What a question to ask. It surely generates conversation. Anyone who has read the scriptures has to admit that the gospels and the book of acts are filled with excitement, energy and renewed lives. It is hard for some to believe, and understandably so, that the Jesus of scripture is the same Jesus who is being proclaimed in churches in the 21st century.
There seems to be a disconnect in both the story and the activity demonstrated in Christianity today. Churches pride themselves on their acts of service, excellent productions and packaged study aids, but the question is, where is the the demonstration and proof that the Jesus of scripture is alive and well?
I recently had a short discussion with a fellow seminarian around the issue of miracles. I was somewhat shocked at the ease in which they dismissed the dynamic of power we see in the text. Concerning the present day activity of God, their reasoning was that, “God was at work in little small ways which we often miss as miraculous. The changing of the seasons, the birth of children and the everyday kindness of people are all evidence of God’s miraculous power.
Not that I deny the truth of those realities, but it seems as though some are too quick to “rationalize” the obvious acts of God’s Spirit in the biblical story. History has shown that whenever we resort to minimizing the power of God we see very little demonstration of it. I often joke that when “God shows up, God shows out” and perhaps the absence of God’s manifest presence has more to do with our unwillingness to cooperate with Spirit than a willingness of Spirit to manifest.
No where in the biblical text nor in historical Christianity where it is expressed that the Spirit of God ceased doing what the Spirit does – create and renew, so the question must be asked why are we not seeing more in our lives, worship services, communities and cities. I for one believe that we are living in the day of the Spirit and are on the edge of another great outpouring of the Spirit.
What about you?