A Democracy of Revelation

For many years, I taught a Monday class here at South entitled, “A Month with a Mystic.”  When I finally transcribed a year’s worth of seminars in book form, my editor at Upper Room told me she had a different title in mind, “The Mystic In You” and she was right.  There is a mystic, a god-filled place in each of us.  God’s Spirit speaks to all of us in sighs too deep for words, and every so often we notice, and then become mystics.  Each of us is, as Emerson asserted in his Harvard Divinity School Address, a bard of the Holy Spirit.

On the day of Pentecost, everyone of Jesus’ first followers and everyone they encounter experiences God’s Spirit.  The winds of the Spirit blow, enlivening and enlightening everyone they touch, regardless of racial identity, age, or gender, inspiring Peter to proclaim the words of the prophet Joel:

In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
    and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
        and they shall prophesy.

These words contain a big promise, one to live by and for.  God speaks to you and provides a path to wholeness and liberation for all God’s children. God’s light shines in you, on you, and through you.  You can be a channel of God’s Spirit to everyone you meet. That’s amazing, isn’t it?

Every theological and spiritual affirmation invites an equally big “So what?” “What’s this got to do with me?  What difference does it make to me or to our congregation?”

When I first started teaching the Monday mystic class, a member asserted, “I’m not a mystic.  I’m barely able to pray.   I can’t sit still to meditate.  My mind wanders, and I swear a lot.”  She immediately disqualified herself.  But was she right? Or was there a mystic, a god-filled person, ready to come forth and share their blessings to the world.

So far today we haven’t experienced flames of spirit or a wind blowing through our congregation.  We haven’t had to dive under the pews as the newly installed windows shook and the chandeliers swung.  But the Spirit is still here.  There is a sweet, sweet spirit in this place.  There is inspiration here. There is guidance here.  And that is the heart of mysticism.

Those first Pentecostals were no different from us.  They didn’t expect the flames and winds.  And yet the flames and wind came, and they went where they led them. 

We may not experience a discernable Cecil B. DeMille style prophetic voice, flames, bright lights, or shaking foundations, but we may experience in our congregation’s life moments of insight, a wider perspective, a sense of guidance to help us find our way.   Our more placid and low temperature mysticism doesn’t make us less than those Pentecost Christians or disqualify us from doing good work in God’s name.  That’s the point of Pentecost – God is still speaking and God is speaking through you.

Yes, there is a mystic in you, and this congregation of spirit-filled people.  From the youngest, Arabella to the oldest, God is still speaking and if we listen, we will find our way, we will have confidence in the future, and God will guide us on the path ahead.