About 15 years ago, on a three-day silent retreat, I was given the prayer: Come Holy Spirit, and kindle in me the fire of your love! At the time, I didn’t know that this is essentially the first line of a 16th century Martin Luther hymn. All I knew was that the Holy Spirit was stirring a deep longing for more intimacy, more felt relationship, more beyond-myself power. More love.
What strikes me about today's Scripture is the natural and integrated way the Spirit’s presence permeates this story: "The Holy Spirit said… sent on their way by the Holy Spirit… filled with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 13 is some 18 years past the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, and we get the impression that the Church and the apostles are living into this gift of the Spirit, living into Jesus’ promise that his followers would be inhabited, inspirited people.
Last October, at the annual Pastors and Spouses Retreat of the ECCC, speaker Darrell Johnson offered a series of messages titled: Together with Jesus in the Upper Room: How Jesus Prepares Us to Live and Serve Without Him Being Physically Present. He invited us again to sink into the truth that the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, is our Helper, Comforter, Counselor, Advocate. The Spirit is not a distant force or influence, but a Person. And this Person is the manifestation of Emmanuel–God-with-us–given to us to universalize the presence of Jesus, to be with us and in us in all of the mundane and extraordinary experiences of our lives. Wow. Someone has taken up residence in us. How closely we are companioned. How deeply inhabited.
The Holy Spirit loves Jesus, and the passion of the Spirit is that we might see all of life–all of ourselves, our world, our understanding of the nature and character of God–in the light of Jesus Christ.
What’s your relationship with the Holy Spirit like? How are we living into our identity as inspirited people? May we open ourselves again to the fullness of the Spirit’s presence with us and in us, receiving truth and power and love in such abundance it cannot help but overflow in and among and through us.