To Our Advantage
Shortly before His death, resurrection and ascension to heaven Jesus said to His disciples, “It is to your advantage that I go away.” ( St. John 16:7) To the disciples such a statement must have been very mysterious. How could anything be more advantageous than the actual physical presence of Christ?
The advantage that Christ spoke of was the coming of the Holy Spirit which was to happen on the Day of Pentecost. What are the advantages of the sending of the Holy Spirit?
First, there is the advantage of the Spirit's continuous presence with us. Prior to Pentecost we read of individuals being filled with the Spirit, usually for a specific task. For instance, we read of Gideon that, “The Spirit of the Lord took possession…” of him that he might deliver Israel . Following Pentecost every Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit. St. Paul reminded the believers, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?” (I Cor. 6:19) This is how Jesus fulfills His promise that He would never leave us or forsake us. We are actually temples of the Spirit.
There is also the advantage of power for service. At the Ascension Jesus told His disciples, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) As soon as they received the Holy Spirit they began to witness for Christ and His Gospel. Even fearful Peter began to preach as the Spirit gave him courage and ability. The Holy Spirit gives us all that we need to serve Christ. Every Christian is gifted and empowered by the Spirit.
Thirdly, there is the advantage of having the Spirit as our Comforter and Counselor. Jesus said, “I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know Him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” ( St. John 14;16,17) The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth who grants us understanding of God's Word and guides us in our decisions. He is certainly the supreme counselor. And as we travel through this troublesome world the Spirit gives us peace of mind and encouragement in dark times. Jesus promised, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” ( St. John 14:27) Jesus fulfills this promise by giving us the Holy Spirit.
Yes, it is to our advantage that Jesus ascended to the Father. For now we have the Holy Spirit with us continuously as we live in this fallen world.
by Rev. F.M. Levi
The Wednesday evening Lenten Soup Suppers and Evening Prayer services were well attended this year. We thank those who prepared the soup and salad for each week.
As in the past the ladies had work days at the church on the Tuesdays during Lent. Thank you to Sue Horosinski who organized it and all the women who volunteered their time to help.
At this writing we are planning to begin airing a thirty minute TV program on channel 62 in Chicago on May 6. The program may be seen at 8:30 a.m. Thursday mornings. Do be in prayer for this outreach ministry.
Easter Sunday began with a breakfast in the Parish Hall prepared by the Women's Guild. We thank the ladies for this. Following breakfast a group of preschool and Sunday School children sang songs and had recitations in the chapel. The chapel was adorned with beautiful lilies provided by members of the congregation in honor or in memory of loved ones. The service of Holy Communion was very meaningful as we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Easter Sunday is always a high point in the Church Year and in our individual spiritual lives.
We welcome The Rev. Deacon Craig Smith, his wife Barbara, and daughter Michaela to our fellowship. Rev. Smith has been elected to serve as Curate here at St. Andrew's. His duties will be in the area of evangelism and church growth. Our long term goal is the creation of more Reformed Episcopal parishes in the Chicago area. Do be in prayer for Deacon Smith and his family as they begin a new chapter in their life and ministry.
Missionary of The Month
Greg & Helena Wright, their children Geneva and Timothy. Arab World Ministries, P.O. Box 96 , Upper Darby , PA 19082