Tuesday, 18 October 2016
The HOly Spirit 'Don't Get No respect'
Last Wednesday I returned to Huron University College to do a short introductory presentation on Spiritual Direction to the theology students. I will again have the wonderful opportunity to provide Spiritual Direction to the students under the auspices of the Theology Faculty.
I attended the Wednesday Eucharist prior to lunch and the community gathering. The excellent homily was preached by The Rev. Dr. Lizette Larson-Miller, a faculty member. In the homily Dr. Larson-Miller used a wonderful phrase from the prayer of Confession in the Book of Common Prayer (I am paraphrasing what she said) of the tension between “the devices and desires of our hearts” and the action of the Holy Spirit. This was a wonderful lead in to my talk on Spiritual Direction.
The goal of Spiritual Direction is, in my view, to help identify the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Often this seems to be in conflict with the devices and desires of our own hearts. The Spiritual Director is more accurately a Spiritual Companion on the journey with the Holy Spirit and will help the Directee identify where and how the Holy Spirit is with them. Indeed I prefer to think of the devices and desires of our heart as the devices and desires of our egos. The ego wants to be in charge of the show and run things—our lives and our world to ensure that any control it believes it has is not threatened. The ego believes that God should be serving the ego. However, the correct relationship is for the ego to be in the service of God. This for me is the central message of Jesus i.e. to love God and your neighbour as yourself.
I have said before that the Holy Spirit been held by the church to be the Rodney Dangerfield of the Holy Trinity i.e. it don’t get no respect. As it says in the Gospel of John, “The wind* blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” As such it is unpredictable and cannot be controlled by hierarchies and doctrine. The action of the Spirit can be difficult to identify as it can and will be confused by the devices and desires of our hearts and egos. However, I believe we are entering the age of the Spirit in which the work of the Holy Spirit will be recognized more fully.
In a Spiritual Direction session there are three persons; the Director/Companion, the Directee and the Holy Spirit. The goal is to allow space for the Holy Spirit to be recognized and affirmed in the life of the Directee and to help the Directee to recognize where the Spirit is moving in his or her life. That is my wish for everyone. Blessings,