Although I said I'd return to this topic in early 2004, it's still more like late 2003, so continuing with more about how I sense the Holy Spirit's presence and voice. I'll begin with Nate's asking me last Saturday evening in San Diego if attending Harvard Divinity School had made me more spiritual and more faithful. I replied no, it hadn't—though my life experience definitely had made me more faithful and more spiritual! A while ago on one of the UCC forums when someone asked "What tethers you," I answered with the title of Harold Friedell’s hymn, "Draw us in the Spirit's tether!" ...and by the tethering of the HS I've come this far by faith. This morning during the liturgy at Carrie's church in Tucson we publicly proclaimed the Nicene Creed with its, "We believe in the HS, the Lord, the giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father and the son, Who has spoken by the Prophets..." and then "One, holy, catholic and apostolic Church..." the Church – of course – being the work of the HS:
The work, power and passion of the HS in that prototypical Church that began appearing while God's desert people wandered as the books of Exodus and Numbers document, as the people of God's creation and re-creation received manna from the sky, water from the rock, and healing from the snake lifted up as foreshadows of Jesus' breaking bread and offering the cup of life on the night of betrayal and desertion, and then lifted up on the cross of death on the Friday we now call "Good"; the whole congregation of the people of Israel living and worshiping as a gathered assembly; later during Jesus' earthly ministry; then at his crucifixion, on the day of Pentecost, moving outward from Jerusalem unto the ends of the earth, and in the church's 16th century re-formation and its continuing renewal up through this very day. Again in the words of Luther's explanation of the 3rd article of the [Apostle's] Creed:
I believe I cannot by my own effort
Know Jesus my Savior or come to him
But the HS has called me...
Calls, gathers and enlightens the church...
Those Reformers has it so right: on our own we can do nothing much except become experts at sin and alienation; real living? It's all about the HS; and real life often is about the cleansing, refining and renewing of the desert!