Sunday, May 27, 2012

when it's time to wake up

"The Holy Spirit comes to wake us up," Bishop Andy Doyle, says this morning in church.  We are celebrating Pentecost Sunday, the arrival of the Holy Spirit, our Advocate.

He says this sentence after talking about the movie, The Matrix.  Neo makes the choice to take the red pill, committing himself to experience life for what it truly entails, forsaking the ignorant bliss of his current worldview.  Just as the red pill opened his senses to a new reality, so can the Holy Spirit do this for us, he explains.

Without the Holy Spirit, we come to grow comfortable in our brick-walled selves, happy to display our symmetrically stacked lives to all whom we may encounter.  We put forth a vision of what we think will enable us to be loved and welcomed, treasured and revered.  And as we work hard to conceal that which is less than perfect, we acknowledge that many fellow human beings are constructing their own facades at the same time.  We don't wish to mar their own optical illusions, just as we don't want our own mysteries to be revealed.

"I'm pretty good at doing church.  But I'm pretty bad at being church," he says later on in his sermon. I immediately start comparing myself to him.  If he struggles so much with this, how much more would I?  But the thought, I immediately dismiss because this is part what he is speaking about -- the comparisons to each other that we have no business  making-- that keep us from really loving and serving each other.

It easy to plaster on the smile.  It's easy to say that perhaps "now is not the appropriate time" to tell someone what is really going on, how we are really hurting or struggling or drowning.  But when we choose to shut the door, turn out the lights, and draw up the covers to our ears, we not only miss out on the opportunity for healing and freedom and friendship, but we deny one another the opportunity to be the church to us.  We take away their opportunity to practice the works and the heart of Christ.

I want to stop asking people the polite "How are you?" when I am unwilling to take the time to listen to an answer that is more than "fine" or "good," or "keepin' on, keepin' on."  And I want to get out of my own headspace so that I am always willing to stop and address the needs of someone, instead of rushing to the next something.  I don't want to think twice about admitting my failures and my defeats and my very own struggles because it might taint this image I try to project and protect.  I want to practice, intentionally, authentic empathy and love and courage.  

And I want to do this by living only on the breath of the Holy Spirit and Her promptings.  I want to be a vessel, allowing Her words to cascade out of my mouth like a gentle waterfall, Her breath to waft into my heart and out of my mouth.

This cannot be done if I have surrounded myself within my four brick walls.  The breath will never make it to the other side.

Linking with Michelle.

12 comments :

  1. Oh, friend, I'm just going to say a simple "YES". Yes, I want to move with the wind of the Spirit, too. I want to be a woman who is full of His breath and dependent upon His grace for her next. I am struck by your line- And I want to get out of my own headspace so that I am always willing to stop and address the needs of someone, instead of rushing to the next something.-- I am guilty, too, of focusing on agenda rather than on people. Sometimes I just want to break free of that list that runs in my brain all day- the list of what I need to do next and where we need to be next... so that I can just tune in to the one question, "WHO am I going to pause and love next?" Praying for us both!

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  2. I echo all Alicia says above... Yes, it is so easy to get caught up in how things are affecting us, not stopping to hear His whisper that gives insight into another's pain... I love your last line. I want to have that thought uppermost too. Came here from Redemptions Beauty and a comment you left on an old post... Thanks for sharing your pastor's message and your heart today! - Pam, Apples of Gold

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  3. The last three years that Dave and I lived in Seattle we truly did life together with another ministry couple that were dear friends. The good, the bad, the ugly. And it was such a joy and we all changed because of that level of honesty. But it takes a lot of time so you cannot have this with lots of people.

    Other times, God uses me to help another in need ... this is ministry.

    I pray, Jen, that you get the desire of your heart here and find genuine relationship.

    (Sorry, got long winded there.)

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  4. Oh, Jen, we all need to want to be a vessel of the Holy Spirit, and it's hard sometimes as humans to accept that calling. I'm praying for you and for all of us that we'll hear God's whispers and answer the call to minister to others or to serve in some capacity where He needs us.

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  5. Wake me up, Holy Spirit! Fully awake!

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  6. "I want to stop asking people the polite "How are you?" when I am unwilling to take the time to listen to an answer that is more than "fine" or "good," or "keepin' on, keepin' on." And I want to get out of my own headspace so that I am always willing to stop and address the needs of someone, instead of rushing to the next something." How to do this? I want so badly to somehow respond to God first and everything else second. I know the Spirit does that and I know that God put His Spirit in me. It's just not near enough to the top. Nuts. He is edging His way there, though...

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  7. What a fabulous sermon that must have been! I'm going to go concentrate on breaking down some walls of my own :)

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  8. I was excited to see you write about the Holy Spirit for Pentecost. I wrote on it,too (for Wednesday). Kept it light for today! To get past myself and pour into others...this, too, is my desire by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen to your post!

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  9. Love this post and I want to come along with you. To be vessel I must empty myself of my stuff, my attitudes, my to do list so only God Spirit fills my heart. Great reminder this Pentecost!

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  10. Ah, dear friend, this is so living.
    We do a gross injustice to the Body of Christ when we put up walls of fake. I have found that He often ministers to my heart's deep needs, in spite of my pretending, but it is truly a joy to find others who are consciously willing to know and be known. In a world of consummerism and anonymity, it's like a city on a hill.

    Yes, we must BE the church we want to see.

    Thanks for a thoughtful write.

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  11. doing church vs. being church . . . thought-provoking! I've sensed this lack of the Holy Spirit in my life, friend, and this post is solid food for reflection. Thank you.

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  12. This is my prayer every day, Jen--to live by the Spirit. You tell it perfectly here. Joining you in this wild adventure!

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