On today’s Tuesday Tea-ology, we continue to contemplate the holiness of God: the Holy One calls a holy people to Himself. How wondrous is the holy-love of God!
Fit our hearts, Lord, for remembrance of your wondrous atonement and the glories of your resurrection. You are the Giver, and you are the Gift. Holy Spirit, fill us in ever greater measure, so that we overflow with the love and goodness of the Most High. Prepare and Sanctify us to be true worshippers of the one true and Triune God.
God of all kindness, look mercifully upon us. You are strong! Carry us, in your almighty strength. When we are tempted, teach us to lift our eyes to the cross, to remember your unflagging endurance and your invincible love. Shield us from doubt, sin, and all things that stand opposed to your holiness and the worship that is your due—Amen.
Spirit of all grace, Spirit of salvation and life, sanctify my soul in your perfect peace. Spirit of promise, work in me the fulfillment of the promises, and lift my eyes by day and by night to the blessed hill of Calvary. Spirit of holy-love, put in me love of holiness and of the Holy One, who for me walked the path to Calvary. Holy Spirit, let your hand of mercy rest on me tonight—Amen
You who cleansed the temple, cleanse the temple of my heart today. Drive out every wicked and unworthy desire, and let songs of praise rise to you from the very depths of my soul. I was created a vessel of adoration and prayer, but greed and vanity threaten to make my heart a den of thieves. Sanctify me, Lord of light; fill me, Spirit of holiness, and may your temple resound with worship, to your glory—Amen.
O sacred Mystery,
God wonderful, God thrice-holy,
Unmeasured by infinity,
One God in Persons three,
Distinction in unity,
Come sanctify me,
God most mighty, God most free,
Shape me to your glory,
Collect me, Holiness in Heaven,
from my scattered ruminations,
weary wishes and weakly-faced
temptations; gather me up, profoundly
graced with shalom sweet
and strange wholeness of Heaven;
begin anew this broken work,
speak light against the fading day,
and over my misshapen way, Spirit
of holiness, descend, each
shattered piece to mend.
One of the performers of the disgraceful Super Bowl half-time show has recently been in the news responding to critics. Her response was not, of course, apologetic; this is not the sort of thing that one is expected to apologize for in mainstream American culture. Instead, she defended her behavior, and referred to criticism as “silliness.”
So goes the blithe dismissiveness for those who would object to the objectification of women.
As expected, defense of the performance was based on feminism and appeal to culture: “a celebration of women and our Latino culture.” Further, we should trust their character: “Both of us are really respectful performers.” Respectful of what?
But the most interesting statement was this: “that small fraction of people who want to be negative about it, I can’t even let in.”
I think what she means is that she won’t let these critics and their criticism–framed as negativity–into her mind and heart. She won’t let them impact her perception of herself and what she has done.
That is one of the mantras of the (post)modern pop-therapeutic mindset. Keep negativity out. Be yourself, and don’t let others’ judgment impact you. Well, sometimes this is the right attitude; but other times it’s not. And, in this case, what is being kept out is, at least in part, the conviction of sin.
We cannot be made whole if we do not let conviction in. If we close the door against conviction of sin, we close the door against repentance–and ultimately against God’s saving work in our lives. It is a terrible and tragic thing to resist the Holy Spirit. This takes discernment, for there are all kinds of messages floating in this world, many of which we must reject. But we must not reject the message of righteousness, repentance, and healing.
We must let God in.
The new life in Christ has ethical ramifications. Being born again means that you should cast off certain behaviors and earnestly seek God’s righteousness. This is the two-faceted exhortation which begins 1 Peter 2.
On the one hand, those who have been given new and everlasting life by the word of God must, “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind” (1 Pet. 2:1). Like other NT ‘vice lists’ this is a representative group, not exhaustive–that is, the apostle surely would want believers to throw off greed and lust as well, though he doesn’t mention them. It is also a list that focuses more on the attitudes of the heart than on the external actions that emerge from these attitudes. And it is a list of sins that particularly would disrupt the brotherly love that Peter has called for Christians to show one another.
But Christian ethics isn’t just about what you cast off; it’s also about what you take on. “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good” (vv.2-3). The sinful attitudes of the heart are to be replaced with the goodness of God, with His Word and the spiritual growth brought by the Spirit. Peter is not suggesting here that the believers he’s writing to are immature, but he’s using the image of the new birth to urge believers to seek spiritual growth as earnestly as babies crave the milk that helps them grow.
All of this is predicated upon the work of God in the life of the Christian. God is good, the source of all goodness and life. You have tasted God’s goodness; let that taste drive you to more and more fulness in Him.