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Spirit of Wisdom

May 7, 2016

Denise and I had the privilege of attending the launch of #iAmProject2016 in Denver today. The theme is to promote healing in the church specifically around the issue of Gender Identity. It was an incredible line up of speakers, music, food, fellowship, and sharing. The bench above was in the lobby of Highlands Church in Denver where the launch was held. It was an old bench that was worn and yet still very relevant and useful today.

Each of the speakers shared how the Spirit of God was at work in their lives as they sought God’s wisdom and presence in their lives. Many shared stories about how much damage the church and christians (yes, lower case is intentional) had done to them and to their families because they didn’t fit the traditional mold of gender identity. Yet despite the treatment at the hands of Pharisees, they still had not lost faith in God. Seeking the wisdom that comes from God via the Holy Spirit and Scripture (despite the fact that the Bible had been used to traumatize and abuse).

Ascension Day is observed on the 40th day after Easter or the Sunday following. On that day the church remembers Jesus’ final words with his disciples before ascending into heaven. As Luke records it, Jesus once again opened the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets to the disciples, teaching them one last time how everything written about him would be fulfilled. The promise was, after he ascended, the Holy Spirit would be given to them in order that they might continue to learn and grow and share the good news.

One of the things discussed today in one of our sessions was the fact that Jesus himself offered new interpretations of Scripture to the disciples. Between the parts of the Law and the Prophets which he had fulfilled and his call to truly live the Covenant relationship which the law was supposed to represent, Jesus radically interpreted what had been the classical understanding of Scripture.

All of those laws? Remember this, Love God and Love Neighbor. Jesus was radically calling them to love even the Samaritans and the outsiders. It was those sort of lessons which the Spirit would continue to reveal to them.

Their three year adventure with Jesus was coming to an end. Yet the journey was far from over. How was this going to happen? Paul gives us a hint in Ephesians 1:15-23. “I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.” (verses 17-19)

Paul prayed that the people would receive from God a spirit of wisdom and revelation. Isn’t that the same spirit which Jesus shared during his ministry with the disciples on earth? As he revealed to them wisdom and a new understanding of Scripture? An understanding rooted in Love and not the old legalistic sacrificial system. Jesus promised that the Spirit would continue to guide the disciples as they continued to serve God.

What is this Spirit of Wisdom? Peter received it with his vision of the divine picnic where what the Law had deemed to be unclean was declared good (as it had been at Creation, mind you). Peter received a new wisdom or way of understanding what it meant to be a follower and a servant of God.

Jesus revealed that wisdom when he said the Samaritan was the hero of the story instead of the priest or the Levite. The Samaritan, like the lepers, tax collectors, and other outcasts were welcomed to the table where as the keepers of the Law strictly forbade them from approaching. Their legalism was replaced by Grace, Mercy, and Love.

I believe that the church is in need of a renewal of that same radical spirit. I heard that today in the stories of suffering, shaming, guilt, and horrible treatment of my sisters and brothers at the hand of the church. A Wisdom that is rooted in the Love of Christ. A love that breaks down barriers instead of building walls. A love that casts out fear and embraces all of God’s children.

That is my hope… That is my prayer… That the Spirit of the Lord will indeed build up and heal those who have been despised, rejected, and abused.

One Comment
  1. Thank you so much for this!

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