Thursday, June 4, 2015

Bishop’s Note: June 4, 2015 The Gifts of the Holy Spirit - Wisdom

Bishop Eric Menees

Last Sunday we celebrated the Feast of the Holy Trinity. Thus, in our Church Calendar, this week marks “Ordinary Time,” until the First Sunday of Advent on November 29th. Depending on which prayer book you follow, we also refer to this as the Season of Pentecost for those following the 79 BCP, or the Season of Trinity for those following the 28 BCP. During Ordinary time the emphasis throughout the lectionary is on Mission and Ministry. It seems appropriate to me then that my Bishop’s Notes for this season focus on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are poured out upon us for furthering mission and ministry.

Determining exactly what the gifts of the Holy Spirit are is not as simple as one might imagine.  Scripture lists these gifts in several places – Isaiah, Acts, Romans, and Corinthians, just to name a few.  However, this series in the Bishop’s Note will focus on what I consider the foundational gifts and simply say that the gifts of the Holy Spirit, like the Holy Spirit Himself, are limitless.

What might be referred to as “Foundational gifts” are those that the Prophet Isaiah speaks of: “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:1-3a ESV) The seven foundational gifts are: Wisdom, Understanding, Might (fortitude), Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord.

These gifts are freely given by God the Holy Spirit and are provided to the believer so that we may fulfill the purpose of our lives, which is to Love and Serve the Lord.  

The first of the gifts Isaiah speaks of is Wisdom.  Wisdom is the ability to understand, in our inner being, God’s desire for the world.  This often comes as a knowledge that we are unable to articulate but is often described as, “I know that I know that I know…” that God is the creator and author of all life, or that Jesus died for my sins.  It is this wisdom that allows us to step forward in Faith.

The gift of Wisdom empowers us for ministry in a world that too often considers itself “wise,” but whose wisdom is based on the self.  The Wisdom that comes from God is wisdom based on God Himself, and it goes beyond our own feeble minds and is used for God’s glory, not our own.

“O God, you are the author and source everything that ever was or is now and ever will be.  We pray you to pour down upon us, your servants, the gift of Wisdom.  Open our hearts and minds to view the world through the lens of your heart and mind that we may honor and glorify you. We ask this in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. Amen”

Catechism Questions 118 - 120

118.    What is confirmation?
After making a mature commitment to my baptismal covenant with God, I receive the laying on of the bishop’s hands with prayer. (Acts 8:14-17; 19:6)

119.    What grace does God give you in confirmation?
In confirmation, God strengthens the work of the Holy Spirit in me for his daily increase in my Christian life and ministry. (Acts 8:14-17; 19:6)

120.    What is absolution?

After repenting and confessing my sins to God in the presence of a priest, the priest declares God’s forgiveness to me with authority given by God. (John 20:22-23; James 5:15-16)

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