Sunday, June 04, 2006

Multi-Sensory Pentecost

Nettes and I set aside time regularly to be together with God. This often takes the form of what we call a “Sacred Space”. We create an atmosphere of calm (not known at any other time in our house!) using throws, cushions, relaxing music, incense, candles etc. They are very special times to us and we have had some great encounters with God through them.

Last night we used this time to celebrate the coming of the Spirit. We started, as we often do, by praying - in British Sign Language - for the Holy Spirit to come. Another aid to prayer which we often use is a labyrinth, printed on paper. Tracing the path into the middle, pausing to listen to God, and then bringing the line back out, helps focus our minds on who God is and what he wants from us. Last night, as we did this we began to contemplate the work of the Holy Spirit, and were reminded on the outward path of our task to take God’s message out into the world, as the disciples did after that first outpouring. I found it strangely exhilarating. We also made fans and used them together with poetic liturgy to reflect on the wind of the Holy Spirit.

But the climax of the night was melting ice cubes – in which we had embedded chains – over a candle. We were praying for God to melt our hearts preparing us to receive his power. Melting the ice was slower and trickier than we thought it was going to be. It was a powerful image of God’s patience and gentleness. It reflected the persistence with which he works to enable us to see his power in our lives. We talked about what his empowering means to us and how we limit it. Finally, we broke bread, anointed each other and asked God for this empowering.

Over an hour had passed. It was very late but, as always when we have these times, the hour had flown by. Why do we so often think spending time with God is hard?

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