Living His Story Ch. 5
Passing on the Story of Jesus
Welcome to week 5 of my thoughts and responses to chapter 5 of Hannah Steele’s ‘Living His Story. This chapter entitled Passing on the story of Jesus, helps us to focus on the part the Holy Spirit plays when we speak about the Good News.
I love mystery. I love a whodunnit, but I also love the multi layered mystery that might lie in a painting, a piece of poetry or prose, music, or in a favourite view. I’m sure I’m not the only one drawn back to certain things over and over, amazed that I am still interested and surprised that they continue to reveal something new on each encounter. One of these for me is a painting found in the Tate Britain. I love going to the Tate Britain, I love the familiarity of the journey and the comforting lay out of the galleries. The anticipation that I feel when finally I reach the last room, the one that holds this painting, never wavers, the painting is small, but it always fills the longing in me to gaze at it, it always reveals something that connects with me in a very deep yet hard to explain way.
I think of The Holy Spirit very much like this. When the Spirit of God is active and we get to be included, we are taken to mysterious and often very unexpected places; words that didn’t make sense or meant nothing suddenly come alive with hope; a mixture of notes, harmonies and melodies become powerful vectors of worship, allowing us to express things we didn’t even know we felt; the minutiae of everyday nature becomes pregnant with the creative promise of an all knowing and loving God. When we get on board with the Holy Spirit life transforming things happen, a conversation can go from the greyness of Kansas to the glorious technicolour of Oz as eyes are opened and hope restored.
Although we can find all of this inside the church, the Holy Spirit is much more imaginative and playful than just this, consistently we are being invited out of our churches, homes and places of comfort to where the people on God’s heart are to be found. These places might seem unlikely and unrewarding to us, sometimes even threatening and intimidating, but they are where the mystery of God is to be found, where we get to experience the astounding reach and love of the gospel.
When we accept the call to these places the Holy Spirit takes our words, our gestures and our intentions and forms them into intelligible and sometimes dazzling truth. Peter’s eyes are opened to the inclusivity of God at the house of Cornelius, a place he was forbidden by Jewish law to even enter. This revelation that changed the history of the early church, did not happen from the comfort of his own home, but in the house of someone Peter was unlikely to have even spoken with let alone receive hospitality from. The Holy Spirit prepared the way, then called Peter out into what he thought was the unknown and the prohibited to share what he did know, the gospel. Today we are being given the same opportunity; not only to invite others to come and see, but to have our own vision of the gospel enlarged and refocused.
Each time we follow the call of the Holy Spirit, something is revealed afresh in us too. We get to see a little bit more of the width, length, height and depth of the gospel. Like my favourite painting at the Tate, but on a much more cosmic and mysterious scale, the Holy Spirit delivers fresh revelation to us over and over. As we partner with God and invite others to join in, we can expect layer upon layer of inclusivity, forgiveness, mercy, grace and love to be disclosed to us, transforming and renewing our minds as we go.
Click here for link to Zoom meeting at 1pm today.
Questions we will be looking at together on Zoom
The Spirit often ‘propels us out of our comfort zones.’ Have you ever surprised yourself by speaking boldly, or can you think of someone else doing this with remarkable results?
The work of the Holy Spirit is mysterious….Can you think of a situation that has been transformed beyond imagining by the work of the Holy Spirit?