God, the Sticky Handed One: LCMS Catechesis
Wow, my friend William Weedon has been asked to be “Chief Catechist” at The LCMS’ International Center and every week comes over to lead a special chapel service aimed at catechesis for the entire IC staff, at least those who attend the daily chapel services. They are receiving treasures from my good friend. I am incredibly encouraged to think that the our friends at the IC are receiving this kind of catechesis. Perhaps Pastor Weedon’s work will be shared with the rest of the Church when he is finished. Good stuff, is an understatement. See if you don’t agree.
Here is the catechesis he delivered today.
On the third article. TSP regularly has a fund-raiser in the fall in which the Magazine rep puts money in a circle on the floor and the children are given “sticky hands” and they are allowed for a set time to pick up the money with the sticky hand and whatever they can get in that time, they keep. Sticky hand. Meet the Holy Spirit! He’s the sticky hand of God!
The Father sends the Son, and the Son sends the Spirit, and the Spirit grabs hold of you and brings you to the Son, who will at the last day present you to the Father.
You, rather like the money, are not active in this process: the Spirit works faith in you – it comes solely as gift, and you contribute to this faith not the least little thing. Here is a key difference between Rome and the Lutherans.
What does the Holy Spirit use to grab hold of you and bring you to Jesus, which is just another way of saying: to give you faith? He uses the Gospel. As we heard in the Scripture reading (John 16), the Spirit glorifies Jesus. He does so by taking of Jesus’ and declaring it to you. That doesn’t mean just telling you ABOUT what belongs to Jesus; that means He reveals what belongs to Jesus as YOURS. All that the Lord Jesus has He wants to give to you. His Father to be your Father. His home to be your home. His LIFE to be your life. St. Paul said it so well in 1 Cor. 12: “We have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God that we may know the things freely given to us by God!”
A “spirit” that wants to talk to you about something other than Jesus, isn’t the Spirit of God! Remember how St. John could write: “the testimony of Jesus IS the Spirit of prophesy!”
And spirit-wrought faith is not something He creates in you once and then He’s done. It is a gift He wishes to constantly give into you by that Gospel. He drapes you in the promises as often as you hear the Gospel in Absolution or the Sacrament or remember your Baptism, and these promises constantly impart and strengthen and sustain faith. Faith is never something we come up with on our own – it is not like He gets it going and then WE have to keep it going. Rather, it comes always as His gracious gift through the Word.
So, yes, the Holy Spirit is the sticky hand of God – bringing you constantly to Jesus, as He glorifies Him and extols all that is YOURS in Him and so constantly pours into you and strengthens in you the gift of faith. And there’s always more of Jesus for you to receive, to believe, to marvel at and glorify.
“I believe that I cannot (note, not that I COULD not, but that I CANNOT) by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him, but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified AND KEPT ME in the true faith….”