“No-one can say JESUS IS LORD but by the Holy Spirit”
There is something quite wonderful and compelling about this morning’s readings as difficult and challenging as they may be. They remind us in no uncertain terms of the creedal form of reading the Scriptures, reading the Scriptures through the Creeds. Here we are in the midst of our summer sojournings in the land of the Trinity, as it were, and yet here is something which recalls us at once to the Advent of Christ and to the Passion of Christ; in short, to the creedal principles of our Christian lives. Paul is emphatic. “No one can say JESUS IS LORD, but by the Holy Spirit.” The capitalisation is a form of emphasis.
It is one of the earliest creedal statements from within the Scriptures themselves and which goes to the question of being able to say what is the Faith. It is a Trinitarian statement really, the nucleus of what we proclaim more fully in the great Catholic Creeds of the Church which come out of the Scriptures, out of such words as these, and which return us to the Scriptures within a pattern of understanding.
“Concerning spiritual gifts … I would not have you ignorant,” says St. Paul. “Now there are diversities of gifts…” and he goes on to list them. They are gifts which arise out of this fundamental proclamation, out of what we have been given to say about God by God himself. “No one can say JESUS IS LORD but by the Holy Spirit.”
The diversity of gifts belongs to our life with God in the communion of God, the Trinity. The different gifts are about his grace in our lives. To esteem them is to honour him. This is something communicated to us by the grace of God with us, Jesus Christ, God’s Word and Son. To confess Jesus as Lord acknowledges him as “I am who I am,” as God with us, God in the very flesh of our humanity, God made man. Only so can he be Lord. In Jesus the Old Testament mystery of God’s name, “I am who I am,” is opened to view, explored and explicated in terms of the spiritual relation of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. God’s relation to us radically depends upon his self-relation, upon the communion of God with God in God, the communion of the Trinity. Such is the heart of the Christian religion and the burden of our proclamation in which we are privileged to participate. For if we cannot proclaim with clarity the God of our salvation, then we cannot participate with charity in the divine life opened to us through Christ’s sacrifice.