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Holey spirits

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Sermon for Whitsunday

There are times when humanity hates itself. There are times when humanity thinks of itself as parasites on the face of God’s good earth. There are times when humanity, looking at the destruction that it wreaks upon the beauty of nature, turns away from God declaring that it should never have been born.

Sometimes, we are just sick of ourselves, and we don’t know what to do. Some of us lie down and accept it, finding ways of numbing the dull ache and silencing the voices that depress us. Sometimes we hit out at all and sundry that we perceive are the problem, and end up tearing ourselves apart. We hear St Paul say to us, ”the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”

And then we remember that God created us to be flesh and spirit. Why would he create a being that is at war with itself? Are we really a failed experiment?


If we were a failed experiment then there is no point in the Crucifixion. If God, in His Divine foreknowledge can see us sin and fall and kill and hurt and destroy and still call us “very good” then there is no failure, for St Paul says very clearly, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

We are born in sin, but we are not born sinners. At our birth, we inherit a world damaged by human beings who deny the reality of their own spirits and our very nature is broken by sin, cracked and infected by temptations and a weakness to fall to these temptations. We see right and wrong and we make judgements based on those perceptions but all we can do is condemn and, in condemning try to destroy Evil, only to destroy ourselves because we judge according to our broken, worldly ways. The fact of the matter is that we cannot destroy Evil because we are not capable of supplying the pure Good that is necessary to destroy it. We are not the source of Goodness, just the product of it.


Today, however, “there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Today, this day of Pentecost, we are given precisely that which can destroy Evil, and we can take it into our very selves. Into our broken selves, into the cracks infected and stained with sin, into the heart of our darkness, God pours out His Spirit on all who would receive it. This is the fact of our Baptism: our broken human nature is cleansed. This is why we should baptise our babies born into the world to the joy of the angels in heaven, so that the evil which clings so closely may be inoculated against by the Holy Ghost.

We must remember that our spirits remain our own. Our spirit is not replaced by the Holy Ghost, but rather the Holy Ghost dwells within us wherever we would let Him. He dwells within the cracks caused by sin cementing us together with ourselves and with God Himself. Our human nature is healed by being filled with the Divine.


We can still sin. Our flesh and our spirit are still subject to our wills, so we must learn to live after the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. We live lives of turning to Him, listening to Him and obeying Him – this is the life of repentance. We may falter and damage ourselves. Yet we may always turn to Him and He will heal us.


Perhaps, God created human beings who might choose fall so that we might also choose to receive Him more deeply than we really know. However, we must accept the consequences of our fall. The only way that this world will improve is if we fill it with the Holy Ghost. We should “do little things in love” as St Teresa of Calcutta says because we are little things created by the love of God. 

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