Welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner.
My friend, may I ask you a question today? When you and I pray in the name of Jesus what is the Holy Spirit’s role? Is he like a switchboard operator from days gone by, always ready to put us through but not before the right connection is made?
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day.
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I grew up in a day when many of the phone calls we made were made through operators. If you wanted to speak to a neighbor or someone close by within your “call” area, you would pick up the phone, hear a few clicks as the operator at a switchboard activated the circuit and connected you to your call destination. However, if you were making a long distance number, you picked up the receiver and waited until the operator at the switchboard answered. She would then answer with the words: “May I help you?” At this point the caller announced the intention to place a long-distance call. “I’m calling long distance.” “Number please.” “Calling Forest 8-3425.” The operator would ask for a town or city. You’d give her the information and she would say, “I’ll connect you.” A few more clicks and your call was placed. Unlike these days, making a phone call was an act of building a connection through an operator and a switchboard. If that switchboard went down or the operator was busy, you might not be able to place the call at all. Connecting was prompted and directed by an operator. Without her ability to connect you manually, there was little you could do.
When you and I pray in the name of Jesus what is the Holy Spirit’s role? Is he like that switchboard operator, always ready to put us through but not before he’s made the right connection?
Here’s a thought from James Packer. “I remember walking to church one winter evening to preach on the words, ‘He will glorify me’ (John 16:14), seeing the building floodlit as I turned a corner, and realizing that this was exactly the illustration my message needed. When floodlighting is well done, the floodlights are placed so that you do not see them; in fact, you are not supposed to see where the light is coming from; what you are meant to see is just the building on which the floodlights are trained. The intended effect is to make it visible when otherwise it would not be seen for the darkness, and to maximize its dignity by throwing all its details into relief so that you can see it properly. This perfectly illustrated the Spirit’s new covenant role. He is, so to speak, the hidden floodlight shining on the Savior.” ( James Packer, Your Father Loves You, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986.)
In John 11:41, Jesus states: “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.” Jesus had an open line to the Father, unlike his disciples who, prior to receiving the Holy Spirit of God, did not. God was a long-distance call requiring an operator to switch it over to the Father. As an operator cleared a line so that I could make a long-distance call years ago, so the Holy Spirit on Pentecost did so for them and does so for us by transmitting the image of Christ, spot-lighting him, directly to the Father. He recognizes his Son and picks up every time. We’re connected by grace. As Packard indicated, this is the Holy Spirit’s covenant role with us. Every call we make to heaven passes through the Holy Spirit, glorifies the Son of God, and pleases the Father. This is our communications team. We call, announce our destination; the Holy Spirit connects us, and the Father picks up. No long-distance charge to pay, by the way. It’s free and the switchboard is never down.
We pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for makeing it possible by your Holy Spirit to communicate directly with you all despite the gulf of this earthly life that puts you in a very, long distance place. Forgive us, Lord, when we ever doubt that you hear our prayers or we fill our lives with trivialities that reduce a place for the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Help us to keep the prayer lines open and clear by calling on your indwelling Spirit daily. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day.
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