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Awaiting Pentecost

May 28th, 2009 by isaac · No Comments

Sermon preparation…

First I read a bunch of the more interesting commentaries on the assigned lectionary passage. And usually nothing happens. No sermon ideas—although every once in a while a word or a phrase or a sentence triggers a sermon. After spending a day with the commentaries, I put their careful exegesis aside and take a look at the theological section of my bookshelves. I take a book off the shelf, look at the table of contents, maybe flip through the pages to find my pencil markings, read a little here and there. And usually something happens. A sermon idea is born. So, here’s some stuff from random books that I’m hoping will turn into a sermon at some point in the next few days.

Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, p. 173:

For the Holy Spirit is the sovereign unction resting upon the Christ and upon all the Christians called to reign with Him in the age to come. It is then that this divine Person, now unknown, not having His image in another Hypostasis, will manifest Himself in deified persons: for the multitude of the saints will be His image.

Eugene Rogers, After the Spirit: A Constructive Pneumatology…, p. 205:
Christ displays time-friendly virtues in the course of his life, primarily a lack of anxiety about it: his ministry starts late and ends early, and he is willling to undergo death: in these concrete ways he counts timelessness not a a thing to be grasped, but humbles himself, giving the initiative over to the Spirit, already at his baptism, but especially by his death, so that over great stretches of time, much longer than a human life, the Spirit can give additional unexpected gifts of people and holiness to the Son. Only by retiring from the scene, and sending the Spirit, can the Son pass on his ministry without grasping time, without seeking to live forever; only by withdrawing on behalf of the Spirit can the Son put death behind him. The Son gives his life in trusting the Spirit before all Isreal has come in, allowing himself to ‘fail’ as Messiah, and the Spirit gives the unexpected and peculiar gift of the mostly Gentile church.

Rowan Williams, On Christian Theology, p. 124:
If there can be any sense in which ‘Spirit’ is a bridge-concept, its work is not to bridge the gap between God and teh world or even between teh Word and the human soul, but to span the unimaginably greater gulf between suffering and hope, and to do so by creating that form of human subjectivity capable of confronting suffering without illusion but also without despair…. Spirit is active where broken flesh and shed blood become the sign and promise of human wholeness and union with the Father.

Herbert McCabe, God Still Matters, p. 232:
The gift was not of something they came to possess, but something that came to possess them. It was not that they were given a new religious attitude, but tha tthey were taken over, possessed by, the Holy Spirit. The joy of God became, indeed, their joy; but it was first he joy of God.... This, St. Luke is telling us in Acts, is what the Church is supposed to be about: it is the proclamation in the world of the presence of the Spirit of delight and love, the Spirit of the joy of God, and the peace of God which will transform this world and take it beyond itself to the kingdom of the risen Christ, our brother, in whom is the interplay in love between god the eternal Parent, God the eternal Child, the God of eternal Joy and Delight, the interplay of Father, Son , and Holy Spirit for eternity.

Tags: reading corner · sermons