I was driving to work Monday and saw a sign that almost made me run off the road. I live in Fairview and there are no bumper stickers that say “Keep Fairview Weird” as in Asheville, and yet even for our bucolic mindset, the sign was indeed weird. The local church, housed in metal butler building, posted a sign that read “Holy Ghost Fire Falling Revival: Expect a Miracle.”
This shook my Book of Common Prayer sensibilities and made me wonder—“What is it we expect when we come to our parishes?” Probably we expect to be challenged or at least somewhat enlightened by the sermon. Certainly I hope to be renewed by the sacraments, inspired by the liturgy, moved by the prayers, connected by the music, restored by the fellowship, lightened by the absolution, restored by the blessing and so on. I hope to experience the communion of saints both alive and in God’s greater glory. I mean I am not cynical about what occurs in Episcopal parishes during worship.
But I don’t expect the Holy Ghost to bring fire falling from the heavens, and I honestly don’t go expecting a miracle. Yet I wonder why not?
I wonder if our heritage from the enlightenment and from living in this scientific, rationalistic, and yes cynical age has lessened our expectations of what God can, is and will do in us and through us and among us. Do we expect a miracle in Syria? Or with the refugees coming to Europe? Or with the drug cartels in Central and South America? Or with the political climate in our country and in North Carolina? Do we expect the Holy Spirit’s fire to fall from the sky and make us new?
I honestly am not going to go to the revival on Emma’s Grove Rd. But when I go to Church Sunday, I am hoping for some fire inside of me and I am hoping to experience God making all things new and I am hoping that’s what you will hope for too.