To welcome the Spirit, we must slow down…and listen…and notice…and wait. Seems near impossible in our fast paced-control crazy-everything must be planned kind of lives we live. But God is always present. Always available, ready to be made known among his people. And so the making room for his Spirit requires a commitment to break from these cultural tendencies that shape our habits and dictate our days.
There’s a gap between the physical and spiritual, and the coming together of both our worlds must be bridged by our desire for it, our availability to it. There are things we can do that communicate an openness and readiness for God, for his intentions.
This holy act is the physical being bridged with the spiritual. A heart confessing, a body immersing – all to welcome God’s Spirit to manifest in a physical life. We do this as a way of acknowledging God’s presence and calling on our life. We do this as a way of receiving him into us. It’s an act of hospitality between a person and their God – Come. You are welcome here. Dwell in me.
Connor and Lydia Jane were baptized in the Nile River during our trip to Uganda this summer. A sweet moment intentionally experienced in the environment where Connor realized his sinfulness and where our family discovered grace. Their openness to God working in and through them as they struggle in their flesh and spirit on this earth — it pleases my soul!
I think also of worship, and how it’s an act of hospitality, of welcoming God. Our family worships in homes with the dearest people you’ll ever meet. They are passionate about Jesus, faithful to community and committed to the world around them. They are authentic. Their grace is expressed, their encouragement genuine, and their discernment truth based. We find great joy in our Sundays, and I’m learning through our communal worship how to be hospitable to God’s Spirit, how to welcome the living, active God into our gathered moment.
As a church, we are committed to intentional communal practices that create within us an inviting posture. And through these practices, we’ve become witnesses of God’s Spirit interceding and shaping our time together.
We expect. We gather together expecting God to meet us. To speak to us. To compel us to share. To prompt us to pray. And he does. Every week.
We don’t plan. No one prepares a sermon. No one organizes the worship. We simply come together as believing people of God to share a time of worship and oneness, asking God to enter into every moment we are together.
We share. We are vulnerable and honest. We invite each other to celebrate in our victories, and enter into our frustrations, sadness or struggles. The learning and growing happens in our sharing as we relate to each other, appreciate our differences, find comfort in our similarities, and are challenged by one another’s example.
We all participate. Not everyone, every week. But at any given time during any one of our gatherings, any person present can bring a word or prayer or song. Children lay hands of prayer on adults. Men confess their weaknesses. The lips of women enlighten and challenge, and are heard. Families reveal callings. Couples expose struggles.
We pray. With each other. For each other. Over each other. There is continual and spontaneous prayer spoken throughout our time together. For healing, encouragement, discernment and praise – we seek the Father asking that he be made known among us.
We feast. On the body of Christ, in the blood that washes us clean. We gather around God’s table to commune as whole families, as a community. And our feasting continues with a meal and fellowship that lasts for hours. And we laugh and play. And we continue to share. And we ask more details. And we schedule to follow up with each other. And we leave feeling satisfied, full of God’s Spirit, witnessed and experienced through the body of Christ. (communion bread recipe shared below)
This isn’t a model. Or the right way. It’s simply what we do as a community to welcome God into our midst, into our worship. To show him that we desire his presence. To experience him together. And it is good.
When you host a person or family in your home, you make room for them. You invite them in, give them space, allow for their presence, sacrifice your own rhythm, change your plans — all for the sake of the other. To accommodate and welcome.
How might we do this for the living Spirit of God? How might we make room for the very breath that gives life to our bones and assurance for our tomorrow?
Find ways to be hospitable to God’s Spirit. Before you coffee…wait. As you exercise….listen. When you’re running your errands….watch. When you finally take a moment’s break…..be silent. When you feel frustration rising….pray. When you want to tune out with TV….dwell in the Word. When you are awaken earlier than you planned…..wonder why.
Communion Bread Recipe
1 Cup Flour
3 TBS Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
1/3 cup butter
2 TBS milk
Mix all the ingredients together and form the dough (which will be a tad dry) into a flat round shape about 1.5 inches thick. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. It will slightly brown on top.