St. Paul uses most of the eighth chapter of Romans teaching about the Holy Spirit.

Yet, for all of Paul's words,

today, the Holy Spirit is often only an afterthought in our daily lives.

 

What does the Spirit do?

Romans says,

“If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,

the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you.”

 

St. Paul tells us that the Spirit is our source of life.

He says that the Spirit lives in us and shows us how to live for God,

and he says that the Spirit reminds us that we are God's children.

 

Best of all,

he says that the Holy Spirit "comes to the aid of our weakness".

 

We all have weaknesses, don't we?

But with the help of the Spirit,

we can start to see things from God's perspective,

and find the strength we need to keep moving forward.

 

One weakness can be our struggle with prayer.

The Spirit loves to help us pray!

 

The Spirit helps us speak to God from our hearts,

and not just through rote or memorized prayers.

 

He gives us a desire to pray for our loved ones.

And he gives us the reassurance that our prayers have been heard.

 

It's easy to think that we’re doing it all by ourselves.

But this is just not the case.

 

Every holy thought that we have,

and every loving action that we take,

have their origin in the Holy Spirit.

Every day, in good times and bad,

the Spirit is with us,

teaching us to ask God for what we need and filling us with grace.

So, when you find the strength to push onward in a trying time,

it's the Holy Spirit that’s coming to your aid.

 

Story:

 

One Sunday afternoon a pastor received a telephone call from a woman parishioner.

"I heard you preach this morning,

and I thought the sermon was fine," she said,

 

"but I object to your use of masculine pronouns every time you refer to God.

It's always 'He' or 'Him,' never 'She or Her'."

And for many weeks thereafter,

the woman called to register the same complaint.

 

Until one Sunday morning,

when the pastor preached a sermon on the devil.

And it was "he" ... "him" ... "his" all the way through.

 

There was no telephone protest that day.

 

Think about it.

 

If you were marooned on a desert island, and could have one book,

what would it be?

 

Before you try to answer listen to how a world famous a poet,

philosopher and lay theologian answered.

He said, "If marooned he would want a book on shipbuilding!”

 

Some book lovers try to get the latest list of best sellers,

and study the selections.

 

Such lists almost always leave out the best-selling book of all times,

from which today's readings were taken - the Bible.

 

The Bible is alive and growing. 

New editions keep appearing and selling in numbers,

which dwarf those of many best sellers.

 

 

Updated translations like the New American Bible make it very readable;

and great footnotes like those in the Jerusalem Bible make it more understandable.

 

The thousands of other books that come out each year,

can be compared to the good and bad seed of today's parable.

 

Some plant good ideas;

some plant evil ones.

The Bible plants the best seed of all,

the seed of the word of God.

 

And since we're marooned here on earth,

wouldn’t it be a good idea to have a modern translation,

and read it often like a long letter from home.

 

The Bible is a very complex book,

its divided into the Old and New Testaments.

 

The Old Testament records God's revelation up to the coming of Christ.

 

The New Testament records Christ's coming and the founding of his Church.

 

The Bible was written in cultures very different from ours,

and the writers don't always tell us whether they are speaking as in a in parable,

recounting history or giving a mixture of both.

 

Here’s an example of the literary forms in the Old Testament.

 

The Book of Genesis tells us that God created the world,

and the whole universe during six days,

and that he rested on the seventh.

 

Now, that God created the world is an article of faith;

we know that,

but did he create it in six days?

 

A great Father of the Church, St. Augustine,

said that we shouldn’t take the word "day" in its usual sense of 24 hours.

He said that the days referred to here,

"are beyond the experience of us mortal earthbound people."

The basic truth taught here is that God created man,

and the beasts and the cosmos.

God is the source of everything.

 

Christians who take everything literally in the Bible are called fundamentalists.

 

Christians who too eagerly depart from the literal sense,

are toying with error and heresy.

 

There must be a balance.

 

The answer is that we need all the help we can get,

if we are to understand the Bible correctly.

 

Above all we need the guidance of the teaching Church,

and the light of the Holy Spirit,

and an open mind.

 

Like all things in life there are many ways to do or use something.

We must learn how to use what we are given.

 

But which are we to use?

I googled it and found there are 233 versions on the market today.

 

With that thought in mind,

there is help coming this fall.

Bishop Donald is planning a diocesan wide Bible Study this fall.

 

I’m looking forward to it.

There’ll be more information as the day draws nearer.