Monday, May 20, 2013

Daily Devotional Thought--For the Family

Acts 2:4
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

In the name of + Jesus.

On the day of Pentecost, God the Holy Spirit accomplished in an instant what is otherwise a great challenge that countless hours of study and preparation.  While children can learn to speak their mother tongue in a couple years, and acquiring additional languages later in life is a long and difficult task, on the day of Pentecost, God the Holy Spirit placed foreign languages on the tongues of Jesus’ disciples in an instant.

In an instant, they had the ability to speak of Jesus, and proclaim the works of Jesus, and preach Jesus’ death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins for all those people from across the land.  In an instant, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the disciples were given the ability to preach the Gospel to those who otherwise would not have heard of the might works of God done in Jesus.

It was a miracle.  It was an awesome sight—and sound, to be sure!  And since it was a miracle (not a regular! J ) we don’t expect it to happen that way today.  Just ask first-year seminary students who spend countless hours a day trying to learn Greek or Hebrew.  And yet, whether it happens in an instant or over time, learning the language of the Gospel is always given by the Holy Spirit.

To hear that your sins are forgiven by the death of Christ; to learn that Jesus’ resurrection is the sign of your own resurrection; to trust that Holy Baptism incorporates you into Christ, and washes you clean as a forgiven child of the Father; to believe that Jesus feeds you with His own body and blood to build you up and strengthen you in the forgiveness of sins; all of this happens when the Holy Spirit is working.  And it happens where the Holy Spirit is working.

Which is why the Christian household is so critically important.  How do children learn to speak in the first place?  They hear the voices of mom and dad. They listen to the voices of mom and dad.  They imitate the voices of mom and dad.  And eventually, you notice that they’re beginning to talk like mom and dad.

It is true for acquiring any spoken language, but it is also true for the language of the faith.  Forgiveness, Baptism, Holy Communion; Justification, Sanctification; Law, Gospel, sin and grace; even Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; the cross and empty tomb: these are words which will not be known unless they are heard.  These are words which won’t be believed unless they are listened to.  These are words which won’t be used unless they are a part of the language spoken in the home.

But that’s the wonderful thing about these words.  When they are spoken, when they are listened to, and when they are heard, the Holy Spirit will use them just as He did on the Day of Pentecost.  He will use them to reveal Jesus.  And just like the Day of Pentecost, these words, learned in an instant or over time, will be the words by which the Holy Spirit will give, strengthen, and sustain faith in Jesus.

In the name of + Jesus.  Amen.

1                   Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord,
With all Your graces now outpoured
    On each believer’s mind and heart;
    Your fervent love to them impart.
Lord, by the brightness of Your light
In holy faith Your Church unite;
    From ev’ry land and ev’ry tongue
    This to Your praise, O Lord, our God, be sung:
        Alleluia, alleluia!

2                   Come, holy Light, guide divine,
Now cause the Word of life to shine.
    Teach us to know our God aright
    And call Him Father with delight.
From ev’ry error keep us free;
Let none but Christ our master be
    That we in living faith abide,
    In Him, our Lord, with all our might confide.
        Alleluia, alleluia!

3                   Come, holy Fire, comfort true,
Grant us the will Your work to do
    And in Your service to abide;
    Let trials turn us not aside.
Lord, by Your pow’r prepare each heart,
And to our weakness strength impart
    That bravely here we may contend,
    Through life and death to You, our Lord, ascend.
        Alleluia, alleluia!
(LSB, 497)

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