Monday 7 February 2011

Quietly Charismatic

The life of faith that the trinitarian God of creation and wonder calls us to is an ever-changing journey with (to coin a phrase courtesy of Margaret Silf and many more) many waymarks.

This journey at times is peaceful, at time chaotic. We walk, run, or crawl through varying degrees of opulence and tragedy, splendour and disdain. And in so many ways, our individual and collective walks with God bear the marks of our journeys.

Sometimes these marks are in a static symbiosis with the journey, sometimes they stand in a prophetic witness to our journeys.

More simply: at times of busyness, our spirituality can become busy with the buzzing of a thousand voices. In times of peace, our spirituality can echo still pools and thin-place ethereality.

And, on occasion, our spiritual journeys stand in deep contrast to our lived experience. This can be confusing, but also incredibly sustaining.

I find myself in this latter situation. Currently life spirals ever-deeper into a whirlpool of action and doing and busy-ness and work and life, where the different calls of family, work, preparation for ministry, creativity and devotions are muddling around in life's ever murkier waters.

Yet at this time, I find myself faced with an experience of God that is charismatic and at the same time stilling. For the past week, whenever I have turned to prayer, even simple, quiet prayer, I have experienced something of an enveloping charismatic experience of the Holy Spirit.

Not a charismatic Holy Spirit experience that has led to tongues, or being slain in the spirit, of prophecy or outward gifts, but instead, these charismatic experiences have been deeply quiet. With a warm, open stillness that has evaded me for much of my prayer life. As if something has just "clicked", I'm not sure what, or how, but I feel incredibly at peace in prayer in a way that I have rarely experienced before.

I believe that our walks with God cannot and must not be seen as individual expeditions, with each on their own quest, but rather a collective call to ramble towards the God of Creation and Wonder who calls us into a life of relationality, with Him and with each other. It comes as no surprise to me then, that the most profound of these experiences have been in times of community prayer.

I don't know how long this quietly charismatic revolution will be running on tip-toes through my heart, but I am grateful for it.