An excerpt from “Sermon starter: the witness of work” written by Paula Bowser, pastor of Trotwood Church of the Brethren, Ohio.
I want to begin with a familiar story. Cinderella is the stuff of royalty, but nobody knows it. She’s the stepsister in the background. She’s in the ash heap cleaning the soot from the hearth. She’s working behind the scenes like a common drudge, and her older sisters either ignore her or treat her like a slave.
But when her fairy godmother comes to visit, everything changes. Cinderella is clothed in fine silks and outfitted like a queen. Her beauty and her worth are finally recognized. And when the prince throws a party, she’s the belle of the ball.
I once heard a famous theologian refer to the Holy Spirit as the Cinderella of the Trinity, and I agree. For most of the Bible, especially in the Gospels, the focus is on the Father and the Son. But as the ministry of Jesus draws to a close, he begins to teach the disciples about the Holy Spirit.
Right before Jesus goes to the cross, he says, “I’m leaving you. Pretty soon you’ll look for me and I won’t be here, because I’m going to the Father.” He then says, quite mysteriously, “But I won’t abandon you like orphans. I’m going to come to you. God will send the Comforter. This is the Advocate, the Counselor, the Paraclete. This is the Holy Ghost, who will guide you into all truth, and help you remember everything I taught you. You’re going to need this, because without me you can do nothing.”
Just before Jesus ascends into heaven he says, “Wait for it. Wait for the promise of God. John baptized with water but you’re going to be baptized by the Spirit. You’re going to receive power when the Holy Spirit falls on you. Then you’ll be my witnesses—starting here in Jerusalem, stretching out to Samaria, and then all the way to the uttermost parts of the earth. But don’t start out on your own. Don’t do anything until it is time.”
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