Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Reading My Great-Grandfather's Work

Today, my new Bauer-Danker Greek Lexicon came in the mail. It may seem a silly thing to be excited over, but I've been looking forward to this all semester.

I have added this reference book to my shelf, right next to my great-grandfather's copy of Young's Concordance (22nd edition). This concordance was given to me when I left for college; my great-grandfather, a United Methodist minister, frequently used the book in writing his sermons. While tidying up my office space and reorganizing my library the other day, I noticed a few loose pages sticking out of the top of the big book, and pulled them out. They turned out to be pages of a sermon (or some other piece of exegetical writing) that my great-grandfather worked on nearly forty years ago.

I did not know my great-grandfather very well. He died when I was very young, after suffering a series of strokes and slipping grumpily into dementia. However, the stories I have heard about him have led me to believe that he was a well-respected man, beloved by his community. As I progress with my seminary education, I find myself piecing together the life and education of my great-grandfather, and I'd like to think that in some ways, I take after him.

My great-grandfather's class photo from Eden Theological Seminary,
class of 1953. His is the fourth photo from the left on the bottom row.
Below is a word-for-word transcription of my great-grandfather's handwriting, including all mistakes. My editorial remarks are in brackets. I do not agree with everything he wrote, such as his use of masculine pronouns to refer to the Holy Spirit, or the assertion that the "best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself." The manuscript is obviously not complete, and I do not know where the rest of the sermon could be. But it is one of the few remnants I have of the only other member of my family to ever attend seminary, to enter into a community of faith and minister to everyday people trying to make sense of their lives. If I am anything like he once was, my great-grandfather wrestled with the Spirit all his life, discovering new questions such as the one which he writes about here. 

And so by cherishing this scrap of writing, I am appreciating my great-grandfather's memory.

The Spirit of Promise
[by Roger L. Connelly]

Scripture Reading: Luke 24:44-53 (Verse 49)

          One of the terms used in the New Testament for the H.S. [Holy Spirit] is "the Spirit of Promise". This term is implied in our text when Jesus said, "And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high."
          Why has the H.S. been called "the Spirit of Promise"? The most obvious answer is because He [sic] was promised. And while that may be a simple answer, the substantiation of that answer by showing where in Holy Scripture He [sic] was promised is not so simple.
I have asked a number of people where was the Holy Spirit promised by God the Father as Jesus informed when He said "...I send the promise of my Father upon you..." I also checked my concordance, but to no avail, and I referred to the cross-reference Bibles that I have, but with the same result. There just must not be a specific scripture which says in so many words that God promised the H.S.
          The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself, so I decided to try to answer this question by the Bible itself.
          So, to begin, I turned to the fulfilment [sic] of the Promise in Acts 2: where the H.S. was given to the disciples on the Day of Pentecost.
          When Peter stood up to preach his sermon of explanation of what had happened, he began by saying, "But this is that which was spoken by the Prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy." (Acts 2:16-18) Also Joel 2:28, 29).
          When John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, baptizing, he explained his presence and work by saying of himself (Matt. 3:3) "For this is he that was spoken by the prophet Esias, (Isaiah) 40:3) saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."

No comments:

Post a Comment