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Was there ever a time when “poet” was a legitimate job description? Maybe, centuries ago, you could get a gig as a court poet, or have a de Medici support you as a contribution to the arts. Sadly, today, the de Medicis among us have very little use for poetry. It is a gift, but not a commodity. And spiritual poetry, alas, with its propensity to probe and question, comfort yet cause unease, is relegated to the bottom of the artistic heap. This can disheartening, yet I can’t stop an intense desire to live within the world of words (however imperfectly I receive them) that God supplies so temptingly and freely.
I ask for tongues of fire:
Underneath there is heat,
to melt me to the bone.
If I could bury myself in poetry,
I might burn righteously,
pure as glass, pious as
a Lutheran steeple.
But poetry is no place to live,
even for church mice.
No one subsists on words,
even if they roll off the tongue
like buttered toffee.
I must be content
to live in the world of man.
Secretly, however, I burn.
On Sunday, Pastor Carol spoke about what the Celts call thin places, spots where the wall between our world and the spiritual world is thin, and sometimes, if conditions are just right, you get a glimpse of that other world. Then she gave us a challenge.
Be thin places between God and the people around you.
How can a person be a place? Read on.
In the Bible, we read about Moses speaking to God and, afterwards, glowing with the Holy Spirit. Moses was a thin place bringing a touch of the Spirit to his followers.
Where and when are you most likely to encounter the Spirit? Often, when I gain a sense of the Holy, it is through some piece of music. Whether I am singing in the choir or simply listening, sometimes I feel a shiver and goose bumps run up my arms. Something rare and amazing has happened and I have been touched.
When this happens, I’m never inclined to do is turn my back on the Spirit and head out into the world and all its problems. But what if that is what I’m meant to do?
Musing over Pastor Carol’s words, I wonder. Maybe I am meant to take this electrifying moment out into the world. Maybe these is the times I am most able to act as a thin place and allow those around me a glimpse at the Holy Spirit.