When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22)
Looking for Inspiration
Writers and artists and composers talk about inspiration. They mean a range of things by that word, but it’s a safe bet to assume that they have in mind a kind of spark or energy that animates their work and adds passion and enthusiasm to their own lives.
We all want to be inspired in what we are doing, to have a creative energy and an excitement and a cheerful urgency motivating our life. And that is exactly what following Jesus Christ, I mean really following him, looks like.
Maybe this comes as a surprise, especially to those who usually keep their distance from Christians. But maybe it sounds foreign to some of you, too.
For some people, Christianity looks more like moral drudgery than inspired living. Let’s face it, some Christians spend an awful lot of time telling others how bad they are and how mad God is about that. They spend so much time stirring up fear of hell that they have precious little energy left for anything that sounds remotely like Good News.
And even some Christians name guilt, not inspiration, the most persistent legacy of their Christian upbringing. They always feel as if they simply can’t measure up, and they believe in their gut that measuring up is the Christian message.
Following your moral compass is a result of following Jesus, but you can be as moral as the day is long and still not be following Jesus. Being righteous is not the source of inspiration.
Having a personal relationship with Jesus is the source of our inspiration. And that is just what the story of Jesus appearing to the disciples in that locked room teaches us.
This is part one of a sermon preached on April 15 (2 Easter), 2012, at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Shreveport. You can access the audio of this sermon at this link. Part Two follows in the next post.