The Holy Spirit:
The Bridge to God within You
August 23, 2009
Frank Picone, Lay Speaker
Montgomery United Methodist Church
The topic and title of my sermon today is “The Holy Spirit-The Bridge to God within You.” The Holy Spirit as part of the Holy Trinity has always been a bit of a mystery to me. The Father and Son I get, but what is the Holy Spirit? Today’s gospel helped me think about the Holy Spirit in a different way.
Jesus is talking to a crowd of followers that included the apostles. Jesus had very recently given his powerful sermon on the mount and performed the miracle of turning the five loaves of bread and two fish into enough food to feed over 5000 people. The crowd was excited and looking for more miracles, but this day, instead of miracles, they heard something they had a hard time understanding.
In this passage Jesus begins by saying, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so who ever eats me will live because of me.” What does it mean when Jesus tells the crowd that they have to eat his flesh and drink his blood? Jesus goes on to say, “This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”
Jesus is saying something very important but very hard to understand and accept. First, he is telling us that the way to know God and to experience eternal life is to completely commit, digest and connect with his teaching and his example. He is telling people who live in very difficult times to completely commit to their spiritual development and thus to the Father. He is telling them and us today, “I am the way.” He is saying that God’s spirit is in him and his words are spirit and life. “It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is useless. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”
So how does this help us understand what the Holy Spirit is and why the Holy Spirit is the bridge to God within you? In this passage Jesus is telling his followers to focus on their spiritual lives and not so much on the day-to-day trials and tribulations. He is saying, “Take in all that I say. Digest it completely, be in communion with my words and spirit and you will become one with God’s Holy Spirit.” This Holy Spirit he wants you to embrace will help you transcend your fears, your worries, your suffering, and your earthly death. The spirit of Jesus is the spirit of God, so if we accept Jesus as God and embrace his spirit as our own then we are as connected to God as we can be. This Holy Spirit both reflects and is the essence of God. It is inside us and there to help us be who God wants us to be. Discover the Holy Spirit within you and around you and you have a bridge to God’s mind, his plan, his guidance for us in this life and all eternal life.
I believe that God places his Holy Spirit in each of us so that we will always know that we are safe, we are loved and we are whole. It is the voice of God instilled within and the ever-present reminder to God’s children of the truth of who and what they are and the love the Father has for us. The spirit will guide us through this life to peace and truth and love.
If the Holy Spirit is God’s mind within us and who we truly are, then why aren’t we constantly benefitting from the love, peace, truth, and wisdom of this Holy Spirit from within? I believe the purity and truth of the Holy Spirit within is constantly competing for our attention and focus with matters of the flesh. I believe we hunger for the life of the spirit world in a world driven by materialism: physical and emotional safety, having our basic needs met, dealing with loneliness, fear, money, health issues, and loss. For some of us, the truth and light of the Holy Spirit within is buried under all of this world’s fear, suffering, and worry. For these people the Holy Spirit within is a faint and distant voice being drowned out by the world and its demands. For others they seek to discover the Holy Spirit within and experience the comfort and love it brings. Where is our focus these days? How well do we know the Holy Spirit of God within and around us? How do we discover and embrace the Holy Spirit within and walk to bridge to God?
First, fully embrace Jesus as God personified. He came into this world to show us God’s spirit and God’s love and to teach us about a different life than the brief one here on earth, an eternal life in the Holy Spirit. Feed your spirit on his words, his teaching and his example. As you study his words and his life, you are awakening the Holy Spirit within you. Amazing peace can be yours if you study Jesus’ life, message and spirit. Eat it up. When you consume the bread and the wine, pray for the Holy Spirit within you to help make this symbol of communion with God a true commitment to melding your and God’s spirit into one.
Second, look for the Holy Spirit in you. Look for the Holy Spirit in others. Share your experience of the Holy Spirit with others, family, friends, and strangers. The Holy Spirit is the true you as God has created you to be.
Third, remember that God knows how hard this life on earth is and what you are struggling with every day. The Holy Spirit is the true voice of God within you, and when you embrace the Holy Spirit the love you need is there. The peace you search for is there. The truth you long for is there.
In today’s gospel reading Jesus is talking about eternal life. He is talking about being one with God. He is talking about the bridge to God that is the Holy Spirit, and the spirit enables us to know God, love God, and be with God eternally.
© 2009 Frank Picone