Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Holy Spirit: The Comforter, the Teacher

“But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.” (John 14:26)

You need the Holy Spirit. Whether you are going for first term holidays or sitting university exams, even when you are in public service or in private business, or you are looking for a job, or you are about to retire, you need the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus knew that along the path of life you would sometimes suffer from loneliness, discouragement,
helplessness, weakness or fear, guilt or accusations, pain, and even loss! He – the Holy Spirit – is the Standby, the Strengthener, the Helper, the Advocate, the Intercessor, the Consoler, the Comforter. These seven words unveil the meaning of the Greek word
‘paraklétos’ used the verse John 14:26 to describe who the Holy Spirit is to those who call upon him.

In that desperate moment, smoking will not help, no beer will raise you high enough, not even your boyfriend. Wine represents those temporal things from which we seek gladness; but the Apostle Paul has rightly advised well aware of its limitations: ‘do not get drunk with wine, … but be filled with the Spirit’ (Eph 5:18). Talk of the limitations of earthly sources and a good example is the lion: its strength is acclaimed in the jungle and in the Bible; it is bold, the mightiest among beasts. The dangerous wrath of a king is compared to a
growling lion; ‘the lion has roared, who will not fear?’ But you need strength more reliable than that of a lion, for it has its weak points in plenty. In fact one filled with the Holy Spirit is so much stronger than the lion: Samson killed it; David also killed it; Daniel did not fear it.

One more function of the Holy Spirit: He is the Teacher. All believers need to grow in the knowledge, understanding and wisdom of God and His operations. Over and above the
numerous opportunities of the Sunday morning Sermon, Bible Studies and Fellowships, the Holy Spirit is active when you are in your private meditation and He is the ever present Teacher. Ignorance, knowingly or unknowingly, can be the cause of many shades of
suffering.

None should perish for lack of vision or knowledge; call on the Holy Spirit. Don’t freeze in loneliness, He is the warm Standby to cheer you up; don’t sink too deep in
discouragement, He is the reliable Strengthener and Helper; even when you are lost for words before surrounding enemies or accusing fingers, call upon Him – He is the capable Advocate and Intercessor; He will plead your case to success before the ultimate Judge. Do you need the Holy Spirit? Jesus not only promised a benevolent supply from ‘your heavenly Father’ to those who ask, but also prayed for his disciples to receive the Holy Spirit.

God bless you as you remain in His presence!

Christ is alive;remember

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them,saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”(Luke 22:19)

Jesus Christ is risen. He is alive! The resurrection is such a high note at which to end the Holy Week. It is a point of victory and eternal hope; it is a point of restoration and revival, and reason to really rejoice and celebrate. This historical event was well documented by both believers and secular historians; one of the latter category is Flavius Josephus who wrote:

“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold
these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.” (Josephus, Antiquities 18.3.3)

Over time the tendency to forget is human, and this is followed by doubts especially sowed by those with intentions to destabilize our faith. So, how can we remember the wonderful story? How can we remember and get the most of the benefits of the Lord’s sacrificial death and victorious resurrection? The Lord gave us a feast – the Holy Eucharist to always bring us to remembrance; the Church also chose to worship on Sundays – the resurrection day to always commemorate and celebrate this turning point of human history. At the time of Josephus’ writing (in the last quarter of the 1st century) Christians were there and increasing in number, and so it is today 20 centuries later. One important part of the vehicle that has carried this faith across the timeline has been the system of remembrance.

The resurrection is not the only important event that demands remembrance across generations. The Almighty God commanded remembrance by way of feasts such as the Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. This year we have the opportunity as Kampala Diocese to lead the remembrance of the Uganda Martyrs on 03rd June. Without this
discipline and culture, the roots of our faith are weakened. Let us vigilantly participate in these ‘cultural’ activities and as we ask questions and receive answers, we grow in our faith. The ultimate benefit will be when we will not need feasts to remember, but we will be with our Lord Jesus Christ in our eternal Home. He is alive and forever He will be, and so we have the same hope. As we celebrate regularly at the Holy Communion, that hope is renewed and praises should never be absent from our lips. Hallelujah,
Christ is alive! God bless you with the blessing of renewed hope.

Hosanna: Children singing…

But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the
children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant (Matt 21:15).

Palm Sunday is traditionally observed to mark the day when Jesus entered Jerusalem in spectacular fashion riding on a colt. He was coming like many others to celebrate the
annual Feast of Passover; but what was special about this event? First, his popularity among the masses had gone really high although the authorities wanted him arrested;
Jesus was therefore no longer common in public gatherings, but this time round, he came openly and in the manner prophesied for the coming of the Messiah – “Rejoice greatly… Behold, your king is coming to you… humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zech 9:9). The masses among whom Jesus was popular could not hold back their rejoicing.

This would be Jesus’ last celebration of the Passover while on earth, and this forms the second reason why this Entry was a special one. In the week following, Jesus did
tremendous ministry and transformed forever the meaning of that feast. During the
Passion Week, we will gather daily to learn and share from those final moments of our Saviour. But for this reflection, let us walk with Jesus in the Temple courts; he started by cleansing by harshly sending away business operators, then he preached and taught, and finally prayed for many people who received healings. Now he was walking around and children took their opportunity to praise him with the great Hosanna song that pointed to him as Messiah.

What would be your reaction if you hear that someone sat and passed an interview for your job yet you are still serving? For a president of a nation, a coup d’etat in the offing is like a man invading your bedroom to sleep with your wife. Any man would fight to the last drop of blood to keep away such an adversary. Was that the feeling of the chief priests and scribes that grew indignant about the Lord Jesus? Oh, what a shame – the very people who should have led the praise chorus were instead angry at children singing the right song to the right Man. We need the grace of God to know when to cling to a position and when to give it up to someone who will advance the cause better.

Back to the children, they sang happily and genuinely. I suppose they had learnt the song from parents and teachers, as well as the congregation that sang the song at the feasts. It is a challenge for us to watch what our children are learning; they learn a lot by imitation, and sometimes we have been embarrassed when we find them singing the wrong or vulgar song! To increase exposure of our children to what we want them to learn is the only sure way they will grow as desired. Let us today learn from the example of those children and sing ‘Hosanna’ – it is both praise and recognition that the Lord saves.

God bless you all.