Plugging in to Power

As this past Sunday was Pentecost, our pastor’s lesson was drawn from Acts 2. Reading the account of the descent of the Holy Spirit gives me chills.

Last night at our small group meeting we revisited Sunday’s message. One of our study questions invited us to share a memory of a time when we’ve “seen the Holy Spirit empower someone or change lives.”

We responded to this question with a long, long pause. Finally our small group leader shared a story. Then another member spoke. And another.

As we returned home, my husband and I talked about the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s a tough concept to take into the world. Talk about powers, spirits, and stuff like that and people will look at you sideways. Those mysterious elements of our faith are…well, mysterious to me, as I’ve discussed in a previous post.

When we arrived I checked my email. One note called my attention to a comment following a Facebook post that one of my daughter’s friends had left. I remembered that I’d been trying to “place” this friend in my daughter’s history, as I’ll see her at the wedding.

So I logged on to Facebook and clicked on the young lady’s profile to jog my memory.

On her profile page, I read a quote that made me realize that my decision to read her profile wasn’t coincidental:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Nelson Mandela

As I read, I felt my questions from our study melt away. And I felt the Spirit within me.

19 Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with the fullness of God. 20 With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine. Ephesians 3:19-20 (NLT)

[Question: I see a few elements of  Mr. Mandela’s quote that I would have put differently. Do you? What would you change in his words?]