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Do not Take Your Spirit Away from Me

May 21, 2023; Rev. Kurt A. Lantz, Pastor
Christ the King.jpg

Take Not Your Holy Spirit from Me


Rev. Kurt Lantz Easter 7 Psalm 51:1-12

May 21, 2023 Resurrection Lutheran Churh St. Catharines, ON



Dear children anointed in Holy Baptism who know your transgressions,


Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.



The several rites and ceremonies that his majesty King Charles III has observed since he was first proclaimed king, purposefully mirror the ascension and enthronement of our Lord Jesus Christ. Like the relationship of husband and wife in the estate of marriage reveals the mystery of Christ and His bride, the Church, so the enthronement and rule of kings in the estate of governance reveals to us something of the mystery of Jesus Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father to rule over all in His divine and human natures.


The Canadian coverage of the coronation of King Charles that I was watching, was typical of a society that has departed from a knowledge of the Scriptures and the Church (which bases her rites and ceremonies on the promises of God found in the Scriptures). And so, there was a special guest British commentator to try to answer all of the questions that the Canadian hosts had to ask.


At one point the question came up about why there were screens put around the king so that we could not see what was happening at that moment. The British commentator eased into the explanation for the uninitiated, saying that it was for the anointing of the king which possesses aspects both of privacy and of mystery. The privacy due to the fact that the king, being stripped of all of the royal robes, would even bare his chest for the anointing; and the mystery due to the fact that this is the precise moment when the Holy Spirit descends upon the king to empower him for the duties and responsibilities to rule God’s people.


For a public audience with woeful lack of Scriptural knowledge the ceremony was all about the coronation, the moment when the crown was placed on the head of King Charles, but for the Christian audience the most significant rite was the anointing of the Holy Spirit. And the fact that it was screened from view was the only clue that this was a moment of greater grandeur than the placing of the crown upon the head of the king.


Hear the words of the liturgy spoken by the Archbishop at the anointing:

Be your hands anointed with holy oil. Be your breast anointed with holy oil. Be your head anointed with holy oil, as kings, priests, and prophets were anointed.

And as Solomon was anointed king by Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet, so may you be anointed, blessed, and consecrated King over the peoples, whom the Lord your God has given you to rule and govern; in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


And then the prayer:

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who by his Father was anointed with the Oil of gladness above his fellows, by his holy Anointing pour down upon your Head and Heart the blessing of the Holy Spirit, and prosper the works of your Hands: that by the assistance of his heavenly grace you may govern and preserve the People committed to your charge in wealth, peace, and godliness; and after a long and glorious course of ruling a temporal kingdom wisely, justly, and religiously, you may at last be made partaker of an eternal kingdom, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Prophets, priests, and kings were anointed by the command and promise of God so that His Holy Spirit would guide, support, and sustain them in their offices for service to His people. Jesus Himself was anointed with the Holy Spirit at His baptism when the heavens were opened and the Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove and remained upon Him. This marked the start of His public ministry in the holy office as the world’s Redeemer, the culmination of prophets and priests and kings who mysteriously pointed to Him and proclaimed His coming and His service in the faithful exercise of their own offices.


So it is not surprising that when the apostles were gathered in the upper room on the night when Jesus was betrayed into death, He promised that He would send the Holy Spirit upon them to anoint them for their office and service. They would serve God’s people as the official witnesses of the resurrection, the first Martyrs, and as Apostles to guide and uphold the Church during times of persecution and affliction, through the power of the Holy Spirit who would do the same for them.


Jesus said, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness about Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning” (John 15:26-27). Jesus gave them the promise of this anointing by the Holy Spirit because He knew that as the apostles carried out their office to bear witness of His death and resurrection, they would be tempted to fall away because of the persecutions that would assault them. What a wonderful promise to be given, of an anointing by the Holy Spirit for divine protection and power as they fulfilled their callings to be the apostles of Christ to the world.


A thousand years earlier, David was just a shepherd boy when Samuel the prophet anointed him to be the next King of Israel. It was a necessary thing to do even though the current king, Saul, was still in good health and vigour at the time. For Saul had disobeyed the Lord God in his anointed office, by seizing the office of another. Impatient before a battle and not wanting to wait for the prophet Samuel to come and offer sacrifices and prayers on behalf of the nation at war, Saul presumed to do this himself. Because of his disregard for the anointed office of another, the LORD declared that He was removing His Spirit from Saul whom He had anointed as king.


