The readings so far have been pointers to the apostle Paul’s declaration that the whole of creation—wind and rain, seas and mountains, fields ripe for picking and deserts plagued by drought—all that has been made and held in being by God, especially all of humankind, has groaned for the Day of the Lord. The groan that arises, at times against our will, signifies that there is another transformation we must undergo—from the alienation of sin to the adoption of grace.
For Paul and for us the hope of salvation is what has kept us from despair. Fortified by this virtue, we wait for the coming of the Lord with patience and unshakeable trust. Seeing our sincerity, God mercifully sent us an Advocate who assures us that though we are weak in power, we are strong in faith. When no words of prayer rise to our lips, we can proclaim the truth that we are not alone. When we do not know how to pray, the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, intervenes and prays in us “with sighs too deep for words.”
All too often our minds become clouded with endless questions and confusing responses. Our attempts to reach self-perfection come to naught. Now is the time to descend from the distractions of a busy mind to the longings of a faithful heart. Here we ponder the unique communal call God intended for us from the beginning. Here the Spirit draws us to conform to Christ in obedience to the will of the Father. We make this intercession in abandonment to God’s providential plan for our lives. Though we may not understand how it will unfold, knowing that the Spirit prays in us is enough to assure us that a Divine Light will be our guide.
Come, Holy Spirit, and remove whatever obstacles prevent us from hearing and heeding your call to be holy. Teach us to say with Jesus, “Yes, Father, your will, not mine, be done.” Amen.
This week’s readings remind us of the powerful role of God’s Spirit. For many Christians, the Holy Spirit is the person of the Trinity we understand the least. In the book of Acts, the Spirit empowers the apostles on Pentecost to speak in other languages and, in so doing, initiates the establishment and missional reach of the church to the wider world. The psalmist uses a wordplay on ruach, the Hebrew word for breath or spirit, to teach us that God’s Spirit was present at Creation and is necessary for the ongoing survival of all life. Paul writes that God’s Spirit confirms that we are children of God and can approach God with confidence, not fear. Even the disciples feel uncertain about what will happen when Jesus leaves, so John provides Jesus’ assurance that God will remain with them and with us through the presence of the Holy Spirit
Read Acts 2:1-21. How often do you take solace in praying in private? Or are you more inclined to move to take action in the public square without praying first? Which site is the more comfortable for you?
Read Psalm 104:24-34, 35b. Where have you seen evidence of nature’s resources being spent? How can you help?
Read Romans 8:22-27. How consequential is it to you to acknowledge that God prays for us and the world? Why?
Read John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15. What instructions do you wish Jesus had left for you?
Respond by posting a prayer.
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.