Friday, June 4, 2010

Come Holy Spirit, Renew the Hearts of Your Faithful

This depiction of John the Baptist Baptising Jesus
 is one of four huge stained glass windows
 at St. Michael the Archangel Church
representing a scene from each of the Gospels.  
The Lord is so amazing in the many ways He works in and through people. I have been deeply moved by how strongly I have felt His presence in the many chapels, sanctuaries, churches of a wide variety of Christian traditions, and the one or two synagogues I’ve prayed in over the years.
In college, I went to a Pentecostal church with a friend and the woman in charge of Resident Life for first-year students. That was my first time being surrounded by people who were speaking in tongues, being slain in the Holy Spirit, running around the church, and moving their feet faster than is humanly possible without some serious dance training.

A woman wearing a bright orange outfit and matching hat was standing next to me praying. She asked if she could pray over me, and I said she could. Before I knew it I kept saying, “Thank You!” over and over again.

I had no intention of praying aloud, but it was as if I couldn’t help it. I kept saying thank You to God and had this profound sense of peace and joy wash over me. At one point, I have no idea what words came out of my mouth. All I know is that they weren’t in English, French, or any language I knew how to speak or could recognize.    

This woman guided me up to the altar where my friend was standing. I didn’t know if she was going to ask the pastor to baptize me, give me a blessing, or what. I was prepared to explain I’d already been Baptized and Confirmed, but I didn’t need to. I can’t remember exactly what the pastor said when he was speaking in English, and I had no idea then or now what he uttered when he was speaking in tongues, however, it’s still as clear as can be in my mind what I saw next.

My friend who had seen me come up began moving her feet faster than I have ever seen someone who isn’t a trained professional dancer. I knew it had to be the Holy Spirit, because this friend was rather introverted, didn’t tend to draw a lot of attention to herself, and there she was right in front of the altar and the entire congregation dancing up a storm.
That evening when I went to Mass I felt even closer and more in awe of the Lord’s gift to us of His Son in the most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Lord God Almighty, thank You for the many ways You have given us to glorify and praise You. Open us up to the promptings of Your love to heal division and brokenness, reconcile differences and bring about true peace which passes all understanding. Amen.
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