phrases the meaning of which is most likely lost to many of us. It means to use someone or something to help prove an argument, most often in a legal context. During this past week two major initiatives have been rolled out within the life of the Church – Christian Aid Week, the one with which we are most familiar, and most involved – but also ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, a call to prayer as a spur to all Christians to seek to transform the communities of which we are a part and to which we belong. An aspiration shared by organisations such as Christian Aid who have been for many years seeking to transform the lives of whole communities throughout the world. Today is Pentecost, the day on which the Church is reminded of events that happened in Jerusalem some 50 days after Jesus was raised from the dead when the disciples and others were visited by a manifestation of the Holy Spirit so dramatic that whilst to some it appeared as if they were drunk to others it soon became obvious that was evidence of the power of God at work in their lives. Pentecost teaches us that God is present and active the world. God - The Holy Spirit – God’s active presence. And so, for us as for all Christians, Pentecost reminds us that if we are to remain faithful to the lifestyle to which we are called as Christians; if we are to remain faithful to the Gospel, the Good News which God shared with the world in Jesus; if we are to remain faithful to our commitment to see ‘Thy Kingdom Come’; if we are to remain faithful to seeing to it that ‘Christian Aid’ reaches wherever there is need of it, then we have to ‘pray in aid’ the Holy Spirit – God’s active presence. We have to…

  • live & love in the power of the Holy Spirit…
  • give & go in the power of the Holy Spirit…
  • bless & forgive in the power of the Holy Spirit…
  • welcome & heal in the power of the Holy Spirit…
  • judge & affirm in the power of the Holy Spirit…
  • teach & baptise in the power of the Holy Spirit…
  • worship & pray in the power of the Holy Spirit…

In so doing we bear witness to God’s active presence in our lives and in our world. Hence, The Holy Spirit is for life, not just for Pentecost…

“Our task, as image-bearing, God-loving, Christ-shaped, Spirit-filled Christians, following Christ and shaping our world, is to announce redemption to the world that has discovered its fallenness, to announce healing to the world that has discovered its fallenness, to announce healing to the world that has discovered its brokenness, to proclaim love and trust to the world that knows only exploitation, fear and suspicion.”  (N.T. Wright, The Challenge of Easter).

What Jesus requires of those who would be His followers, who would seek to imitate His way of living is seemingly, from a worldly point of view a recipe for self-delusion; indeed from a purely human perspective it will inevitably prove to be impossible, but when lived in the power of the Holy Spirit, but when we have prayed in aid God’s active presence it, indeed everything becomes entirely possible for nothing is impossible with God, and so for example…

“The Sermon on the Mount is not a set of principles to be obeyed apart from identification with Jesus Christ. The Sermon on the Mount is a statement of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is getting his way with us.”  (Oswald Chambers).

The danger we can fall into if we are not careful is to somehow separate off the Holy Spirit; hive Him/Her/It off into some theological cul-de-sac because the last thing we want is to find ourselves being embarrassed in any way as a consequence of the Holy Spirit having caused us to say/do whatever in a manner that is most unlike us. We don’t want to appear as if we are ‘drunk’ to others. Yet without the Holy Spirit, without the God being present and active in our lives we are not who we were made to be, and we cannot be who we ought to be…

“To put it simply: the Holy Spirit bothers us. Because the Holy Spirit moves us, makes us walk, pushes the Church to go forward. And we are like Peter at the Transfiguration: 'Ah, how wonderful it is to be here like this, all together!' ... But don't bother us. We want the Holy Spirit to doze off ... we want to domesticate the Holy Spirit. And that's no good. because this is God, the Holy Spirit; that wind which comes and goes and you don't know where; the power of God, the One who gives us consolation and strength to move forward. But: to move forward! And this bothers us. It's so much nicer to be comfortable.” (Pope Francis, Encountering Truth: Meeting God in the Everyday).

God cannot be tamed, the Gospel cannot be domesticated, God determines to be present and active in the world according to God’s will and God’s purpose. To experience the active presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is disturbing, we will, we ought, we should be disturbed. But that is how it must be. Living as A Christian in the world of today we should be disturbed by what we see happening around us – enraged, outraged – but not so as to make us feel helpless, but to remind us that in the power of the Holy Spirit – the active presence of God it is possible to transform this world in such a way as it reflects the reality of the emerging of the Kingdom of God. We are encouraged to know the Christian message will be the agent of such a transformation. We can ‘pray in aid’ the Holy Spirit that the active presence of God might enable us to pray that ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ – ‘Thy will be done’.