The Spirit is with us
After you have listened to the Sermon audio above, take your time to read through the rest of this page. Pause and reflect at your own pace. We can worship at any time and anywhere. Know that others will be joining you...
In general it may be said that it is the special task of the Holy Spirit is to bring things to completion by acting immediately upon and in the creature.
(Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology. p98)
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
Examples of the Spirit's enabling:
...Numbers 11:25, 29
...Judges 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 13:25; 14:6, 19; 15:14
...1 Samuel 10:10; 19:23
Even the boldest flight of man’s imagination does not succeed in reaching the limits of God’s power or in fathoming his nature.
(Artur Weiser, The Old Testament Library: The Psalms, a commentary. p804)
Not one will get away,
...none will escape.
Though they dig down to the depths below,
...from there my hand will take them.
Though they climb up to the heavens above,
...from there I will bring them down.
Though they hide themselves on the top of Carmel,
...there I will hunt them down and seize them.
Though they hide from my eyes at the bottom of the sea,
...there I will command the serpent to bite them.
Though they are driven into exile by their enemies,
...there I will command the sword to slay them
It’s almost as if the psalm is systematically ambiguous, careful to state the facts about God’s having access to us and leaving it neutral whether this access is good news or bad news. It’s almost as if the psalm is daring us to decide. Its technique is an aspect of the way in which the Psalms (and other parts of the Old Testament) are reading us as much as we are reading them, or are driving us to read ourselves.
(John Goldingay, Old Testament for Everyone: Psalms 73-150. p201)
Read Psalm 8.
What circumstances do you think lay behind the writing of this Psalm?
What about God has made the Psalmist joyful?
What in your life might lie behind a song of praise like this?
Have a go at writing your own version of Psalm 8.
If you’re brave enough you could even post it in the comments
You are my God.
Your name is precious to me.
It gives me hope and is the foundation of my joy.
For you are higher
than my imagination can go,
The sheer expanse of the universe,
shows your creative power,
and reflects your awesome majesty.
You are Holy and everything about you,
transcends all we are or could be.
Yet you are close to us all.
You have loved me.
You have welcomed me into your presence.
I am special to you.
And the hands that created the moon and the stars,
they hold me.
You are my God.
Your name is precious to me.
your name is great, and greatly to be praised.
You save us with your outstretched arm,
you hold us in your mighty hand,
your words teach us and encourage us,
you make your face to shine upon us.
Your Spirit nourishes us and gives us life.
Wherever we are you are also,
there is no place where you are not,
nowhere outside the sphere of your power, your love or your grace.
forgive us for the times when
rather than submitting to you in trust and awe,
we try to escape you.
When we feel that our own way is to be preferred
and we doubt your goodness.
Help us to see you for who you are,
that the God who brought us into being,
is a God who is for us,
and the God who is with us.
Help us to know your presence now,
in these times there is so much that we feel
and we bring these things before you now.
We are frightened:
some frightened at work, some frightened to leave the house.
People we know are seriously ill,
People we know have died.
We are frustrated:
We feel boxed up and hemmed in,
We miss times of social interaction and leisure,
We find it difficult to get some of the things we need.
We are worried:
We do not know how long these times will last,
or how the world will look when this is past.
We do not know how the economy will hold up,
or the state our own finances will be in.
We do not know the effect on our children’s education.
We are grateful,
We are privileged to live in a country with support networks and aid,
We are fortunate to be able to live socially distant lives,
and the actions we take are having an effect.
We are glad of technology that helps us to stay in touch with loved ones.
We are grateful for the workers in the NHS
who conscientiously do their job knowing they themselves are at risk.
We are grateful for those who produce food and goods,
those who work in the supply chain,
those who work in supermarkets,
the men and women of the postal service,
and we are grateful for the scientific and medical experts providing the advice to our country’s response.
All these things we lay before you,
Fix our eyes on you,
Take away our fear, worries and frustrations.
We thank you for the health that is ours and for all that you provide.
Bless those who are in essential work,
grant them strength, energy and safety.
In these times,
bring more and more people,
to a knowledge of your goodness, care and love.
In Jesus' name
This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.
Thank you to all who contributed to this page.
Please contact Jonny (JClipston@churchofscotland.org.uk) if you would like to be involved in future weeks.