Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Guest Preacher

Sunday, a student. Relative of the pastor. The senior pastor’s recent son in law. Seminary student. Speaks. Ahhh. It was lovely. Outside, the sun was up. Water trickling into the drains. The snow banks and ice dams shrinking. And inside. Holy Spirit sweetness. Holy Spirit numinousness. Holy Spirit intimacy.

Spoke about our identity. God’s identity. Jesus’s identity. About relationship. About love.

About how Satan—the pretender, the deceiver, the liar—convinces Adam and Eve that they can be like God, if only they would disobey God. That God isn’t who they think he is, and they aren’t who they think they are. They are capable—and rightly so!—of being like God himself. In their knowledge and in their beings capable of taking on a Godly demeanor.

Said how we are the adoptive children of God. How Jesus is God’s Word to us. How God in his nature—his triune nature—is relational. How we are made to be relational. How we know God through Jesus. Jesus, who is God’s final Word to us. Sacrificial. Loving. Forgiving. Full of kindness and grace. Serving. Healing.

How our identity is in our relation to God. How our identity is not essentially in the familial, work, and socio-economic roles we perform. Our many or few accomplishments. Rather it is in our childish role in relation to our father God. Our simple adoration of him. Our simple impulse to follow him. Gather around him. Be with him. Converse with him.

And of course this is so. Is what I’m thinking. Of course we need reminding. We need to be brought back to this. This simple understanding. This profoundly simple way of being. Led away from our troubles, our concerns, our worries, our plans, our habits, our obsessions, our tangential ramifications. And be brought again before God. Again before Jesus. To be in his presence. His splendid presence.

And this is of course what worship is for. To be brought back into intimacy with God. To be brought back individually and corporately into a heightened awareness of his presence. His hovering over us. His hovering in us. His presence all through us and among us.

And this is what is called for. Is what I’m thinking. What I’m feeling. This is what God calls his ministers and pastors and priests to do for his people.

To remind us. To call us. To lead us gently into the Holy of Holies together. To bring us into God’s holy presence together. To help us discern God’s presence among us.

To help us open ourselves to the Most High. The Lord of Lords. The Alpha and the Omega. The Author of all things. The Creator. Love himself. To help us kneel before him and experience the overwhelming blessing of his love and his healing and his peace.

To help us open our hearts to God. Open our hearts to his Holy Spirit. And encourage us to make our hearts hospitable. Make our hearts commodious. Make our hearts welcoming homes. Make our hearts like the hearts of little children who don’t know any better. Who don’t know any better than to ask the Holy Spirit to live in their hearts always.

And as I’m listening to this young man and allowing his words to penetrate down into my heart. As I am meditating on his words. And as they are resonating within me. As they resound like the words of a William Blake poem in my heart. Like several of his Songs of Innocence in my heart.

As this young man speaks to us of these things. I am hopeful. I am delighted. And at peace.

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