When I pull into my driveway, I am welcomed by glorious flowers. Yellows, reds, purples, all the colours of the rainbow shimmer in the summer sun. I smile and relax. “Thank you, God, for the gift of your presence here in my home,” I whisper.
When I step through the doorway at our Dunsford church, I am greeted by God’s Holy Spirit, pouring out from the eyes, smiles and hugs of individuals in the congregation. Even on weekdays, when the building is empty, the echoes of their love enfold me as soon as I enter. “Thank you, God,” I whisper. “Thank you God for the gift of your presence here in this, your house of prayer.”
Last month, I was blessed with the privilege of gathering for worship at two Christian Conferences, one for writers and one for the wider church. Both times, my heart lifted in the presence of God’s Spirit that emanated from hundreds of others.
No wonder we lament our shrinking congregations. We speak of needing members to fill the pews, do the work and give the money. Those are real needs, yes, but more than anything, we yearn for the feeding of the Spirit that comes with numbers. Each one of us brings God’s Spirit with us everywhere we go. When we gather together, in God’s name, God’s Spirit rises up and overflows among us. Why are we missed when we stay home on Sunday mornings? Our bit of God’s Spirit is missing.
It’s easy to forget that others need us to share our gift of God’s Spirit. We focus on criticism, judgment, sadness, and we horde God’s gift of Spirit. When we do, we diminish ourselves, others and God. Next time you join with a gathering of Christians, intentionally invite God’s Holy Spirit to well up within you and flow out to others. Give God thanks for sharing the Holy Spirit through you.
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)