June 6, 2011

A spiritual kick start

It is often noted that the Church, especially the western Church, has a very weak understanding of the Holy Spirit.  There are many theories as to why, but this morning, as I read the lessons appointed for Pentecost, I'm pretty sure we are light on the Spirit because the Spirit is dangerous.

Think about it.  In the Pentecost story from Acts the Spirit shows up like a mighty wind and tongues of fire. And that's not the scariest part. the worst part (at least for my 21st century, former mainline church ears) is that the apostles and disciples find themselves in the streets, speaking in foreign tongues, preaching the good news of Jesus.  If we are honest, that sort of behavior frightens probably 98+% of us.

Or take Paul's treatise on spiritual gifts. The things the Spirit calls us to: healing, prophecy, giving, etc. are scary. They require us to leave the comfort of our holy huddle. They might make us look strange before others. They could get us in trouble with the powers that be.

And what about John's Pentecost? "As the Father sent me, so I am sending you"? Jesus' being sent put him on a cross. His life was one of nearly constant hardship. "The Son of Man has no where to lay his head."

Trying to live into the teachings of Jesus is hard enough. When you add in the supernatural stuff of the Spirit, things get downright dangerous, but in the end, you can't have faith in the triune God without all three persons being represented in your life. We ignore the Spirit to our own detriment. Worse, we ignore the Spirit to the detriment of God and the Gospel.  This is dangerous stuff we're dealing with, but Jesus never promised it'd be easy.

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