It had been a rich Sabbath morning. The first hour—before we settled into looking at God’s words to us in the Bible—was spent in mourning the loss only days before of one of our number. We knew the end neared for our friend and so news of her death came as no surprise and yet as a shock. (Death always shocks because it is a reminder that we were created and redeemed for life.) With tears we remembered our friend’s joy, endurance, grace and strength. We were reminded of the ancient words of comfort: Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant… Receive her into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light.
Many of us moved on from the small classroom so recently anointed with God’s presence and our tears to the church sanctuary where preparations had been made for worship in song, prayer, preaching and celebration of The Lord’s Supper. The Table was laid with white cloth, baskets of bread, goblets of the vine’s nectar.
But my heart experienced a jolt as we began to sing:
Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me…
Holy Spirit, you are welcome here.
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere.
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by your Presence, Lord.
Really? Melt me, God? Mold me? Flood this place? Overcome me? What might happen if you actually answered this prayer song? To be ruthlessly honest, I’m only expecting the ordinary to happen this morning. I’ll be inspired by Nate’s preaching, encouraged by fellowship, moved by friends and strangers coming forward to dip bread into wine.
But to expect the extraordinary scares me just a little. If you flooded this place—flooded me—what happened to that first circle of believers in Jerusalem might just happen to me. I might be considered odd (drunk!) with the power of your Spirit. I might lose the right to my own possessions as I willingly share everything with others. So many people might respond to the good news that my comfortable circle of Christian friends will be invaded by the unwashed, unholy, uninitiated. I prefer pictures of your Spirit as a dove rather than as fire.
It’s just a little safer, a little less disrupting to expect only the ordinary.