“Have you asked Jesus into your heart as your personal savior?” Growing up in the Bible Belt, I often heard the question. A question asked by well-meaning people, earnest people. For certain, that question played its part in many a spiritual wakening.
But is it the right question? Are we even offered a question? Are not we, frail creatures that we are, the ones with questions?
As near as I can tell, we have not been given a question, but a proclamation, an item of good news: Jesus is Lord. Certainly Jesus asks questions of his disciples, but he starts his relationship with them with a command: “Follow me.”
And then Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit into the hearts of his disciples. He says it pretty clearly: “…I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – The Spirit of Truth.” (John 14:16-17a
Yes, the Holy Spirit, the forgotten person of the Trinity. The one most associated with wonders and ecstasies. Jesus promises to send that same Holy Spirit to be with you forever.
We feel the coaxing of the Holy Spirit in moments of wonder and awe. We stand before one of God’s works, and we hear the prompt to be still and venerate the Maker.
We are swept along with the power of the Holy Spirit in those times when your actions are yours, but not yours alone. Some call these times “flow” or “in the zone” or even “mystical.” We know that the help comes not from someplace beyond, but from someone within.
The Holy Spirit prods us into self-examination, comforts us in our anguish over our wrongdoings, teaches us words of remorse and penitence, and relieves us of the burdens on our consciences.
The Holy Spirit meets us in that lonely place where we shiver with despair. When we do not know what to pray, the Holy Spirit prays for us. When we weep hot tears, the Holy Spirit captures each one.
How can we summarize the work of the Holy Spirit? Imagine a groundskeeper tending to each blade of grass in a golf course, valuing each for its individuality. Or imagine a marine biologist determined to catalog each fish in every ocean. The Holy Spirit is about the work of growing a kingdom of priests, a nation of saints, a progeny as numerous as the sands on the seashore.
For the month of January, I’ll be focusing on the Holy Spirit at our Wednesday Worship Service and in this blog. I hope you’ll join in and share some of your insights and experiences of the Holy Spirit in the comments.
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