The Practicality of the Holy Spirit {in such a time as this}

I flew into the Charlotte airport just a few hours before a young white man walked into a black church-sat down and prayed with them and then opened fire killing 9 people.  He told one woman that he was sparing her life only so that she could spread the word of what happened during those horrific moments.  
Dear God, I pray for that woman-please give her strength in the coming days.

Since that day 7 churches have been burned and many more have received letters, calls and signs of hate in order to cast fear among their congregations.  I have every reason in the world not to worry myself with my black brothers and sisters in the south right now.  Every reason in the world, but no good excuse.  Not when my life is lead by the Holy Spirit and drops of pain, moments of truth, and examples of reality are being placed in and around my life as a reminder that caring is choosing to worry.  Worrying in a way that concerns myself with the realities that the opportunities that I have in my life have everything to do with the color of my skin and the privilege that brings to me.

I’ve come to believe that the Holy Spirit may be one of the most important elements of a God centered life, yet it can receive very little consideration within our day to day life.  I can’t help but wonder if the lack of the Holy Spirit in our lives may just be the reason why faith in a loving God can feel so meaningless, so made up-so very hopeless.  Especially to those who are cast aside or those who are made out as sinners and constantly reminded why they’re “not enough”.  Without the freedom of the spirit I may choose selfishness or take it upon myself to cast judgement on others.

The text I received as I flew into that South Carolina airport was, “hope you get here soon”.  I was on my way to my father who was in the last days of his life.  Ironically, as that fear filled day in South Carolina occurred I was meant to be at home hosting a day long training on racial inclusion.  It was meant to tear me open, split me in half and do things to my soul that would prepare me for “what’s next” in my work as it relates to the oppressed in my community. Little did I know that my life would take a sharp turn that did all those things to me, but instead it was as I cared for my father as he died.

It’s the world that tells me to slow down and take care of myself.  The Holy Spirit is continually saying, “wake up and pay attention”.

Lately the Holy Spirit has been calling me to simply hold space for people-all people.  I was able to call on my experiences as a birth doula to simply sit and be still next to my father as his soul slowly left his body.  The community around me is experiencing changes that could lead me feeling out of control, but instead I’m just holding space for how I can simply be supportive and encouraging.  The same is so for what is happening right now across the country and afar.  As same-same sex marriage becomes the center of debate, Christians are being slaughtered and pushed out by ISIS, and misused power threatens the hard work of good people I could easily distract myself with things out of my control.  

As we drove home a few days we passed trucks with rebel flags flying and racial slurs scratched across windows.  Pulling into the drive I was reminded that the white people who choose to live in this home are buried under large stones and their photo is on the wall.  The black residents of this homeplace were purchased on the courthouse steps and their small stones were eventually cast aside.  What happened then has everything to do with what is happening now.  The reminders to care for everyone is everywhere.

Rather than casting opinions and engaging in debate I’m choosing to quietly and lovingly allow the Holy Spirit to lead me in the day to day-with the people right in front of me.  I’m sending a message to a beloved gay friend and thanking him for supporting my family and our lifestyle-because not everyone in the church always does.  I’m calling up a black sister and telling her that I’m here if she needs to talk about all the hurt that’s happening right now in her Christian community.  I’m simply holding space for the Holy Spirit to work in my life so that my faith speaks truth.

1 Timothy 2  I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For,

There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.

This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. And I have been chosen as a preacher and apostle to teach the Gentiles this message about faith and truth. I’m not exaggerating—just telling the truth.