Friday, May 14, 2010

The Presence of The Person

In 1967 as I sat in the choir loft of South Frankfort Presbyterian Church during the moment of meditation preceding the pastor’s morning prayer, I was mentally presenting my list of sins to the Lord and acknowledging what a horrible person I was. The next thing I knew, the church building and pastor and congregation had all disappeared and I was in the Presence of a Person. That Person was holy, pure, uncomfortably sacred. I was more aware than ever of my unholy, dirty self. And yet…

The Person said to me – not in audible words but in a communication that burned words into my heart that cannot be erased, “You and I do not see sin alike. You must learn to love and when you learn to love, those things you consider big, bad, sins will melt away as if they never existed.” The Person’s Being was absolute unconditional Love and what He conveyed to me was Love so huge and unthinkable, so intimate and overwhelming that I’d never even suspected that it could exist. Especially for me.

Then the church building and pastor and congregation slowly materialized into my consciousness and I didn’t know whether to be relieved or bereaved. I felt that The Person was so holy that if I had stayed in The Presence one more second I would have ceased to exist. And yet it was as though I had always been in The Presence or I would not have ever existed at all. And I knew that He loved everyone else in the same way He loved me. From that moment on, I couldn’t hate anyone.

I never quite knew how to tell anyone about the encounter because I knew that it wasn’t Jesus Himself but it didn’t seem like the Father on His throne either. HE just WAS.

It was twenty six years later in 1993 that I was reading a book about the Holy Spirit and laid down the book and said “Holy Spirit, I don’t have any understanding of You except as a force that works through me and others in the Body of Christ.” Suddenly there was a flashback and I saw myself in The Presence of The Person and re-experienced the LOVE. Then I heard three words, again not with an audible voice but with words that burned themselves into my heart.
“That was me.”

The Holy Spirit IS a Person, not a blind force, not just the Power of God but the Person of God, the Person of Love, that is poured out into this space/time realm upon all flesh and within all that will allow Him. No wonder Jesus said that it was better for His own that He go away because if He didn’t go to the Father, He couldn’t send the Holy Spirit. (John 16:7)

Whenever I hear the Holy Spirit referred to as “it” I want to cry. He is not an IT but a PERSON, actually the only part of God we have ever really experienced. He is the one who shows us Jesus and ministers Father Love to us. He is the Intimacy Link to the Godhead. And He never exalts Himself; He exalts Jesus.

Jesus said, “When he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father has are mine; therefore I said that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.” John 16:13-15

My prayer is that every one of us experience more intimately the Holy Spirit, the Presence of The Person.