Lutwyche Anglican Church
Rector's Message

RECTOR’S MESSAGE

Rector - Sandra Kjellgren
‘Veni, Creator Spiritus!’ are the first three words of a well known Pentecost hymn by Rabanus Maurus (c.776-856CE). However, I think it is helpful for us to bear in mind that “Come, Creator Spirit!” is not just the first line of a hymn – it is a cry: an exclamation of longing and appeal.


Over the centuries, whenever persecution or death has threatened to overwhelm Christian believers, they have concentrated all their need and all their hope in this cry – for the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ and his Spirit. Amidst the afflictions of our own age, it was quite appropriate for the World Council of Churches to choose “Come, Holy Spirit – Renew the whole Creation: as the theme of its 7th Assembly in our national Capital City, Canberra, in 1991.


The voices heard in Canberra in 1991 revealed unmistakably, the painful face of our day and the meaning of this appeal is still urgently with us. “Come, Creator Spirit!” remains our petition just as strongly today.


The Christian Scriptures proclaim a Risen Lord - inseparable from the One who sent him, the One he knew intimately and tenderly as “Abba”, “Father”. And they proclaim a Risen Lord given to us for one reason – to pour out among us through his life, death and resurrection – the healing love and communion of the Holy Spirit so that we realise that the ultimate paradox of Christianity is precisely because Jesus IS at its centre, Christian faith is not simply nor even finally, about Jesus alone – but about the Triune God whom Jesus discloses to us as our source, our meaning and the extravagant, definitive answer to all of our human longings.


Our faith in God as Holy Trinity is rooted in our concrete human history and experience. First of all, in the paschal event - the human experience of Jesus in his life, death, resurrection, ascension and Pentecost. Secondly, upon the Christian community’s actual experience of the triune God in the past and finally upon our own experience in the present.


Our own experience of God’s presence and activity in our lives today is inextricably linked with the foundational experience of the first Christians, with the Apostles’ and disciples’ witness to the healing and liberating power of the Risen Lord and his Spirit in their lives and communities. Our faith in the triune God is therefore a life-giving, future-oriented convergence of our own experience with that of the first Christians whose experience founds our own.
The apostles and disciples spoke of what they actually had experienced in their own lives. They spoke of the love which had radically changed them and impelled them to preach, and drawing others to open themselves to the Risen Lord and the healing power of his Spirit!


In turn, their love and proclamation inspired in still others, a conversion which turned their lives literally upside down. Here was a whole new way to live – not enslaved and bitter and alone – but as persons in relationship – growing in freedom and love in the midst of a community who cherished them as equals.


In the family of the Risen Lord, made new by the power of His Spirit, believers came to know their own identity as daughters and sons of the one Jesus called “Abba”. This most tender Father was also Mother to them, a God whose love overturned all patterns of domination and manipulation. Here in this community of the Risen Lord, there was a belonging as equals, bound together in relationships of mutuality and reciprocity. Here they learned to love in a way that in turn healed and freed others. Through experiencing the Christian community’s love, they gradually began to recognize God as active in their own lives in inseparable and yet distinct ways.


Jesus of Nazareth sacrificed his own life for all people and now they know his own tender “Abba” as their own. They also experienced the power of Jesus’ Spirit as the very bond of their own communion with God and one another, making their lives a new creation.
In contrast to so many times when the disciples had resisted their own healing, when in fear and self-protection they had uttered an inner “NO!” in response to the offer of love, they experienced now a living “YES!” within themselves to the freedom and wholeness offered in the life of the Risen Lord. This inner “YES” drew them with such strength and freedom that it could only be the Spirit of Jesus binding them together.


The ancient Christian benediction “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Cor. 13.13) indicates that in the Spirit, God enters into relationship with women and men: that divine life is communicated to us, and God participates in our human life. What therefore comes into being in the Spirit of life is nothing less than fellowship with Godself. God is involved IN us, God responds TO us and we respond to God.


Out of the positive experiences of love, of life, we put together the picture of hope for the new creation of all things. That is why we hope for the ‘divine righteousness and justice’ which will drive injustice and violence from the face of the earth. Out of hope for eternal life, love for this vulnerable and mortal life, is born afresh. We are invited to realise that love founded on hope is the strongest medicine against the spreading sickness of resignation.


Wherever there is genuine love, there is the Spirit of Love, transforming, sanctifying, giving hope, as only love can do. For all love is the gift of Divine Love. People remark on how much sin there is in the world despite all the talk about a God of love. However, sin has its own power. And the remarkable thing is that love endures in the world even in the midst of so much sin. Love continues to touch peoples’ lives and transforms them – Christians see this is a sign of the Spirit’s presence. We know from our human experience that those who are in love “shine”. The tenderness that is within them radiates as light from their faces. This external manifestation of the love hidden in the heart especially marks those who live completely surrendered to the Spirit of Love. We cannot see the Holy Spirit with our physical eyes, yet the Spirit’s radiance within us cannot help shining on our faces.


The Holy Spirit does for us – what we cannot do for ourselves: confirms, completes and strengthen us in holiness. The Spirit’s presence assists us to become fully mature as human persons and it is the Spirit who brings us into the presence of Christ. It is the Spirit who enables us to confess that Christ is Lord! The Spirit reminds us of Christ’s teaching and the Spirit inspires us in the name of Christ.


So, as Christians we continue to sing “Veni, Creator Spiritus!” aware that already the world is being sanctified by the Spirit’s presence. As Christians we are conscious that the Spirit of Love is at work in the world, sanctifying the world by sanctifying people and building human community by enabling people to love. We are aware that it is only love that can give us insight into the things of God and therefore into the needs of a full humanity.


May the grace and peace of the Lord be with you


Sandra Kjellgren
RECTOR