What is your pentecost experience? Fire or whisper?

What is your pentecost experience? Fire or whisper?

Thoughts on John 20:19-23

Peace can replace fear, resulting in gladness.

There’s the fiery, showy descent of the Holy Spirit as described in Acts 2, then there’s the quiet gift of the Spirit Jesus breathes on his disciples in John 20. My experience is more akin to the latter.

Like the disciples I lived in hiding because of fear. They were afraid of the wrath of the religious, I was afraid of rejection by peers. They sought safety behind closed doors. Me, I hid behind the pretense of verbosity. We were all afraid of being found and punished.

I was a constant talker, empty words poured from my mouth. I annoyed teachers and friends alike, and didn’t know I even needed to stop. I wasn’t self aware enough to know there was an issue. In fact I took some pride in being called ‘motormouth’ by my teachers. It gained me attention, a point of interface with peers. I thought it connected me with others, but words kept me isolated.

Thank God, Jesus sought me in my hiding place. He found me cowering and offered me peace instead of fear. He drew near and breathed on me, the Spirit entered and I began my journey out of fear into peace and gladness.

What are you hiding from? Maybe, like I was, you are hiding from yourself, or your fears about yourself. Maybe you fear if you were known you would be disliked or rejected. Maybe you assume the roles and the faces friends and society expects of you, all the while shrinking up like a raisin within your soul.

I pray that Jesus will enter your hiding place, find you in the shadow, reach out his hand to you, draw you into an embrace and whisper: Do not be afraid. I have found you, I give you my peace. Walk with me into the light. All will be well.

With you on the journey,

Debby

Advertisements

Whether you are a Mary or a Gardener

Thoughts on John 20:11-18

Where in my life do I feel like Mary? Standing outside the tomb weeping? Dreams have died?  Hope is lost? Despair has set in? I can’t think of any area of my life so disheartened. So I will sit and allow the HS to awaken my sorrow. Nothing comes to my awareness. So thank you for that, Lord. But I know there are many who weep with Mary. So caught up with sorrow that your figure and voice are unrecognizable. Teach me how to help them hear you call their name.

  1. Dare to ask why. Lord, make me bold like the angels, recognizing and validating the other’s sadness or suffering. This takes a lot of selflessness on my part which I resist. To inquire after another’s heart means I will have to attentively listen to their response. This takes time and presence and I admit, I hoard my time and attention. Lord, grant me the grace to love well enough to ask why and remain emotionally connected to the ones you love.
  2. Ask questions that uncover the pain. Jesus, you asked the same question the angels did and then you went one layer deeper, “Whom are you seeking?” Lord, help me help people know that the alleviation of their pain is found in you. They may be crying over a loss of health, a difficult job, unruly children, all valid reasons to be sorrowful; but restored health, a new job or well-behaved children will not ultimately erase the source of their sadness.  Lord, teach me to gently point them to the who they seek, not the what they seek.
  3. Speak to them the personal words of Jesus. When you called her by her name, she recognized you. Attune my heart to hear the words of love and comfort you want to communicate to the one you love, and have given me to love in your place. This is risky! Disguise yourself as a gardener in me, let me be the channel, connecting you with the one you love. I need to get out of the way, there is no room for pride on my part. My job is to listen to the other and to you and by faith offer the love your Spirit prompts. A little scary.

Addendum: So for the Mary’s out there. Know the Lord knows your sorrow and is near whether you recognize him or not. He may show up through your best friend, or by reading this post. Listen for your name.

what do you fear?

6122500677_3ed6856ee7_m“Fear of the Jews locked up the disciples. I too am afraid, hiding behind tightly shut and locked doors. Fear of being ridiculed, considered foolish, judged by others (and by myself). I remain hold up, living in a bit of fantasy, ignoring the threats from which I hide. And then you show up. Locked doors cannot stop you. You enter and I am startled and a little freaked out. You calm me down…”Peace be with you, Debby. I was ridiculed, made a fool of, judged and even murdered, but such did not kill me. I survived. I am alive. Relax, trust. I have a job for you.” Breathe on me Jesus. Give me the Holy Spirit anew and refresh me. Breathe on me, give me life, just as you did to Adam in the garden. Breathe on me and share with me your power, power to give life or to hinder it. I am humbled and charged. Come Holy Spirit.” thoughts from John 20

Friends, what are you afraid of? what keeps you in hiding? Such fear prevents you from being part of the life God wants to offer the world. Closed doors do not keep your fears out, they only keep you locked in. Jesus joins you in your hiding – to the disciples he said peace, to me he said trust. What does he say to you? He wants you to know that the worst things you fear cannot touch you. He has gone ahead of you, fought the fight, was dealt the death blow and now gives you the Holy Spirit. You have a job to do, offering life to the part of the world you inhabit. Will you breath in the power and breath out the mercy?