2.19.2008

washed

it is late...and i can't sleep...and so i sit and write.  it has been a long time since i have written.  a very long time.  i have been reminded of that.  i had a post written at one time...and it was accidentally deleted.  i thought it was beautiful.  it was eloquent.  it was not meant to be read.  so i write now.  this post that i wasn't sure i was really willing to write. 

so...where do i begin?  since my last post, so much has happened (read the stockbridge boiler room blog).  overwhelming at times.  there have been moments of mayhem, a virtual cyclone of dramatic events and yet there are times that God has given peaceful and restful times as well.  this peace and rest has been exactly what each of us has needed, interns, recovering addicts, and visitors.  in a way, we have experienced a washing of God's Spirit.  and in my mind...and as it is playing out...it all makes sense.
  
during the week of 24-7 prayer in December, God gave our community a word.  it was the word from Isaiah 61: "the spirit of the Lord is upon me..."  immediately I get this picture of the Holy Spirit coming upon this community, washing us, soaking our heads, dripping down over our foreheads and eyebrows, the refreshing feeling as it runs over our mouths, and falls upon our shoulders and runs down to our feet.  we are covered in it.  He has brought the pleasing refreshment and has allowed our response to be full, and rich, and beautiful.  and this wild call of the Spirit is here and is on the move.  and we can't help but notice.  
it is impossible to ignore. and so i won't.

instead i will rejoice in giving praise to our powerful God.  the Spirit washes with refreshing, living waters.  he has washed away the stronghold of addiction in the lives of several.  he has washed over weary hearts needing refreshing and the Spirit poured out upon his people has brought people face to face with his loving compassion.

at times i have found this outpouring of the Holy Spirit incredibly overwhelming...overwhelming in the sense that the only appropriate response is to fall on my face in utter worship, understanding the need that i have for the presence of the Spirit, the filling of the Spirit, the discernment of the Spirit, and the comfort of the Spirit.
over the past three weeks, the Spirit has been revealing himself to four particular men who have become very near and dear to many of us in the boiler room community.  we have stood in awe of Christ's love and the Spirit's movement in their lives as the scales that have molded to their eyes have fallen off and their eyes have begun to see the beauty of Christ's redemption. 
 
indeed the Spirit of the Lord is upon us.  the Lord has anointed all who have found him to preach the good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim the message of freedom for those in captivity and to release those living in darkness and show them light.  
he is restoring sight to the blind and the view for them is astonishing.  the view for us is astonishing.  it is a place of God's favor.  a place of beauty rather than ashes.  this is the work of the washing of the spirit.  the work where the overflow to God's favor brings the fullness of joy in any circumstance is where i want to be.  it is where he is leading us as a people chasing hard after him.
  
the Spirit of the Lord is upon me...praise be to the King of Kings...for he has done, is doing, and will continue to do marvelous things. 
 
isn't it great.

sounds nice right.  and it is.  it is nice.  but this is the part i have been struggling with.  what is my response to all of this.  for several weeks now it has been silence.  not sure how to proceed.  not sure how best to apply this pouring out.  this washing.  and so in a way, i have not accepted the fullness of God's Spirit.  i have been pouring out the offering onto others.  onto the men who have moved in here. those in the neighborhood who need help.  i have taken the best parts of this washing and given it to others.   and so i have had the peculiar dryness that for a while now i have not understood.  

and then...

"Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair.  The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume...'why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denari and given to the poor?'...Jesus said, 'Leave her alone...the poor you always have with you, and whenever you want you can do good for them. but you do not always have me.'"  

my best perfume...my best that i have has been given to those other than Jesus.  yes he has poured out his Spirit in order that we may proclaim his fullness to the poor and needed, my first response ought to be a pouring out of my best...my perfume that could be spent on the poor...onto Him...Jesus.  it is a fragrant offering.  Mary's offering was a fragrant offering preparing Jesus for his death.  

what is my offering.  in response to the pouring out of His Spirit upon me...His best...do i offer my best to him first as a fragrant offering given back to Him...or do i present the remains which, lately, has been next to nothing.

my heart longs to be mary...with recklessness pouring out my very best first onto Jesus' feet...and then with what remains given to those around me.

the Spirit of the Lord is upon me...  
 

1 comment:

Brooke Sellers said...

Thanks for this, Brad. It was lovely to wake up and find this entry awaiting on my blog roll. I appreciate your perspective, and even more so your heart. Here's to learning how to pour out our offerings in the right places, to the right One. (It's easier to do this to a physical manifestation than an unseen Savior, but I'm sure it's possible and He will teach us).