Feelin’ de Spirit…

Michael N. Jagessar

This is not a misspelling. It is a Caribbean expression for naming a way one encounters the Holy Spirit. The emphasis is placed on “feeling” and 20140316_100155“experiencing” rather than that which is reasoned, logical or one can easily articulate.

Over the last few weeks I felt and experienced the presence of God’s Spirit moving in conversations, planned and unplanned meetings, worship, chance encounters, around meal tables and in learning spaces. The sense of the Spirit at work was felt at various moments during and long after these encounters.

Some of these moments include worship, discussing business, sharing in cutting edges conversations and at meal times at our recently held March Mission Council. Then there was a Saturday (March 8th) encounter in Doncaster with the Unitarians and Interfaith leaders and practitioners. I am glad I accepted the invitation to speak on the topic: “Interrogating Liberal Religion through Racial Justice and Intercultural Optics”. In my capacity as a moderator of GA and secretary for RJiM, it was an excellent opportunity to reflect on the topic.  I was able to do so drawing from current conversations around ‘multicultural church, intercultural habit’ and from what I perceive as the most urgent challenges before20140316_100127 us as a diverse community often polarised by intransigent theological perspectives. The event began with a lavish multicultural meal and conversations organised by the Revd Tom McCready and his excellent team. For me, there was strong sense of God’s Spirit at work in the stories of commitment, authenticity and love from those present.

When I participate in interfaith gatherings I always find the following words of Jesus (as recorded by the gospel writers) assuring and challenging: “Whoever is not against us, is for us” and “Whoever is not with me, is against me”. The first saying provides me with a clue as to how to think of the “other” person – calling me to expansive generosity in terms of my judgement of others. The second provides me with a clue as to how to think of myself – calling me to do honest self-examination and testing of my motives. Simply put: the first says to me, without mincing words: “judge not” while the second insists, “examine yourself”!

At Banstead URC (March 16th) the Spirit was “moving just like a magnet” (a line from a Caribbean hymn)! It was a glorious day, to borrow cricketing parlance, and given the way the church is built light filled-up the church. But the music also filled the air and it was very good. What wonderful voices and a great music ministry! Banstead URCOne of the first things that struck me about Banstead URC was its ideal location and the fact that anyone passing can see inside the church. I learnt that after every service the bible is brought to the back of Church and placed on the lectern located by a nicely kept and large glass window. Anyone standing on the outside can read the gospel lesson for that Sunday. What a brilliant idea! I was also struck by the high level of energy and organising skills of the team of elders and leaders at Banstead.

Reflecting on the gospel reading for this Sunday (story of Nicodemus), I invited all 20140316_114012of us to give more attention to the habit of curiosity, rethinking assumptions, and looking at the present and future through the eyes of new possibility. Like Nicodemus, we are also invited to “listen to the sound of the wind” – for learning God cannot be done with our minds alone, or even our clearest thinking. Hence the need to be attentive and trusting God’s Spirit to lead us in places and ways we never dreamt of.

Perhaps, you the readers have your own stories of “feelin’ de Spirit” that you may wish to share. Why not tell us by using the comment button.

Go well, with plenty blessings!

4 thoughts on “Feelin’ de Spirit…

  1. Rafael Vallejo

    Thanks Michael. I am feelin’ de Spirit and would like to ask you permission to share this post with our online community at CASA. Warm (actually cold) wishes form Toronto. Rafael

  2. Michael N. Jagessar

    I am based at the United Reformed Church Office, Tavistock Place in London, Blessings, Michael j

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