Monday, September 12, 2011
Yes, Yes We Do
If the activity of the Spirit is not "spiritual" (in the Gnostic sense of invisible, immaterial, and disembodied), then we are experiencing the Spirit whenever we are working along with God and seeking his Kingdom and righteousness. The work of the Spirit is everywhere present: in soup kitchens, hospitals, schools, community centers, mission and social work and, of course, in the Church itself.I really like what Roberts says here, but I would come at it from precisely the other angle. He discusses how we ignore the Holy Spirit. My experience is to the contrary that we focus on Him too much and find Him only in the miraculous when we should be finding Him in the more ordinary expressions Roberts lays forth.
The Spirit creates a unity in diversity, a presence of the new and different, a transformation of our selves in community, a re-direction of mission and conviction. The fruits of the Spirit include love, joy, peace, and faithfulness, but they also result in communities of people and coalitions of churches who are satisfied with nothing less than righteousness and justice and who prophetically advocate for the oppressed and for the "least of these." In short, the work of the Spirit leads to God-intoxicated, kingdom-inspired people.
Trinitarian theology tells us that where any one of the three persons is working, they all are. So where the Spirit is, there is Jesus, and where Jesus is, there is the Father.
It does seem like we never get the Holy Spirit right. We either ignore or over-focus. We either demand miracles of Him or refuse to see them when they happen right in front of our eyes.
I don't think the reason is theological - I think it is fear - I think it is the fact that the Holy Spirit is God's agent of change in our lives right here and right now. We do want to be saved, but we do not want to change. We twist our theology and our experience of the Holy Spirit to avoid the change - We appropriate Christ because He brings salvation, but that whole change thing....
I mean it's easy to understand this point about those that keep the Spirit at bay, but those that insist on miraculous expressions of the Spirit do also. Miracles are isolated events - we can wonder and ohh and ahhh, but they do ask us to be different people in the everyday drudgery of existence - they remove us, albeit temporarily, from that.
Would that we would open ourselves up to the Spirit in the ordinary, for there is where we can becomes the people God created us to be.