Sunday, May 27, 2012

Disturbing Comfort

Disturb us, O Lord

when we are too well pleased with ourselves,
when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little,
because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, O Lord

when with the abundance of things we possess,
we have lost our thirst for the water of life,
when, having fallen in love with time,
we have ceased to dream of eternity,
and in our efforts to build a new earth,
we have allowed our vision of Heaven to grow dim.

Stir us, O Lord

to dare more boldly, to venture into wider seas
where storms show Thy mastery,
where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.

Push back, O Lord,

the horizons of our hopes;
Make glad our hearts and embolden us
To follow the lead of your Spirit
With courage, compassion, generosity, and love.

This we ask in the name of your Son,
Who is Jesus Christ our Lord.

--Adapted from a prayer attributed to Desmond Tutu, adapted from a prayer attributed to Sir Francis Drake


Jesus sends the Advocate, the Comforter and Guide, the one who stands alongside us and gives us aid in time of trial. He sends the Spirit of truth from the Father, to encourage us and renew us, to breathe into us courage and build in us new life.

He sends us peace, but a peace that disturbs us. He does not leave us comfortless, he does not leave us without a guide; but he does not leave us without a mission either.

We are called to complete his work in the world, to follow his lead into its farthest corners. We are called to bring the light of the gospel, the good news of God’s liberating hand, to all people.

The Spirit brings the living presence of Christ into our lives and hearts. And that means we have work to do. The Spirit is both comfort and conviction; we are not left alone in sin but pulled right out of it, away from the things that cling us to earth, and caught up into heavenly purpose.

The Spirit will bring into remembrance all that Jesus taught in his earthly walk with the disciples. What the Spirit teaches is consistent with the Gospels.

Where the Spirit leads is consistent with the work of Christ: In him, God has brought us out of error into truth, out of sin into righteousness, out of death into life.

Through the Spirit we come to our true selves and receive new life in Christ. As Martin Smith has said, it is in the Spirit that we receive our real identity, full of new possibility.

We find our identity is, in the light of Christ, not based on where we have been or ancestry or social standing, but on our part in the realization of God’s future, a future with hope. Our true vocation is to build God’s kingdom.

God is doing an amazing thing! The Spirit leads and the Church follows, as the good news of the free Spirit, the word of the Kingdom coming, spreads to all people. And we are called to join in this work.

We enjoy and celebrate what God is doing. We are invited into the unity of love, which is God’s own nature, and to share and abide in that love.

The Spirit is the life-giving breath of God, the wind of his grace, the fire of his love. It brings us into intimacy with the divine.

The Spirit is the Paraclete, the one who walks beside us and guides us, and the one who leads us, whom we follow into a hopeful future.

Holy Spirit, comforter and advocate, grant us the courage to witness in word and deed, to the teachings and acts of Jesus, to spread the news that God is at work in the world reconciling all things to himself.

Come, Holy Spirit, convince the world of truth, turn it from sin to righteousness, in your judgment burn away falsehood and expose the reality of love. Guide us into all truth.

Encourage us in faith and witness that we may show forth in our lives what lives in our hearts, the liberating gospel of your love.

May your continuing presence in our lives bring comfort to us and become in us a beacon of light to the world.

Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus forever and ever. Amen.    (Ephesians 3:20, 21.)