The invitation to relationship – a Pentecost reflection

withSo we are now accompanied by, filled with, the Holy Spirit. (See yesterday). But what does that mean? What can we do? What superpowers do we have?

We can talk about gifts of the spirit. Some of you know about that. But there is something more important than that. Someone that Jesus and Paul both talk about.

We get to call God the Father, dad.

Paul is writing to people who have confessed with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and have believed that God has raised him from the dead. Paul says, “you used to be slaves to the law, slaves to the idea that keeping rules would keep God happy with you.”

But now, Paul says, the spirit is in you. And you aren’t slaves to that old idea anymore. Instead, the Spirit is the proof that we have been adopted by God, we are children of God by choice. Not ours, God’s. God has welcomed us into his family.

And we are so much in God’s family that we can say, “Abba”. It’s a term of endearing relationship, one that doesn’t worry constantly about saying things right or God will be mad. It’s a term of honest affection. It’s a term of respect mixed with belonging.

We can, as we say Abba because of the Spirit in us, quit being a slave to rules about behavior and start being a child with confidence in the love of the father even when we make mistakes, when we misunderstand.

A parent looks with encouragement and support on a child learning to walk. A master looks with reproof on a servant who doesn’t know how to walk.

A parent looks with forgiveness on a child who drops something and brings the pieces with tears. A master hands a slave who drops something a bill. At best.

A parent offers direction and encouragement, a parent offers a hug and a hand, a parent offers a bed and a table and a last name. A master demands work.

The daily work and love of a parent is subtle. And awesome.

Because of the Spirit, given on Pentecost, the church of Jesus Christ is invited to see and experience God as a parent, not a master.

That is the invitation.

But we often live as if we are slaves. We worry about making God mad. And that worry drives us mad.

But it doesn’t have to.

We aren’t waiting for the Holy Spirit to arrive with fire and noise. The Spirit is in us with whispers and peace. And the promise of belonging. In the middle of all the chaos here.

That’s awesome.