Monday: Psalm 7-8; Joel 2.28-32; John 3.22-36

From: Ashley Gray

Today in Joel, we read this promise from God: “I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit.” Water is the immediate metaphor: the fathomless ocean or a roaring waterfall are sources of immense life and power, and the comparison prompts us to consider how God gives of himself with that same limitless, unceasing character. But (maybe it’s just me?) these images are perhaps too familiar and have lost their punch. How else can we think about—and be moved by—the lavishness of God’s love for us?

In John, we are told that “he gives the Spirit without measure,” which, in conjunction with the passage from Joel, reinforced to me that God gives to a degree that borders on heedlessness. His is a generosity that breaks the rules that we inevitably want to impose regarding what is necessary or deserved or appropriate. I thought of someone upending an entire bag of flour onto the counter. If there’s one thing bakers have a soapbox about, it’s the necessity of measuring flour. Imagine that instead of breaking out the scale or carefully spooning into and leveling off a measuring cup, WHOOSH, the whole bag gets dumped. This is God’s lavish love for us through the giving of his Spirit: it’s startlingly extravagant, and it disregards established conditions. He doesn’t dispense the Spirit with a tablespoon, and he doesn’t extend his promise just to certain members of a specific nation or generation or rank or sex or profession. His promise is for everyone. It’s expansive (to steal the adjective from a recent sermon by Chris Dodds) and it’s transformative—not because of who we are, but because of who God is, endlessly pouring himself out for us. 

I pray we can all experience that as a reality this Lent.  

I’m a Midwest girl who fell hard for Boston about four years ago. I work in archives for classical music organizations and like to bake to bribe people into being friends with me.