Weekly Devotional

June 21, 2017

by Pat Boston


If you missed last weeks devotional or want to re-read one from the past go to the Devotional Archives page.

A couple of weeks ago at SACC, we entered the sanctuary finding it filled with banners in red, orange, yellow, and blue, signaling the beginning of Pentecost, the Christian observance of the 50th day after the Sabbath of Passover Week, or the seventh Sunday after Easter. Those banners represent the little flames of fire commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles, an act which, according to 2 Corinthians 3:17-4:2, gives us “...unencumbered and unrestricted access into God’s holy Presence.”

I grew up sometimes envious of those who claimed to have been touched by the Holy Spirit and therefore could call themselves “Christian.” Somehow, as a result of infant baptism and in simply referring to myself as Christian, not ever really questioning whether I was one, I missed the supposed uncontainable joy of that moment of earthly experienced salvation, like Paul being struck from his horse by the lightning bolt of recognition that he had a ‘personal’ savior in Jesus Christ. Holy-roller friends knew they were Christian, perhaps from a revival somewhere during which they were so smitten with the spiritual emotion and the Holy Spirit that they proudly declared they had “found Jesus”. Baptist friends felt the Spirit move them at least once in high school, and my singular Catholic friend in our small Bible Belt Texas town smugly claimed in the sixth grade that she would have it upon Confirmation. And to this day, I am occasionally questioned by the newly converted or traveling neighborhood evangelist as to whether I have been saved, have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal savior, or have an invisible friend. In other words, has the Holy Spirit entered me.

As I said initially, “...sometimes envious,” because in those early years I felt I had somehow missed the Holy Spirit, since I had experienced no exuberance, no unrestrained joy, no real recognition of coming to faith or commitment to Jesus. My spiritual development had, instead, been more plodding, developed in a spiritual pingpong game of Yes, I believe, Help me believe, Why can’t I believe like others, and so forth, over decades of my life.

And now, at this present state of growth, I’m more inclined to accept that the Holy Spirit has always been with me...was literally breathed into me with my first intake of breath at birth. For just a bit, take an etymological sidebar with me:

Spirit, from the Latin--an animating or vital principal held to give life to physical organisms; that is, breath. As in the many word forms such as:

• inspire--to infuse life by breathing,

• perspire--to blow or breathe through,

• respiration, the act of breathing,

• transpire--to breathe across,

• expire--to breathe out.

I’ve come to believe that at my very first breath, the Holy Spirit inspired me, endowing me with the potential for belief, for recognizing God, which, like a tiny seed, waited for cultivation by a parent, a teacher, a relative or friend or accidental discovery to fertilize the spiritseed, needing only a little nourishment to grow into the fullness of a spiritual life, or, as Joan Chittister writes, “...infuses all of life with the sacred, and the multiple revelations of that God alive in every human heart.” That event may take only a moment or it may take a lifetime, and the point is that, like the Apostles who could light the flame in the hearts of any listener, each of us may be the match that lights the flame in another through our actions or words or commitments to “...seek God, create community, and practice justice.”

Gracious God, keep us mindful of your Spirit within us and those we meet, that we may help others find the unencumbered and unrestricted access into your holy presence.