Thursday, October 1, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Create in me a clean heart, O God
A Reading From Romans 8:1-11
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
What does it mean to "live according to the Spirit?" What can these words of Paul signify -- not only for Christians who believe them to be divinely inspired, but for all people of good will? To be "spiritual," or to live according to the Spirit, is to know, and then to live by the knowledge, that there is more to life than meets the eye, that there is a deeper dimension to reality than first appears.
To be "spiritual" means, beyond that, to know, and to live by that knowledge, that God is present to us -- to all of us -- as the source of ongoing personal and communal growth and renewal. Christians call this divine presence the Holy Spirit. The theological term for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within us is grace, which means literally, "gift."
Grace is the gift of God's presence. And the God who is given to us as grace, the God who is present within us as grace, is the Holy Spirit. The term "spirituality," therefore, embraces everything that we are, everything that we think, and everything that we do by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Forgiving God, look not upon our sins but upon our desire to serve you and one another. Dispel our darkness, and help us to embrace our failings in living union with your goodness. Heal us that we may be a source of strength and courage for others. And may our prayer become one with the prayer of your Spirit that we may be one with you. Amen.