God’s Spirit Poured Out
By Art Smith, Council of Twelve Apostles
“In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. …Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” —Acts 2:17, 21 NRSV
I recently sat in a fascinatingly diverse circle of people. I’ve come to expect a strong expression of the Holy Spirit where human diversity is most clear. Is the Holy Spirit there to break down the barriers of language, class, or culture that might separate us from one another? Is the Holy Spirit the glue that binds diverse, unlikely communities of people together as one?
We shared together for a weekend of learning and spiritual growth in a picturesque retreat center atop a New Mexico mountain. The retreat planner was an astrophysicist who works on that mountain. He controlled a big telescope that people from all over the world used for their research on the heavens. Another retreat attendee was a mathematician. He worked in a laboratory on projects designing satellite sensors. He also taught the primary Sunday school class for his congregation. Another person was a retired rocket scientist. Over the weekend, stories of his Cold War adventures fascinated me. He also spoke of his days dedicated to kids at a special-needs camp the church had managed.
Still others were schoolteachers. Two were band directors. One was a farmer. There was a man who had worked in the oil fields. A lesbian was there with her partner, who originally was from Paris, France. A man came with his adult son who, at a glance, one might have thought was disabled. In fact, he was teeming with facts and information about any topic that people mentioned.
The people gathered had been through various trials in their lives. But we sat together in a circle for the closing worship service. We were the most unlikely of communities. What did we have in common? That day, it was the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer for Peace
God, who comes to us in wind and rain, we see you in candle flame and sun. We see you in faces of those we meet. We know you in Jesus Christ. Thank you.
Spiritual Practice: Many Names of God
In many languages, God’s name contains the sound Ahh, a sound we make when we are breathing out or sighing. Our prayer will use the Ahh names for God with a gentle arm movement that opens us to God’s presence. Begin with hands in front of you at chest level and move them up and in a large arc or circle as you breathe out each name for God. You may speak the name of God or find a musical note to hold or chant as you sing God’s name. Pray or sing each name several times as you call on the God of many names: Yahweh, Adonai, Jehovah, Yeshua, Sophia, Allah, Alpha, Omega, Abba. Say or sing Amen to close.
Today, God, I will meet someone and say, “How are you?” and with my eyes I will say, “I love you.”