Filled with the Holy Spirit

Does the Spirit come and go? My personal experience suggests that he/she does.
Instance: years ago as a pastor I went to a conclave of fellow pastors. There was much deep sharing, and I was on the very mountain top.

The weekend over, I returned to my parish to find a man I had labored with intensely for some months had broken over and became as drunk as a lord. All my poise left me; I made the same mistakes that people tend to do in such circumstances. I felt like the Spirit had left me.

Is that what happened? or did I leave the Spirit. These first Christians must have (to some degree left the Spirit after Pentecost, because we read that once again they were filled with the Spirit.

This may not describe the life of most people, but it sure does mine. For moments, now and then….


4 responses

  1. You ask, “Does the Spirit come and go?” I’m wondering, if the Spirit goes, where does it go? Is there anywhere for Spirit to hide, or to be away from creation? My sense is that Spirit is here always, and it is us who lose our focus on Spirit, not the other way around. We become distracted, dis-eased, forgetful… and then we are attracted, eased, re-membered, and in focus with Spirit. Spirit is here with you now, with your inebriated friend, within your response, within everything we might view as good and bad. With fidelity to Spirit, we return over and over again to find Spirit right here with us, never gone. When we refocus, return our attention to God, it can feel as though “Once again (we are) filled with Spirit,” but it seems we were never empty, we just thought we were.

  2. I read this tension between Larry’s posting and Meredith’s response. We know — by faith — but also by the underlying logic of the concept that Spirit is eternal and Eternally Present — almost by definition. And yet we experience spirit as coming and going waxing and waning. And then there is the third witness. The witness of the Footprints poem — that affirms that sometimes when Spirit feels most distant then spirit is often most present and active.Somehow we know inside that each of these three witnesses are utterly true in deep and meaningful ways. And yet they seem to contradict each other at the surface levels of logic and language.

  3. “sometimes when Spirit feels most distant then spirit is often most present and active.” Well David, you incite me once again to trot out one of my favorite verses of scripture (from The Screwtape Letters):”Dont’ be mistaken, Wormwood; the cause of Our Father Below is never in greater jeopardy than when one of the miserable Christians looks out upon a desolate, desert world, which which every vestige of God has vanished—–and still obeys.”I love it.

  4. I have that expeience too of feeling like the spirit comes and goes, though I think, and try to believe, that it’s me who is really coming closer and drifting away from a constant spirit. I don’t know how some people, like John of the Cross, live for years in “dryness” and never lose hope.

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