Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
What do we believe of the Holy Spirit? The Spirit gathers us and guides His church to all truth. The Spirit enlightens the mind of each of us to receive saving faith. But, the Spirit works by means.
Many people seek direct experience of the divine presence. They want to experience God's revelation without means. But, the Scriptures say that no one can see the face of God without means and live. In our epistle (2 Corinthians 3: 4-11), St. Paul speaks of the story of Moses and the old covenant. God was present on Mount Sinai in thunder and lightning. Only Moses was allowed to climb the mountain. Everyone else, even the animals, could not climb the mountain on pain of death. And even Moses, on the top of the mountain, could not see the face of God directly. He asked to do so, and the Lord told him, cover your eyes and when I pass, you can see my back. Just for seeing the back of God, Moses' face shone and the people were scared. Moses had to cover his face with a veil, because it reflected the glory of God.
And Paul says thus, “And if the ministry of death written and engraved in stones was glorious, so much so that the children of Israel could not fix their eyes on the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory would be done away with, how will the ministry of the spirit not be more glorious? ” The moral law does not save us, on the contrary, it condemns us, so it is the ministry of death. The gospel of Jesus Christ brings us the promise of eternal life. Therefore, how more intense is the glory of God in Jesus Christ than the glory reflected in the face of Moses. Those who saw the glory of God in Jesus Christ were first Peter, John and James on the Mount of Transfiguration. Then, Paul himself on the road to Damascus. And they all fell on the ground and covered their heads. Because the glory of God, even the gospel of God in Jesus Christ, is too much for sinful men.
In the beginning Adam and Eve walked each evening with God in a visible way. But, when they disobeyed God, they hid, because they couldn't face God face to face. Then, God cast them out of their presence and since that day none of us can see God face to face because of our sinful nature.
Sometimes the impact of the presence of sin in our world is expressed in physical disabilities. These diseases are not punishments for current sins, but the consequences of original sin. But, more than this, we are all blind and spiritually deaf, we don't have the ability to experience God's presence directly.
Therefore, Jesus dealt with man in our text for today in that way. “And again leaving the region of Tyre and Sidon, he came into the Sea of Galilee, along the coast of Decapolis. And they brought him to one who was deaf and a stutterer, and begged him to put his hand on him. And taking him apart from the crowd, he put his fingers in his ears, and spitting, touched his tongue; and raising his eyes to heaven, he groaned, and said: Ephata; that is: Be open. And immediately his ears were opened, and the binding of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke well. ”
The Lord communicated with this man in the only possible way. He touched his ears and his tongue. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, the ears were opened and the tongue was loosed.
The Lord deals with us, the spiritually blind and deaf, in a way that we can understand. By human reason, the unconverted man can understand something of God. The universe in its immensity, diversity and harmony points to the Creator, the Supreme Being. Where there is a design, there has to be a Designer. But, we cannot see God, we cannot hear God. And where is the evidence of the love and mercy of that God?
First, in the Holy Scriptures. In the written Word and inspired by the Holy Spirit, we can know Jesus, who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for us. We have the testimony of the prophets and apostles, who directly experienced God's presence on earth and paid a price. In addition, in the sacraments, the Holy Spirit touches us and calls us by name, although we are deaf, dumb and blind.
A sacrament is the Word of God linked with a visible element. In the holy baptism, the Holy Spirit touches us with water. Water is only simple water, but linked to the Word of God has the power of salvation. At the sacrament, the Holy Spirit touches us with bread and wine, but with bread and wine we receive the body and blood of the Lord.
We are spiritual creatures, but also creatures of the five senses. Because we have lost the spiritual sense that Adam and Eve had in the garden, the five senses are the limits of our understanding. However, God deals with us as with the blind and deaf. He has ordered visible elements in his means of grace.This is our spirituality, the spirituality of the means that the Holy Spirit has sanctified. There is a spiritual world around us, which many times we cannot see. Many of the spirits are holy to us. In the beginning God created angels, spiritual beings without bodies. Now there are holy angels who serve God, but also the rebel spirits, the devil and his angels. Because of these evil spirits, it is dangerous to seek communication with the spiritual world outside the means of grace.
The spirits of the dead are also with God at rest until the day of the meeting of the body and soul in the resurrection. They did not communicate with us. All will be gathered in the resurrection according to the will of God. Our spirituality is the spirituality of body and soul.
God created Adam from the dust of the earth and breathed the spiritual life into his nostrils. But, this spiritual life was turned into spiritual death. Through baptism, the Holy Spirit creates in us a spiritual life again, and we live this spiritual life in our bodies. In addition, God offers us spiritual nourishment with bread and wine. For us, spirituality is for us not to belittle the body, food or marriage. On the contrary, it is to celebrate all the blessings of God until the resurrection.
And the means of grace prepare us for life after the resurrection, when we will be in the direct presence of God forever. In this, we have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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