Clear as a Bell


This week we have arrived at the sixth footprint of the Holy Spirit. It is worth recounting the features of the first five. The first is about God’s promise to send the Spirit. The second is waiting upon (asking in prayer) for the gift. The third is recognizing that the gift is poured out on the community before filling each individual. The fourth is the aid of the Spirit in overcoming communication barriers. And the fifth is the boldness the Holy Spirit enables in our witness.

The sixth footprint is on how the Holy Spirit helps us to hone in on Christ’s crucifixion and our complicity in this innocent death. On the day of Pentecost Peter boldly proclaimed to the men of Israel that the man they had crucified, God had raised him up from the dead.

Peter’s proclamation was a clear as a bell. In simple statements he punctuates the salient factors. Jesus was attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders. This Jesus was delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God. It is this one you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. This very one God raised up from the dead.

An interesting reversal takes place on this day. Peter becomes fearless. And the hearers become fearful. We shall see with the upcoming eighth footprint how those who are full of fear will be “cut to the heart” and how this will have a salutary effect in Christ’s mission to redeem sinners.

But suffice it to say that the Holy Spirit brings clarity to our witness. He helps us to hone in on Jesus. And whether our message is lengthy or brief, and whether we share much or little of Jesus’ itinerary while walking on earth, the focal point of the witness is his innocent death at the hands of sinners, and his third day resurrection. This is the crux of how our Lord has won our salvation.

Since You Asked…

What is an Alb? And why does our Pastor wear one?

Alb (from the Latin “white”): a white ankle-length vestment with sleeves, often gathered at the waist with a cincture, worn by all ranks of ministers, ordained and unordained. The classical tunic became a specific church vestment about the fifth century. One of the functions of an ordained minister in our tradition is for that person to represent Christ to the people. Christ is pictured in the Book of Revelation with a white robe. The white robe is also a symbol of his righteousness. For this reason, the alb is a proper covering for the presiding minister with the function of representing Christ to the people. (from “Manual on the Liturgy” companion to the LBW, from Augsburg Pub.)