For the past 18 months, our world has literally been flipped upside down. While managing life amid a global pandemic, we’ve had to homeschool our children, take care of loved ones through virtual means, suppress our fears as we boldly visited our local stores looking for tissue; all the while turning our kitchen tables into our makeshift offices. We’ve had to endure a crazy 18 months as we have had to say goodbye to loved ones as they transition due to covid-19 and other matters. We’ve had a crazy 18 months filled with pain and rage as we have battled the evil and seductive nature of racism and white privilege that has plagued our world for far too long. This has been a crazy 18 months.
My heart has cried out many of times throughout this pandemic, ring the questions of when will get back to normal? When will we get back to the way things were? When will we get to see each other again? When will the days stop feeling like an eternity? When will the hatred end? When will fear end? When?
After the horrific crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, the Earth seemingly stood still and silent. All hope seemed lost and fear had seemingly won. The days felt like years and the nights were even longer. Yet, in the midst of hopelessness, Christ arose just like he said he would. Our champion had once again kept His word and claimed all power in his hand. Things were finally getting back to normal, right?
Just when it seemed like they were getting their footing, and things were getting back to normal, Christ is found in the first chapter of Luke’s writing of Acts ascending into the heavens. With the people gazing into the air, Christ shares the promise that after the Holy Ghost shall come them, they would receive power (Acts 1:8).
The people didn’t want power, they wanted Christ. The people would have rather just been sick and allowed Christ to be their healer. The people would have rather been lame and allowed Christ to straighten things out. The people would rather have been hungry and allowed Christ to turn two fish and five loaves into a buffet. The people would have rather taken their matters to the high priest and allowed him to figure it out.
The people didn’t want power, because with power comes responsibility.
With power comes accountability.
With power comes a greater level of understanding.
With power comes a greater level of availability.
In this instance, what Christ is teaching us is that after resuscitation or resurrection comes a new dimension of power. I submit that many of us aren’t able to exercise or even see greater in our lives, because our focus is on the fact that we cannot physically see or touch the man named Jesus. For many of us, we would rather resolve that God is just not present with us and we are out here by ourselves.
For all who would read this article or message, it has been placed on my heart to let you know that you are not alone. God is still with you. You have to resolve in your mind, that with every new dimension in your life, God is revealing God’s self to you in a different way.
That is the mystery of God. Though God is the same yesterday, today, and for evermore, God shows God’s self in a different way every time.
Our new normal cannot be fixed on a way or a pattern, rather it must be fixed on trust
Acts 1:4–5 (NLT)
4Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before.
5John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost, is the Spirit of love and comfort poured out to all of humanity, beckoning us to receive the grace of our God. The Holy Spirit serves as Advocate, Helper, Intercessor and Sustainer. God’s Spirit seals, empowers and guides us through the way of life. I simply see the Holy Spirit as “the grace of God in the soul of the believer. “The Spirit leads persons through faithful response to the gospel into the fellowship of the Church. He comforts, sustains, and empowers the faithful and guides them into all truth.”
I’ve seen and experienced the Holy Spirit every day in my personal faith, in various facets. It is the Holy Spirit who empowers me to be a witness for Christ in the world. I have been placed into some situations where I felt that I wasn’t prepared or equipped to face the challenge, but thanks be to God for God’s Spirit. The Holy Spirit seemingly gave me the words to say during those trying times. The Holy Spirit brought peace and wisdom to that troubling situation. In my personal time of devotion, it is God’s Spirit that revives, corrects, inspires and instructs me in the thing of God by increasing my faith and equipping me with gifts for the journey, the journey of sanctification and holy living. The Holy Spirit reminds and makes me aware of my sinful nature and the consequences of it.
In the life of the community of believers, the Holy Spirit is the power that unites and brings believers under one accord. The second chapter of The Acts of the Apostles states that it was the Holy Spirit that brought people of unknown tongues together from different nations empowering them like fire, as they recited the good deeds and the power of God. The Holy Spirit provided and instituted a new level of unity. Sweetly, the Holy Spirit speaks to us, encouraging the community of believers to work together. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that brings persons from different walks of life and different experiences together, causing a level of unity and oneness among believers. We are empowered to reach out to the less fortunate, the lost and the left out by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
As we grow in personal and communal faith, it is the Holy Spirit that guides and empowers us as we live responsibly in the world. The Holy Spirit, the breath and Spirit of God, is already active in the world revealing God’s power of redemption, love and grace. As we seek to find those places where God is presently working, we should willingly join God in ministering to the world. By doing works of mercy and justice, not only are we able to live and work alongside God’s creation, but also we are able to walk humbly with God. By simply loving and caring for our neighbors, we can usher in a new normal.