Rice and beans? Meat and potatoes? Cheese, bread, and fruit? These are three among many cuisines. Which are you drawn to? Based on your upbringing or your sense of adventure, you probably prefer one diet over the other. All provide the needed protein. Each group comes in manifold types and combinations. Flavors range from mild to strong.
Does the Holy Spirit, like world cuisines, come in different flavors? That was my thought in worship recently, as I sensed the presence of God through his Spirit in a charismatic gathering. In an atmosphere of lively music, many people raised their hands, and a few danced. My tears flowed as I sensed Jesus’ kindness.
But for many, charismatic worship feels out of control, too emotional. They prefer the majesty of an Episcopal or Catholic service. The design of the structure for worship conveys the presence of the Holy Spirit as much as the music or the words of songs. An ideal setting for them would be Washington, D. C.’s National Cathedral.
Others prefer the simplicity of a non-instrumental Church of Christ. A few years ago, at a writing conference, we sang worship songs accompanied by a piano. I sat with a new acquaintance who was used to singing a capella. “I’m distracted by the instruments,” she said. I’m guessing she didn’t sense the presence of the Holy Spirit that day. The flavor impeded her experience of God.
Jesus in the flesh gave people the experience they needed–sometimes strong, sometimes majestic, sometimes sweet. Humble, flexible, and responsive, His Spirit also provides strengthening protein in flavors we respond to.
Father, Son, Spirit: Thank you for your infinite variety. Feed us today, and this year so we may continue to grow up into you.