Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Preparing a Place for God

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?  Where's Waldo?  Where are you?  All questions that have been asked over the past years and continue to be asked, especially the last question.   It is asked many times by many who are seeking someone in some way.  Where are you?  Where do you belong?  What is it that you are seeking in life that you have not found? 

Do you have a mission in life, something that makes you want to get out of bed each morning?  What is your mission in life, the thing that motivates you to get out and about and do something that gives you a feeling of satisfaction and worth?  The mission we have in life drives us and makes us want to be involved in life and perhaps often to be involved on behalf of others. 

Jesus prayed for his disciples in John's Gospel, chapters 14-16 and he taught them what they needed to know so that they would have a mission and purpose in life that would connect what they had experienced with him during the three years of his ministry.  He wanted them to know that they would not be alone because the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Advocate would be with them to help them in all they would do. 

So, he sent them into the world to accomplish all that they needed to do, with the help of the Holy Spirit to guide them and urge them on, when times became rough, and they would.  They had a mission, to go out into all the world and preach the Gospel and to baptize all who would believe so that they would be part of the great family that would be created.  That family would be called "Christian" because they would attempt to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and to guide others to follow them also. 

Jesus prayed that God would protect them as they went into the world to accomplish the mission.  The word "protect" does not mean to prevent them from encountering danger or harm, because they all died martyr's deaths eventually.  The word means to help them to feel the assurance of the Holy Spirit and to be equipped for every circumstance by the Spirit's presence.  We modern readers understand the word "protect" as the same as "prevent" but in actuality the word speaks to protecting us from despair or giving up.  We are protected from our own frail weakness that would cause us to turn from the mission we have been given as we seek the strength that the Holy Spirit can supply. 

Jesus also prayed that his followers would be sanctified by the Spirit.  This word is one that speaks to holiness that comes about as followers of Christ become closer to God by the interceding of the Spirit in their lives.  As disciples of Jesus Christ seek to live in a way that more closely resembles the way of Jesus Christ, then their lives are transformed by the working of the Holy Spirit within them.  They become "perfected" in love as they live and grow in the way led by Christ. 

Jesus set the goals for his followers.  They are goals that are life-long and will not be completed in this life.  They are goals that are accomplished one day at a time, as people find strength through the Spirit and minister to the lives of others who are seeking to walk in the way that leads to new life through Christ.  As we all follow those goals set before us, we prepare a place within us for the Holy Spirit's presence that will lead us through life to what God would reveal to us as we enter eternal life. 

"What we will become has not been revealed to us, but we know that when he appears we will be like him, because we will see him as he is.  Those who have this hope purify themselves even as Christ is pure."  (I John 3:2-3)