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God in the Everyday

This weekend we hear from an SMC member Michelle Freitas who shared a powerful personal story about stopping to listen to God within during the everyday moments. She stressed a few things that are worth recapping:
 
When asked to tell a story of our faith journey, we can get nervous if it isn’t centered around some kind of a “mountain top” experience. What we really need is to be intentional about carving out time to silence ourselves and still our bodies and minds to hear God. After all, Jesus says “the kingdom of God is within you.” We should begin to cultivate the practice of looking for God who dwells within us and being attentive to the Divine voice, often gentle and subtle, but longing to hear from us. Think of is, as Michelle put it, as “taking time to visit with an old friend whom you can’t wait to see.”
 
With that in mind, we were challenged in Sunday’s program session to take one minute to share our story with a friend sitting next to us. For some it’s easy and for others it’s hard.
 
But think about it. What if someone asked you—a friend or a stranger at the grocery store—why you come to church or practice a certain spiritual path? Have you thought about what you’d say?
 
Michelle gave us a tip: Think about what in your spiritual life makes your heart full. Talk about that. Talk about what fills your heart to overflowing (that’s the Holy Spirit!) and start there. God will do the rest.
 
You won’t want to miss this coming Sunday 10/15 @ 9:10 in the chapel. We are going to pray intensely and intentionally, renew the promises of our baptism, and pray with each other using the ancient form of laying-on-of-hands to ask for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives and on our parish. Come, Holy Spirit!

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God, Jesus and Our New Life

God offers new life to all.

Jesus comes to us as a channel or conduit of this new life. He is the example of how God intends for us to live a life in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells the disciples (that’s you and me!) that we will do greater works then even he has done. Jesus is also the model for surrender to the Holy Spirit. Imagine the love of God to come in human form and likeness to show us how to surrender to God’s deep and powerful love.

Jesus shows us how to yield to and be empowered by the Holy Spirit when he submits to the baptism of repentance offered by his relative, John the Baptizer. When Jesus goes down into the waters of the Jordan River, he emerges and is anointed by the Holy Spirit for his ministry with accompanying signs: the descent of the dove, the opening of the heavens, and the divine voice claiming Jesus as God -  beloved child whom God loves very much.

This is the very thing—the very surrender and empowerment that we experience in baptism - and we need to activate all that’s been given to us in baptism: our mission and our spiritual gifts and the power to live as members of Christ’s body in the world, loving people into God’s reign of justice.

In two week’s time we will have an opportunity to renew our own baptism and to name and claim those gifts and pray for empowerment, a baptism in the Holy Spirit. John says to us, “One mightier than I is coming…I baptize you with water but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Come, Holy Spirit!

1. Have you ever had an extraordinary experience of the power or presence of the Holy Spirit?  Remember, it may have happened outside of a religious setting.  Don't forget the everyday moments...

2. Think about the following gifts...

wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues, generosity, hospitality, single-heartedness, administration, teaching

Which ones catch your interest?  Which ones might you need for further spiritual growth?  Are you comfortable with some and uneasy with others?  Ask God this week in prayer to open you to whatever God has in store for you.

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