The Word — Life amidst rapid changes

Published 10:15 am Sunday, May 29, 2022

You can’t help but notice the price of a gallon of gasoline. The prices glow on signs everywhere you go. But a trip down the aisle at the grocery store shocked me. The package of frozen chicken breasts that I buy had gone from $19 to $32 and it made me question my regular purchase. Those are just a couple of the many changes we see rapidly unfolding around us that make us wonder what life will look like in the near future.

Those concerns take me back to God’s word from the angel at the empty tomb on Easter morning. “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5) The disciples lives had been turned upside down by the rapidly unfolding events of Holy Week and when they needed answers and hope they were looking in the wrong place. We’re no better. Instead of looking at the signs along the highway or in the grocery aisle or on our bank statement we should be looking to the Lord for answers and hope.

Jesus knew that’s what his disciples needed so he kept appearing to his disciples during those 40 days between his resurrection and ascension. Then when it was time for him to be glorified in his ascension he gave them a spectacular promise — a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Listen to Jesus’ spectacular invitation from John 7:37-39. “If anyone thirsts let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” The Holy Spirit is the Lord and giver of life. It is the Holy Spirit who is poured out upon the church on that first Pentecost. It is the Holy Spirit who turns over 3,000 people so that they believe in Jesus. So that rivers of living water flowed from their hearts. They weren’t worried about the rapidly changing world around them. They were rapidly changing the world around them because life flowed from them!

What the Holy Spirit accomplished in the early church is even more spectacular than Jesus’ appearances during the 40 days between his resurrection and ascension. The work of the Lord and giver of life is no less spectacular today. As we read our Bibles, remember our Baptism and go to the Lord’s Supper the Holy Spirit brings Jesus to souls parched by sin, withered by our best efforts, and disappointed by shattered dreams. Jesus comes to forgive our sins and restore life. Jesus comes so that we need not worry about the rapidly changing world around us. He comes to give us life, hope and peace so that we can change the world.

REV. MATTHEW SORENSON is the pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church. He can be reached at pastor@ stjohnsfarmville.org.