Preaching: Alexa Brill
Date Presented: Sunday, July 31, 2016
Scripture Reference: Romans 8:22-26, John 14:25-27
Sermon: All My Days: The Holy Spirit
This past fall St. Norbert hired a Protestant Chaplain and added a protestant worship service that is open to all religious backgrounds. The worship service is called Thin Place [which is]: “In Celtic Spirituality, a thin place is an instance in which heaven and earth collide”. I feel so much at home and right with God in this time and place. The music, the message and communion go right for the heart. This “Thin Place” is a place where I really do feel heaven and earth collide because there is no doubt in my mind that God is right there.
Being a part of Thin Place, and being aware of its meanings – I search for it wherever I can and I realized not too long after, that this is and was the Holy Spirit. God brings himself to us on Earth in moments of peace and joy; that moment when we fall in love with him again. It is an overwhelming presence that can bring people to tears, make people move mountains or urge people to grasp for more of that presence – have a stronger craving for God’s spirit.
It is important to note what John says about the Spirit. It is our advocate, or coach and guide to bring us to peace. Even more importantly we need to remember that God is not of this world and what we receive from him is not anything close to what the world gives to us. The Holy Spirit offers comfort with God when we need him near. Finding God is as easy as breathing, but we still find ourselves lost, uneasy and upset that we don’t have this glorified peace, why?
God brings himself to us on Earth in moments of defeat, frustration, and anger; his presence is still overwhelming in a beautiful way that sends a call to action, but now the moments may be a call to action to let go and let God. When the Holy Spirit is present – time is nonexistent and you are reminded that you are not in control. You are not in control. You are not in control. Your breaths and worries become heavier than ever but in a sudden wave, it is gone. Our Romans scripture says that the Spirit will intercede when we are weak and when we are wordless. Maybe that is why the Holy Spirit is in our breath; sometimes we need to be silent and hurting to notice it.
One of my favorite things of any worship service is looking around at others around me: some are content with singing, while others are more still and taking it all in. Some lose themselves in the moment and completely check out of the physical place that they are at; this reminds me of the term “ugly worship” that I first heard on my Youth 2011 trip a few years ago from Fred Lynch. He talked about meeting his wife for the first time in church and feeling like she was ignoring him but really she was lost in Jesus, captured by the spirit. When I see others that are full of the spirit their smiles or tears illustrate a pure happiness that God has comforted them and renewed their strength to carry on.
In the setting of these moments it’s as if God is visible and right beside you. Just as the Holy Spirit can be seen in times of conviction and assurance, it is visible by God acting on the Earth through his children serving and loving one another. The Holy Spirit is used as a mediator between man and God so that Gods acts can be performed on earth. The Holy Spirit can be found in the acts of compassion and service for others. The Holy Spirit is not solely in the acts of doing good, but it is what sets us apart from others who have not found Jesus yet. You can’t get to heaven just by being good; our lives are not based on merit. We believe in the trinity and have a loving relationship with God that provides a whole other source of power and purpose to do good because it is a part of God’s plan.
If doing good is not for Jesus it is for nothing. Without Jesus and without the Holy Spirit in us we would have already given up on each other. The Holy Spirit is a fire in us that encourages and challenges us to be better and recognize those moments when that all powerful presence of God is here. It makes us stop to take a breath in the midst of chaos to remember why and for what we are doing things. We cannot miss God’s message to notice the Holy Spirit. Embrace the presence of God and inhale the Spirit as if it were the day that it was breathed into you. Thanks be to God, Amen.