Just wait… just wait and see what is coming next. There is far more brilliance coming than you will ever expect. Expect to be astonished.
I have recently returned from a pilgrimage of astonishment. I saw and experienced the history and tradition of thousands of years of heritage and worship. I drank from the well where Jesus offered a woman living water. I prayed at the base of the ancient temple, and on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. I filled a sanctuary with song and melody, a gift from God, sharing a duet with a sister from China. I stood in the driving rain in the desert of Qumran. And all the while, I shared these experiences with friends, new and old. And I was astonished by the wonder that we shared together. Sometimes we would stop, and wait to feel the Spirit rush through the place. The Spirit moved for different people in different places.
The Spirit moved in me. I never want to think that the movement of the Spirit is to be expected, or looked on as a mundane occurrence. I always want to be astonished by the Spirit. I want to be moved to tears when the Spirit ushers in a new awareness and a new understanding, and a new time to be astonished.
The last ten days were not perfect. There were things we had hoped to do that we could not do. There were places where it seemed that there were more tourists than pilgrims. Sometimes I was more of a tourist than a pilgrim. But God showed up. God revealed a presence to us that we could feel deep in our souls.
Now I return to my usual routine, something that I haven’t been able to do since Christmas. Preparations for the board, and year end reports, and packing for this trip filled the past month. And so the mundane begins again. But it isn’t mundane. Because I am serving a God who moves the Spirit through me, around me, and reaches to places that I couldn’t reach without her help.
I pray that as I return to a more natural rhythm, one of the practical practices of ministry, that I will remain open to the astonishing movement of the Spirit. The Spirit is here, now, waiting for a sliver of opening to flood into our world. Expect to be astonished in the way that you will be used in the work of the Spirit. Expect to be surprised by the way that God works a new path in your life.
The astonishing thing might be that when you travel, you find a place that looks like home. We journey thousands of miles, and go to foreign places, and still there is love, and compassion, and struggle. The language may be different, as well as the food, the worship, the rhythms, the politics, but the Spirit remains the same, welcoming us to experience the astonishing presence of God.