Brothers and Sisters, On Pentecost Sunday we heard the good news proclaimed that the Holy Spirit has empowered us to groan along with all of creation – God is calling us to participate as midwives in the new creation He is birthing!
In preparation for preaching this past week I found this good news to be a stark contrast to my usual assumptions about what it means for the church to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. Like the disciples, most of our conceptions of power come from the culture we have been raised in, but Christ invites us into a Kingdom understanding of power. One that is not hell-bent to overpower or dominate, but that is incarnational at its very core. We see in the life of Jesus a power to be present to all of the human experience. Not to dominate or control, but to be compassionate and connected without being overcome by hardship or pain.
When I consider this juxtaposition of Kingdom power and Worldly power, I can’t help but think of Jesus’ words in Matthew 20:25-27:
You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them… It will not be so among you; but whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave.
Instead, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to follow in the footsteps of our savior who “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” We are empowered by the Holy Spirit not to be great, but to groan with all of creation!
This is why the metaphor of being midwives participating in the birth of new creation feels so potent. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, you have everything you need to walk with your friends and family through all of the pain and hardship life brings your way. You can attend to the hardest parts of life without explaining them away. You can be compassionately present to pain while bearing witness to the coming Kingdom.
What are the points of pain you have noticed this week?
Are you feeling lost or confused? Is someone you know experiencing great loss or pain?
You are free to be present to this pain without being overcome by it. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, you are free to groan through whatever hardship you are confronted by this week while holding onto hope that God is birthing something new in the midst of it!
May God grant you peace as you are present to pain and as your groan along with all of creation this week, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!