Devotion and Prayer for Week of June 29, 2014

Meditation for the Week of June 29, 2014

  

Every summer my congregation reviews a section of the Small Catechism.  This treasure of the faith contains the basic texts of the Christian life, along with brief explanations that apply them to us personally.  Although many Lutherans learn the catechism in confirmation class, we often forget and neglect this wonderful resource.  Martin Luther himself said, “I must still read and study daily, and yet I cannot master it as I wish, but must remain a child and pupil of the Catechism, and am glad so to remain.”  This summer we are reviewing the creed and its explanation, and so the FHP devotions for the month of June will focus on these texts.

 

The Second Article:

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.  Amen. 

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.  In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.  In this Christian Church He daily and richly forgives me all my sins and the sins of all believers.  On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ.  This is most certainly true.

 

Meditation:

What in the world does it mean to be holy?  Holiness is something that only God has.  You can’t find holiness apart from Him.  Holiness is what it means to be God.  The word “holy” in Latin is “sanctus;” from where we get our word “saint.”

The Holy Spirit is not just holy in Himself; He passes His holiness along to you.  Now holiness is not something you can possess.  You can only receive it, but never hold on to it.  Holiness is like electricity.  You can see what it does and the power that it has, but you can’t really see it or hold on to it.

Just as electricity flows to you through certain channels, so the holiness of God flows to you through certain channels.  The Holy Spirit has a delivery system for His holiness.

The point of delivery is in the Holy Church.  That’s where forgiveness of sins is given out, Holy Absolution.  That’s where you hear the preaching of the Word, the Holy Gospel.  That’s where Holy Baptism and the Holy Supper are received.  That’s where God’s deliverymen serve in the office of the Holy Ministry, set apart by Holy Ordination.  All of these are the points where the holiness of God is given to you.

Forgiveness comes through the Word, as that’s where the Spirit is at work (see last week’s meditation).  The Church is where there is someone to speak and someone to hear.  Even if it’s just two or three, if God’s Word is there, the Holy Spirit is there making people Holy in the Holy Church.

But it’s not the Holy Spirit alone who does the job.  He’s delivering the forgiveness that the Son won on the cross to the people that the Father created.  Holy Trinity all for you, confessed from beginning to end in the creed.

 

Our Weekly Prayer 

Holy Spirit, fill me with Your holiness, through the means of grace, that I may receive these gifts in faith for my salvation, in the name of Jesus Christ, who with You and the Father are one God, now and forever.