Washington Post columnist, Gene Weingarten, and world-famous violinist Joshua Bell worked together to answer this question: If one of the world’s greatest musicians played some of history’s most beautiful music on one of the world’s most expensive instruments, but in an ordinary place, would anyone notice?
Video of Joshua Bell playing in a Washington, DC metro station
What did you notice?
- Bell played for 45 minutes, playing 6 or 7 classical pieces, earning $32
- Very few people stopped. 1,097 people passed by. Only 7 people stopped. One stayed for 3 minutes. One stayed for 9 minutes. The woman who recognized him stayed the last 2 minutes of his performance.
- Everyone was busy.
7 years later, in 2014, Joshua Bell played in Union Station again. What do you think happened?
Why was it different this time?
- Both times he played the exact same music
- He had more people helping him
- It was announced. They recognized him and his gifts. They knew who he was.
- There was a sense of expectancy.
- They acknowledged his presence.
The poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning once wrote,
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.
What great extravagant gifts do we pass by- not expecting it, not acknowledging it? We’re picking blackberries with our face in our BlackBerries.
Even more so, we’re passing by the presence of Almighty God. The world is afire with the power, presence, and beauty of the Holy Spirit. Are we expectant for it? Are we awakened to it? Are we acknowledging it?
Who is the Holy Spirit? God’s presence with us now
Have you acknowledged the presence of the Holy Spirit? Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to awaken you to the beauty and power of God all around you?
John 14:15-18, 23
This passage is part of Jesus’ Farewell Discourse. (John 13-17) Jesus is speaking at the Last Supper, the night of his arrest, less than 24 hours before his death. He’s preparing the disciples and reminding them of the promises of God.
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit, God’s Presence
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.
- Another = Just Like the First
- We continue to have access to the presence, wisdom, healing, grace of Christ
- Advocate = Parakletos in Greek, One sent from the Father, called alongside you
- The parent who climbs in bed with a scared or sick child to comfort him or her
- The person who takes the hand of a friend to walk alongside them through the situation
- With you forever
- Jesus walked this earth for a specific period of time. The presence of God in the Holy Spirit is with us forever.
- We can see and know the Spirit. The Spirit is here! There can be expectancy, awakening, opening, acknowledging what others are just passing by. (John 14:17)
- With you forever- with you and in you
- Abides with you (John 14:17)
- Will not leave you orphaned (John 14:18)
- The disciples were feeling abandoned and orphaned by Jesus’ reminder that he must go. Jesus sends another just like him.
- I am coming to you (John 14:18)
- The Spirit comes to us. We don’t have to go searching. God always makes the first move.
- You will see me (John 14:19)
- We will come to them (John 14:23)
- Make our home with them (John 14:23)
- Consider the intimacy and immediacy of someone moving in with you
- God makes a home with us and in us
- Abides in you (John 14:17)
- You in me, I in you (John 14:20)
1 Corinthians 3:16
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
The Holy Spirit abiding with you and in you. How do I get the Holy Spirit?
Consider your baptism.
- Brothers and Sisters in Christ
- Family language, making a home with us and in us, belonging
- Through the Sacrament of Baptism,
- Sacrament means mystery. We can relate to God the Father as Creator. We can relate to Jesus Christ, who walked this earth and shared our experience. The Holy Spirit is a mystery.
- we are initiated into Christ’s holy church. We are incorporated into God’s mighty acts of salvation and given new birth by water and the Spirit.
- We’re part of the Body of Christ, the Family of God, the church. We receive a calling on our life and are empowered to fulfill it. We are given new birth. We are made new.
- All this is God’s gift, offered to us without price.
In Baptism we recognize the Holy Spirit is already at work in our life, has a plan for our life, already knows us, loves us, is working and calling.
When we receive baptism and the Holy Spirit as babies, we don’t know what we don’t know because we are babies. When we grow up, we may still not know what we don’t know because no one has ever talked to us about the Holy Spirit.
That’s why we’re doing it now. It’s a tremendous gift. The promise of presence that we can know now. We can acknowledge now. That’s how you get the Holy Spirit because the Spirit is already there.
Lord, give me eyes to see. Lord, give me ears to hear. Holy Spirit, I want you in my life.
Jesus said, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”
You have God with you here forever and ever and ever. You have the Holy Spirit.
Will you acknowledge? Will you receive? Will you awaken? The world is afire and there is One who wants to abide with you and in you. Will you say, “Yes!”
Holy Spirit, Pour Out Your Presence © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
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