And so, Samuel was sent to the house of Jesse to anoint his youngest, David, who would eventually take the throne after Saul’s death. And even though Saul attempted to kill David several times after this, when David had opportunity to assassinate the godless king, he refused to raise his hand against the LORD’s anointed. What a wonderful promise to be given, of an anointing by the Holy Spirit for divine protection and power to the king, a promise to be treasured and honoured and guarded.


This brings to light some of the words that we prayed in our Psalm for today (51:1-12). The Psalm written by King David after the prophet Nathan confronted him about his acts of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah. David includes in his prayer, “Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me” (v. 11). He had seen the LORD take away the Spirit from Saul, and David knew that because of his sins he did not deserve to retain the gift of the Spirit that he had received at his anointing.


The psalm is the most deeply moving and deeply theological of the penitential prayers recorded in Scripture. David knew his sin and how deeply it stained him, how it soiled him, how it polluted him; and not merely as an external thing easily sloughed off, but as a corruption of his very nature from the moment of his conception. The dirty outward acts he had committed were a bleeding out of the inner iniquity that poisons us all.


He had been able to hide it away from himself and keep it undercover, but not from God who could see his heart. So the LORD sent Nathan to David in order to bring his sin to light, to expose the inner lie, and to bring the secret out in the open where it could be dealt with. The LORD was justified in condemning David, and could not be blamed for judging him to have forfeited the anointing of the Spirit, just as He had done previously with Saul.


But David’s heartfelt prayer for repentance, based on his faith in the LORD who had saved him from raging lions and enemy giants, opened the fountain of the LORD’s grace again to wash and cleanse David from his grievous sins and to restore to him the joy of salvation by the grace of God through faith in His forgiving mercy.


So, one thousand years later Jesus was anointed at His Baptism to be prophet, priest, and king. He did not intrude upon the office of another but fulfilled them all to be the Redeemer of all. He speaks His Word to point out our sin and to point us to our redemption. He offered Himself as the sacrifice to cleanse us from all sin. He is enthroned as King of kings to rule over us by His grace, bestowing His gifts upon us to enable us to carry out the offices He has assigned by His own authority. He continues to keep His promise to send the Helper, the Spirit of truth, to those whom He has chosen to serve His people.


And He has chosen you. As Jesus Himself was anointed with the Holy Spirit at His Baptism to be the world’s Redeemer, so you were anointed at your Baptism to be one redeemed by Christ the crucified. The Holy Spirit was poured out upon you in water and Word so that you might be a child of God, a servant of the heavenly King, anointed to fulfil your office of parent/child, citizen/ruler, employer/employee, preacher/hearer, whatever vocations you have been given. What a wonderful promise that has been given to you: an anointing by the Holy Spirit for divine protection and power to the children of God: prophets, priests, kings, apostles, martyrs, parents, children, preachers, and hearers—a gift to be treasured and honoured and guarded.


We pray for forgiveness in Christ, as David has illustrated for us, and has even given us words to share in our penitent grief. We know our sin, actual and original. We do not want to end up like Saul or Judas, bereft of a heart believing in the gracious redemption of Jesus. David prayed for the renewal of a right spirit; and through the prophet Ezekiel the LORD promised to give a new spirit to the whole house of Israel, so that they would know His forgiveness and be upheld to walk in His commandments, so that they would be His people and He would be their God (Ezekiel 36).


We, too, join their prayer that God would forgive our sins and renew our spirit to find joy in His salvation. We pray that He would not take His Holy Spirit from us, whom He graciously gave to us in Holy Baptism. For we know that, like David and the house of Israel and the apostles who witnessed the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are beset by the roaring lion of Satan, the persecution of a world at enmity with God, and afflicted by our own sinful nature.


The apostle Peter tells us that the end of all things is at hand, and it is time to be self-controlled and sober-minded. Fiery trials will come upon us as those who share in Christ’s sufferings. But we can rejoice that they are proof that the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon us (1 Peter 4). The Spirit testifies to the resurrection and ascension of Jesus and that our redemption is in Him. We will be with Him where He is.



The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

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