"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I Love Birthdays

Since I was young enough to remember, I have always loved birthdays.  Mine and everybody else's.  Cakes, candles, presents, singing.  
And games.  Whereas our parties weren't as extravagant as children's parties are nowadays, they were memorable.  Am I the only one who remembers "Thimble, thimble, who's got the thimble?"  That was the year I turned 6.  

There was also the year my brother had the chicken pox and we could only invite children who had already had the same.  Bummer...  
What's with the little sombreros???
And my mom ALWAYS baked the cake, topping it with a delicate figurine that is now displayed in my  own china cabinet.  

As I got older, my birthday was often celebrated in conjunction with the basketball tournaments.  When we were in the finals and doing well, the parties were a little more celebratory.  

I'm grown now, but I still like a good party.  Of course, this is one of my favorite people to celebrate.

But there is another birthday I like celebrating.  The year was somewhere around 30 A.D.  It was a morning late in the month of May.  The Judean sun was already high on the horizon, the clouds were burned away, and the heat was beginning to have its way.  Morning worship was concluding; trumpets were blasting and worshipers were praying.  Thousands of Jewish men had traveled miles to celebrate this feast: the Feast of Pentecost.  In fact, they were commanded to come.

But this year would be different, as suddenly, from high overhead, the roar of a violent windstorm was heard.  Heads began to turn trying to discover the source.  Listen to a true eyewitness account:  

... they [the disciples] were all together in one place.  And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit... (Acts 2:1-4a).

Yes, just as it had been foretold in Jer. 31:31, God initiated a new covenant with Israel.  On that morning, He poured out His Holy Spirit just as He had promised.  And, happy birthday: the church was born.  

Today is the day that is celebrated.  Pentecost Sunday.  50 days after Easter.  And so I celebrate, not with cake and candles, but by asking God to come again ... to breathe His Holy Spirit and birth anew in me the life-giving presence of His Son.

As for the singing, this morning I used Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend's Holy Spirit.  Won't you join me?

Holy Spirit living Breath of God
Breathe new life into my willing soul
Let the presence of the risen Lord
Come renew my heart and make me whole
Cause Your word to come alive in me
Give me faith for what I cannot see
Give me passion for Your purity
Holy Spirit breathe new life in me

Holy Spirit come abide within
May Your joy be seen in all I do
Love enough to cover ev'ry sin
In each thought and deed and attitude
Kindness to the greatest and the least
Gentleness that sows the path of peace
Turn my strivings into works of grace
Breath of God show Christ in all I do

Holy Spirit from creation's birth
Giving life to all that God has made
Show Your power once again on earth
Cause Your church to hunger for Your ways
Let the fragrance of our pray'rs arise
Lead us on the road of sacrifice
That in unity the face of Christ
May be clear for all the world to see

Just an ordinary moment...

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