Monday of Lent 2, March 18, 2019
“Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins. His mercy endures for ever.”
This week in our meditations, we continue to reflect upon specifics of how we haven’t lived into the fullness of our baptism together. Today and tomorrow we reflect upon how we have grieved the Holy Spirit by not being willing to hear and respond to God’s call to service:
We have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us. We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have grieved your Holy Spirit.
Have mercy on us, Lord.
Just as we reflected last Friday that God’s forgiveness of us gives us both the ability and the model for loving God and each other well, Christ’s service to us gives us both the ability and the model for serving each other. In the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, Jesus’s statement that he came not to be served, but to serve is in the context of replying to the desire of two of his disciples (and their mother) to have high ranking positions in his kingdom. In contrast to the expectations of the prevailing culture, Jesus said that his disciples are to focus on service. And, immediately after this teaching, Jesus compassionately healed two blind men (Mark 10, Matthew 20). In John’s Gospel, Jesus explains his focus on serving in the context of his last supper as he washed the feet of his disciples (John 13). Jesus has shown us self-giving service through how he lived and how he died.
At Jesus’s baptism, the Holy Spirit anointed Jesus for ministry (Matthew 3, Mark 1, Luke 3). The Holy Spirit is the one who, through our baptism, empowers us to do the good works prepared in advance for us (Ephesians 2:10). And the Holy Spirit calls us to these works of service. We grieve the Spirit when we close our ears to opportunities to serve or when we serve with the intention of getting ahead because of this service.
In what ways have you turned a deaf ear to the Holy Spirit’s promptings to serve?
What opportunities has your worshiping community or our diocese chosen to ignore?
When have we used the gifts of the Spirit for our own advancement rather than means to serve?
Almighty God our heavenly Father, you declare your glory and show forth your handiwork in the heavens and in the earth: Deliver us in our various occupations from the service of self alone, that we may do the work you give us to do in truth and beauty and for the common good; for the sake of him who came among us as one who serves, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(24. For Vocation in Daily Work, BCP 261)