Dynamic or Formal?
Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield, Sunday 20th May 2018.
I learned something new in church today. The feast of Pentecost (Shavout in Hebrew, meaning weeks, the day is a week of weeks, seven weeks, after Passover) is not only the first of the two Jewish harvest festivals, but also the celebration of Moses being given the law by God on mount Sinai.
That was from the beginning of a sermon that contrasted the giving of the law with the coming of the Holy Spirit on the anniversary of that same day.
The people did not keep the law though, even while Moses was on the mountain they built a golden calf to worship. Then and now god’s people continually break the law. It is not that the law is bad, it is because the people cannot live it. People’s hearts are the problem, cold, dark and distorted. The prophets looked forwards to a time when God would make the people holy. We cannot work our way to God, but Jesus comes to us in the Holy Spirit and shares his life in us.
Jesus purifies our hearts. This is a new beginning which there is no end to. We get a blazing intimacy with Jesus. We need to know that we are loved.
Has your intimacy with Jesus diminished over the years, has your faith become formalised rather than dynamic.
This next bit could be just me, but I doubt it. The message that faith should be personal and dynamic rather than formal came to me again. Not through an Evangelical Anglican tradition, but in a devotional reading plan on a Bible app on my smartphone , whose origin is Hillsong church. I like coincidences, so I thought back to where I had first heard this, in another Anglican church, but this time one which does dressing up and has smoke on festive occasions, Anglo Catholics saying the same things as the Evangelicals. Faith is supposed to be a personal, dynamic relationship, not something dead and formal. Three traditions saying the same thing. (I still have a soft spot for alive and formal though.)
I am assuming that it is not just me, and that at some time someone else may read this blog with the same wants and needs: Has your faith become formal and dry and you wish for a return to something alive and real, you have lost your love of Jesus and want it back. Or maybe formal is what your faith is about and you are longing for intimacy with Jesus. You can. Ask him to come to you, ask him to fill you with his Holy Spirit, ask him to fill you with his love. Then tell someone, someone you can trust and confide in, tell them and pray with them.