The reformed tradition pays a lot of attention to the mind. In Matthew 22:36-40 Jesus teaches about the Greatest Commandment.
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
As Jesus boils down all of the law he makes it clear that the whole person; body, mind and spirit are to be in service to God. The reality of our lives is that these areas aren’t divided into neat and independent areas. They are interdependent and health in one areas fosters growth and health in the others.
This past week we held our annual Celebration Sunday, marking the conclusion of our Sunday School year. During this celebration we recognized the students and teachers who have participated in our Christian Education program, as well as the work of the Holy Spirit in that ministry. Far too often the teaching ministries of the Church are filled with lots of research and preparation but only a little attention is paid to the Spirit.
Since our Celebration Sunday fell on Pentecost it was easy to draw everyone’s attention to the action of the Spirit in our life of learning. This is the interdependent nature of our faith. We pray each week during worship, prior to the Scripture readings, as an expression of this interdependent reality. Without the Spirit’s illumination the Scripture and sermon fall short in our instruction and faith development.
Dependence on the Holy Spirit is also the reason that every Session meeting starts with a time of prayer. As the leadership of Christ Presbyterian gather to discern the will of God, it is critical that they call upon God and open themselves up to the guidance of the Spirit. I for one, have felt the Spirit’s presence in the midst of our Session and know that without it we would have fallen short in our decision making and leadership.
Of course seeking the partnership of the Holy Spirit isn’t something that is limited to our life in the congregation. The joy of what God has done in Christ is that we are all given a gift. That gift has more than eternal realities. As those who are in Christ we are given the Holy Spirit as a deep and direct connection to God. The very actions we take in our life together, i.e. prayers for illumination, guidance and discernment, are ours to practice in our daily life.
As we seek to serve God with our whole heart, soul and mind we must become dependent on the Spirit for deep and abiding presence. With the Holy Spirit as our constant source of life giving and sustaining presences we can truly discover the joy of being the spiritual children of God.
May God’s Holy Spirit be with you this day and everyday of your life. AMEN