Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Lenten Journey: Climbing to the Cross - Day SEVEN

1 Corinthians 6:12-30, Today's New International Version:

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:
   “What no eye has seen,
    what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived—
    these things God has prepared for those who love him”—
for God has revealed them to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit within? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

Just when I begin to get comfortable with a passage of scripture, just when I think maybe I've got it nailed - something strange happens.

I read it again.

And sure enough, I see something new there, 
something I hadn't seen before, 
something that catches me off guard. 

The passage we've just read is a prime example:

"The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God..." 

"We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God..."

And here all this time, I thought the Spirit was the quieter
member of this Trinity Godhead,
     The Comforter,
     The Consoler,
     The Advocate.

Yes...but...this passage seems to imply that there might be a few other monikers that would fit Person #3:
     The Infiltrator
     The Instigator
     The Explainer
     The Translator

The same Spirit who searches the deep things of God
is the One who indwells us,
guiding us into understanding,
understanding some of those very deep things that
     the Spirit has been searching out in the Mind of God Almighty.

Okay, brain freeze here.
If this is true, then how come we've still got so many 'discussions' 
going on the larger church,
so many points of serious disagreement about scripture,
history, gender roles, science... 
you name it, we've got heated talk going on about it. 

Well, for one thing, we're a messy lot out here in Christendom.
Our antennae are notoriously faulty.
We pay more attention to that loudmouth person over there -  the one we really, really do not like,
(or the one we secretly idolize),
than we do to the still, small voice. 

And maybe it's got something to do with this line from Paul's letter to Corinth: 

" one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God." 

It is so easy for us to lose sight of this truth.
We think we've got the inside scoop on the mind of God,
that we've got a corner on 'the whole truth.' 

When maybe what's called for is a tiny piece of humility.
A recognition that there are lots and LOTS of things we don't know and never will.
That "no human mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." 

And here is a good and true thing about this time of the year:
     Lent is exactly the right time for growing in humility. 
     Lent is exactly the right time for continuing conversion.
     Lent is exactly the right time for lifting our hands to heaven and crying, 
    "Be God, God. By your Spirit at work in the church, teach us to listen to you and to one another. Teach us to walk humbly with you. And to walk humbly with each other, too."
Holy Spirit, I thank you that you refuse to be put into a box of our design. You are free, you are powerful, you are loving, and you are convicting. Help us to tune up our antennae this Lenten season. Help us to tune in to YOU.

Click here for day one of this series and an explanation of what it's all about.