A Look from Brook

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I’ve been praying and thinking about spirit these days.   What does it mean?  I don’t know if you have felt it, but some places, some events, some moments… just have a certain spirit about them!  At the Democratic convention this week, the spirit of the convention completely changed when Michelle Obama spoke.  Before it was one of division and anger, after there was a “uniting spirit” that began to be at work in that room.  We sing a hymn about the spirit that goes, “There’s a sweet, sweet spirit in this place, and I know that it’s the spirit of the Lord…”  I believe in that spirit!  But sometimes it’s hard to define and catch, isn’t it? I mean we can program, plan, implement, and go to workshops until the cows come home, but if the Spirit doesn’t enter it all goes for naught. 

 I have a retired pastor friend who used to call the spirit, “this mumbo jumbo magic that just happens sometimes in a church and the only thing you can do is when it happens get on your surf board and ride it!” He didn’t believe in many of the “church renewal” programs we often tried.  I used to hate this definition, because it just leaves too much up to “chance”!   And yet there is a certain kernel of truth in it!  Here’s what I believe…that churches can’t manufacture “spirit” alone…it’s an inner-action between God and each of us.  We need to do our part, but we also need to be willing to “go with it” when God’s Spirit starts calling us.

There’s a reason that “wind” is often used in describing God’s spirit!  I’ve never been on a hot air balloon, but I’ve spotted for a team or two and let me tell you it can be pretty frustrating and exciting!  The wind is a fickle thing.  Sometimes it just picks you up and takes you away, and other times you wait and wait and wait and you never get off the ground.  One thing is almost always certain…you will not land where YOU want to land! To be in a balloon is to let go of control.

That, for me, is the beauty and the frustration in working with the Spirit.  There are two keys to catching the spirit.  First, is to be listening and ready to jump aboard with it when it comes.  And second, know this…if you try to control it too much…it will leave the building in a hurry! We need to be prepared to go places we have never been gone before! 

Are you scared yet…I am!   Are you excited yet…I am!

May the “spirit of the living God” take us to places we’ve never been before,  

Your “hot-aired” friend, Brook

Tim Schaaf