Saturday, March 25, 2006
The angel said to Mary, "Do not be afraid. You have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." ...
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said."
Then the angel left her.
Here we are, the beginning of spring. Babies are being born. And Mary is getting pregnant. This day commemorates that moment, the moment of Jesus' conception, the moment that exactly nine months later results in Jesus' birth, and the moment that marks the beginning of the liberation of mankind. Satan, you are losing!
Every so often the Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Urbana invites everyone to a "Holy Spirit Day." On these days everything is set aside for prayer, worship, meditation and confession.
When I begin a time of counseling with someone, we thank Jesus and the Holy Spirit for showing up. Nothing that happens after that prayer happens to us alone. The ideas we have, the feelings that come, the insights and healing all happen in the presence of God, by the finger of God.
Mary said "yes" to the angel. Centuries later, that acceptance ripples through our world with power. What a boudacious claim, to schedule a "Holy Spirit Day!" Or even to know without question that the Holy Spirit attends a counseling session. Jesus' new covenant with us and with God makes all this possible.
I thank him over and over. As He prepared to die the next day, Jesus said to His disciples:
"The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. ...
"When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth ... He will take from what is mine and make it known to you" (John 15:26-27 & John 16:13-14).
Later, after His resurrection, Jesus says to them, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
What happens a few days later?
A sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:2-4)
Mary's "Holy Spirit Day" has been multiplied over and over; and now we can all know His presence, His touch, His healing. When I invite Him to fill me up, He will do just that.
All of this and more, Lord. More, Lord. More, Lord. Thank you.