“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,” (Luke 4:18)
It’s a sad truth that many people today are living in a spiritual wilderness. Materialism has given us much to make life comfortable– too much some might say. But materialism as a philosophy holds that human beings are simply machines without mind, soul, spirit or purpose. Further, that everything that exists is the result of chance and nothing more. Many years ago I did an “O” level on Classical Civilisation and it is there, within Greek philosophy, that the roots of materialism may be found – with Thales of Miletus and other Ionian philosophers. One of them, Democritus (460 BC), came up with the ingenious theory of “atomism” which stated simply holds that atoms and the void in which they collide is all there is. It’s a fascinating subject one I am currently revisiting in the MA I am doing on spirituality. Sadly, the atomist concept of reality and its modern counterpart Quantum Mechanics do not grapple with the fact that human-beings are more than automatons. Humans think, plan, feel, reflect, imagine, love, encourage and inspire. Why? Because God created us to be compassionate, insightful, kind, thoughtful and generous rather than cold, indifferent and unresponsive like a machine. So, how does “the Spirit of the Lord” manifest itself in your life? In my studies I have looked at how spirituality is understood by people of other faiths and none. And a common thread with all of them is that people often connect with the “spiritual” through the everyday things of life usually without realising it. Let me give you an example. When I was around 12 I liked nothing more, on a winter’s evening, than putting on my coat and going out to follow the moon. Yes, seriously! I found it fascinating in some inexplicable way. It was as if as I walked the moon kept just ahead of me – so close it was almost in reach as I followed it on and on. What I didn’t realise then but do so now is that for me this was a spiritual experience that brought me closer to God thereby connecting me with the great beyond. What I should have done was linger on that experience, internalise it and then build on it. For others that sense of connectedness might come through prayer, meditation, Bible study, worship, silence, washing the dishes, cooking, a sun-set, listening to music (music and dance also do it for me), vising a sick person and so on. In fact it is likely it will be different for each one of us. So, in this new-year we need to reconnect with the spiritual and develop it. Why? Because spirituality is essential for our faith as well as our physical and mental well-being (i.e. wholeness). Even the NHS has woken up to this as a tool for healing. When the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jesus it had a very profound effect – he was compassionate (he healed people); supportive (he rallied around people) and selfless (he gave his life away) all of which brought him ever closer to God – to the very threshold of heaven. We are not machines we are spirits alive in a body. Our destiny is not the scrapyard but merged with God who is Spirit, energy, power and purpose. When we walk with him we become fully (spiritually) alive: connected, compassionate, inspirational, happy and fulfilled. Look within the Spirit is there! Slow down and listen to him. God is energy and we all need that!