Formed for Faithfulness: The Week of Pentecost

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Show Notes

In this week of Pentecost, Case reflects on Romans 8 and how artists can use their talents to reflect the image of God and participate in God’s redemptive work in the world.

Nuance’s Formed for Formation is a weekly liturgy to encourage all of us to be faithful to Christ in the public square. Join Case Thorp as he follows the Church calendar through the reading of Scripture, prayer, and short reflections on faith in all facets of public life.

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Episode Transcript

In this singular week of Pentecost, we focus on the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts chapter 2 and the birth of the Church. Pentecost, all too short of a season, just one week, emphasizes the power we are given as Christ followers for service in the Church and the world. Pentecost comes from the Greek word for fifty, from the phrase fiftieth day.

In some traditions, it is called Whitsunday, White Sunday, perhaps owing to the white garments of those baptized on this Sunday in ages past. Most of all, may we be inspired to live in the Holy Spirit’s power and not our own.

A reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter eight. 

12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

As artists, individuals are often intimately acquainted with the tension between the desires of the flesh and the call of the spirit. They feel the pull of their earthly desires, fame, recognition, success. Yet they are also drawn to a deeper, more profound calling to create beauty that reflects the image of their creator and to participate in the redemptive work of God in the world.

In Romans 8, 12-17, the Apostle Paul speaks directly to this tension. He reminds us that as followers of Christ, we are no longer slaves to our earthly desires. Instead, we are adopted into God’s family, filled with His Holy Spirit, and given the privilege of calling the Creator of the universe our Father. This truth has profound implications for artists.

It means that they are no longer defined by the standards of the world or enslaved to the pursuit of worldly success. Instead, they are free to create from a place of deep intimacy with their heavenly father, guided by his Holy Spirit and motivated by his love. But this freedom does not exempt artists from the reality of suffering.

Paul acknowledges that they may experience suffering as they follow Christ, but he assures them that this suffering is not in vain. Rather, it is a necessary part of their journey toward glorification with Christ. Artists may experience rejection, failure, and doubt. They may face criticism from others or wrestle with their own insecurities.

Yet in the midst of these challenges, they can take comfort in the knowledge that they are not alone. The same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells within them, empowering them to overcome every obstacle and reminding them of their identity as beloved children of God. So let artists embrace their identity as children of God and allow His Holy Spirit to guide and inspire them in their creative endeavors. May they cultivate a spirit of humility and gratitude, recognizing that their talents are gifts from the Heavenly Father, meant to be used for His glory and the flourishing of His kingdom. And may they find comfort and strength in the knowledge that they are deeply loved and cherished by the One who created them in His image.

A reading from Lamentations chapter 3, 22-33.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;

it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke
    while he is young.

Let him sit alone in silence,
    for the Lord has laid it on him.

Let him bury his face in the dust—
    there may yet be hope.

Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
    and let him be filled with disgrace.

For no one is cast off
    by the Lord forever.

Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
    so great is his unfailing love.

For he does not willingly bring affliction
    or grief to anyone.

A Prayer of St. Augustine of Hippo. 

Oh Lord, the house of my soul is narrow. Enlarge it that you may enter in. It is ruinous. Oh, repair it. It displeases your sight. I confess it. I know. But who shall cleanse it? To whom shall I cry? But to you. Cleanse me from my secret faults, O Lord, and spare your servant from strange sins.

The 14th Psalm for the director of music of David. 

The fool says in his heart,
    “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
    there is no one who does good.

The Lord looks down from heaven
    on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
    any who seek God.

All have turned away, all have become corrupt;
    there is no one who does good,
    not even one.

Do all these evildoers know nothing?

They devour my people as though eating bread;
    they never call on the Lord.

But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
    for God is present in the company of the righteous.

You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,
    but the Lord is their refuge.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
    When the Lord restores his people,
    let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!