I love the Star Wars movies. They draw me into my own faith story where “The Force” is not some unusual unique to a few gift, but to where the Spirit of God – the Holy Spirit – is a ready and present help whenever and wherever we are. There are no light sabers – nor clashing of swords. Instead there is the gift of God’s Spirit – the Spirit of Jesus – God’s presence touching our hearts with divine and holy love. Star Wars movies speak to our search for something more, something deeper, something beyond the ordinary in our lives with its message of “The Force” outside the self to draw on for strength and courage.
Jesus promised his disciples that when he left them he would send another to be with them. One to be known as an advocate, comforter, counselor and wisdom giver. Our conversation around the Holy Spirit has not always as helpful as it could be. My childhood Confirmation book referred to the Holy Spirit as our conscience, which not only short-changed the Spirit work, ( and messes with people who have overactive and confused consciences) but pulls the life out of the Spirit’s presence.
I knew God’s Spirit first as a loving presence, when one night I simply trusted God with my life. Later I came to know the Spirit’s presence as one who guided me. The Spirit came as a comforter, almost as the advance guard, when I was about to experience something painful. I discovered God delighted in shedding love and light in my life. The Spirit was present as the Holy Other. There is a mystery about God’s Spirit. Sometimes we are baffled by the distance we suddenly feel in our relationship with God. In other moments we know God is as close as a breath, as near as our prayer.
What I know to be true is this. God loves each of us and wants for all of us to know and experience God’s compassion, love and grace in our daily lives. God wants us to know and be known by God, to rest in God’s presence and to know that we are God’s beloved and precious children. Far from being only the gift of a few, God wants each of us to know the deep spiritual power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. There is a “Force” that is with us, whether recognized or unrecognized. God is near, loving us through our questions. Just waiting for the door of our hearts to open. Meanwhile, while we wait, we may find ourselves loved in surprising ways, through God’s people who give us the message of love, when we are unable to recognize that for ourselves.
I think what our nation could use today is more of the Spirit’s presence. More of showering wisdom, compassion, and grace into our world in such a way that we in turn shower those gifts on others.
May the Force – the True Force – the Force of God’s Spirit be with you.