Thursday, March 10, 2005

Spirit Affects Everything

Although we may be completely oblivious to it, we are all alive because the Spirit of God breathed into our lungs. Everything we do is determined by spirit.

Walk down the street with a (honest) smile. You may observe other people brightening as they pass you. If you wear a grim visage, you may notice a similar thing happening to others. The spirit that commands us affects not only other people but all facets of the environment in which we live.

(I have a friend my age who for many years has worked for the
Dale Carnegie Institute. He strikes me as having spiritual power equal to that of most church members I know; however not to that of a commited Christian. He has made a good living and has a lovely wife and several healthy children.)

When I visit the hospital, I find patients with many various demeanors. A certain number of them greet me with a smile. I sense the presence of the Spirit there, and our meeting, conversation, prayer is joyous and effectual. Others, although having the physical capability to smile, lack one. I sense the presence of "spiritual wickeness in high places" affecting those sufferers, and there is some spiritual cost to minister to them.

In the (relative) absence of God's Spirit, a dark spirit moves quickly and effectually into the environment. But when we take on the full armor of God (Epesians 6:11ff), that other spirit departs quickly. Praise God. Be joyful in the Lord.

4 comments:

david said...

I have noticed a difference in the texture of the silence in a Quaker meeting when I smile. Which raises certain questions about those pictures of Quakers sitting those dour visages from the old days.

And if a smile raises our spirits and those of others -- just how enmeshed in the material is the spiritual anyway?

Larry said...

"just how enmeshed in the material is the spiritual..?"
"God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.."
Is the 'world' here used as a metaphor for the realm of matter? Did God take flesh to show the preeminence of spirit over flesh?

"And we are put on earth a little space,
That we may learn to bear the beams of love" (from The Little Black Boy)

I don't perceive the spiritual being enmeshed in the material, but the spiritual subsuming it. In the same way the ego is not annihilated, but becomes the servant of the self (or Christ within).

May we all experience that oneness.

Thanks, David.

Meredith said...

Larry,
I know this experience of caring for the sick who bear a dispirited guise. There is that very real possibility of becoming similarly, albeit temporarily, dispirited. However, I have noticed that this moment presents an opportunity. When I am able to be fully present to the other’s suffering, I begin to feel compassion for this person welling from deep within me. I notice a shift. I am drawn to really open my heart and imagine God's love, light, and warmth flowing from my very center, bathing the other with these qualities. In this transformative moment, this love light softens and nurtures the dispirited one, bringing healing and comfort, refreshing both of us. This is difficult to describe, but I bet you know the gist of it. This experience of Spirit affects everything.

Blessings flow.

david said...

Is the 'world' here used as a metaphor for the realm of matter?

I don't see "world" as a synonym for matter. It is a spiritual power and thus a fallen one -- it all that pressures us to conformity to the ways of culture against a higher calling to faith and gospel. It is not matter itslef but the belief that matter is what most matters.

Did God take flesh to show the preeminence of spirit over flesh?

Again -- if flesh is mere physicality -- I would hope not. If it is the inclination within us to discount the spiritual then yes.

I think your example of the smile -- for me -- indicates taht at least on thsi side of eternity -- matter and spirit are so comingled we cannot parse them out. The call to love is a call to act in the physical world.

I like Teilhard de Cahrdin on this one. Our physicality becomes divinized -- or something like that.