Thursday, September 20, 2018

O Heavenly King: The Holy Spirit

O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, You are everywhere and fill all things, Treasury of blessings, and Giver of life: come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us (three times).

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it is now, was in the beginning, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

O Heavenly King:
The Holy Spirit

“O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, You are everywhere and fill all things, Treasury of blessings, and Giver of life: come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.”

Pretty much any time before 100 AD, and even a long while after, cities were made with walls, which were patrolled by guards or watchmen.  Even in colonial America we would expect to hear the town crier, “It’s 10 o’clock and all’s well.”  Every three or four hours, one watch ended, and a new watch began.  Priests in Israel, Judah, and in The Church, pull such three-hour watches, at least in temple(s) and churches.  If we close our eyes we may picture in our minds an idea of the walls of Jerusalem; there we may envision the priests coming forth on a new watch, bearing swords or spears, singing their hymns as they marched around the walls of Jerusalem, armed both physically and spiritually, looking for every disturbance in the surrounding landscape or inside the city below.

We are all such watchmen, such priests in The Church, so our daily prayers or the prayers of the hours often begin with this prayer, requesting the help of the Holy Spirit: for the very first thing we must do in our duties as watchmen is to be armed with the power of the Spirit.

This is not an invitation to some silly antic, such as the “treeing of Old Scratch”.  The request for the Spirit’s help is always associated with Scripture:[1] so, we will not be surprised to learn that these ancient watch prayers, pray through the Psalms on a regular basis.  The midnight watch is even dedicated to Psalm 119.

“O Heavenly King”, reminds us that the Spirit is The Vicar of Christ on Earth.  We are not denying or even discussing whether the Pope is the vicar of Christ on earth: we are just getting things in their proper order, so this is no place for a theological debate.  The Spirit is The Vicar of Christ on Earth: therefore, if we would keep watch at all, either physically or spiritually, we cannot proceed without the Spirit’s help.  Yet, how many times do we pick up our Bibles, thinking that Bible reading is nothing more than an exercise of the mind; so, we try to begin without the Spirit’s help, and fail: in fact, we crash.  Bible reading is an act of prayer in the power of the Spirit: the mind is virtually worthless without the Spirit.  How often do we try to begin our day without the Spirit?  How frequently during the day, do we neglect to ask the Spirit how to solve problems, how to understand situations, what does the Father want us to do, what has Jesus told us to do, in such and such a situation.  The Spirit is our living powerful key to our indwelling relationship with the Trinity.

He is “the Comforter”, not that we ever seek comfort.  Who are we kidding, if not only ourselves?  Our world is falling to pieces all around us; yet, that internal Voice, reassuring us that God is still in control during the worst of all days, in the midst of our worst nightmares: that Voice is the voice of the Spirit bearing witness with our human spirits that we are the children of God.

He is “the Spirit of truth”.  In a world gone mad with lying, here is the exclusive franchise on truth.  Go to Him! Seek truth with all your might.  Get wisdom here; and with all your getting, get understanding; get it here, and get it now.  God is ready to pour, pour, flood, not dribble, answers into our hearts through “the Spirit of truth”.  This still requires a willingness to do hard praying and hard thinking on our part, a willingness to be led into all truth.  The Spirit gives truth freely; strive to get it.[2]

He is “everywhere and fills all things”.  If the inescapable omnipresence or ubiquity of God is felt anywhere, it is due to the work of the Spirit.  You are never alone.  You cannot be left alone.  You are not only surrounded; you are indwelt.  Do you feel abandoned, deserted, forgotten, forsaken, put on the bench, sidelined, sidetracked, unloved?  Look to the Spirit and Live.  You may have forsaken God; yet, God has not forsaken you, and the Spirit is right here, right now, inside you, to remind you of that fact: because God loves you like no other.

He is the “Treasury of blessings”.  Did you get a raise today?  Thank the Holy Spirit.  Were you awarded a prize, a patent, or other great recognition; did someone throw a party, start a parade, send a card in your honor?  Thank the Holy Spirit.  You didn’t really think that you achieved any of these things without His help, did you?  You didn’t really believe that you deserved these honors, did you?  No, all of these things are gifts from a loving God, delivered by the Spirit.

He is the “Giver of life”.  Are you still breathing?  Praise the Holy Spirit.  Are you in pain, dying, afraid?  The Spirit is beside you after all the doctors, nurses, and even your family have left.  Is your body lifeless?  The Spirit is the One directing angels as they escort your body to the grave, and your spirit into heaven.  Yes, God’s love for you is more powerful than death, reaching far beyond the grave.  This too, is the work of the Spirit.

This is what the Spirit does for us, He “comes and abides in us.” When we fall and sin, He “cleanses us from every impurity”, until at last, when He has perfected His work, we are made truly Christ like.  He also “saves our souls”: for Salvation is more than a one-time act, which is our baptism with the Spirit; Salvation is also an ongoing daily struggle, wherein the Spirit is gradually changing us; and finally, Salvation is our last hope, the hope of going to heaven, the hope of eternal life.

Truly the Spirit is worthy of the title, “Good One.”

The Church is the Body of Christ.  The Holy Spirit is the One animating this Body, giving it its vitality.

You are a soldier of Christ.  Now go pull your watches in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Do not go into spiritual battle unarmed.

[1] Most especially the Old Testament (Luke 24:25-27, 32, 44-45).  It is an absolute disgrace that the Old Testament is no longer read in our churches; nor is it commonly understood among us.  The Holy Spirit’s specific task is to refresh and repeat these lessons from Luke 24, which teach us the true meaning of the Old Testament.

[2] 1 Kings 3:9-11; Job 6:30; Psalm 119:104; Proverbs 3:13; 4:5, 7; 7:7; 15:32; 16:16; 17:16; 18:15; 19:8; Ecclesiastes 8:5; Isaiah 44:19-20; Ezekiel 44:23; Jonah 4:11; Malachi 3:18; Matthew 5:6; 16:3; Luke 1:15, 41, 53, 67; 2:40; 6:21; 12:56; Acts 2:4, 17-18; 4:8, 31; 9:17; 13:9, 52; 10:45; Romans 5:5; 15:14; 1 Corinthians 2:14; 11:29; 12:10; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 4:6; Ephesians 3:19; 5:18; Philippians 1:11; Colossians 1:9; 2 Timothy 1:4; Hebrews 4:12; 5:14; 10:22 — there are about 250 verses in the New Testament detailing the work of the Spirit: we are just scratching the service.  Would you be filled with the Holy Spirit, then emulate the behavior of those who were filled with the Spirit in the Bible: they pursued God and His Word, they accepted persecution, suffering, and death; they did not pursue strange tongues, or vain miracles; they faced humiliation and learned to hate their own lives as they took up their crosses to follow Jesus (Joshua 14:8; 22:29; Judges 3:28 (an icon of Jesus); Matthew 4:19; 8:22; 9:9; 9:27; 10:38; 16:24; 19:21, 29; Mark 2:14-15; 8:34; 10:21; Luke 5:27; 9:23, 59, 61; 18:22; John 1:43; 8:12; 10:27; 12:26; 13:36; 21:19, 22; 1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Timothy 6:11; Revelation 14:4).  Here is the reason that I don’t ask people to follow me: because there are so many charlatans in the world: follow Jesus, in the power of the Spirit.

[3] If you have been blessed or helped by any of these meditations, please repost, share, or use any of them as you wish.  No rights are reserved.  They are designed and intended for your free participation.  They were freely received, and are freely given.  No other permission is required for their use.

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