Skip to main content
Center for Action and Contemplation
Life in the Spirit
Life in the Spirit

A Living Spirituality

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Brian McLaren reflects on the Holy Spirit’s work in the early church and today:  

Following Jesus today has much in common with the original disciples’ experience…. But there is an obvious and major difference between our experience and theirs: they could see Jesus and we can’t. Surprisingly, according to John’s Gospel, that gives us an advantage. “It’s better that I go away so the Spirit can come,” Jesus said [John 16:7]. If he were physically present and visible, our focus would be on Christ over there, right there, out there … but because of his absence, we discover the Spirit of Christ right here, in here, within….  

At the core of Jesus’ life and message, then, was this good news: the Spirit of God, the Spirit of aliveness, the Wind-breath-fire-cloud-water-wine-dove Spirit who filled Jesus is on the move in our world. And that gives us a choice: do we dig in our heels, clench our fists, and live for our own agenda, or do we let go, let be, and let come … and so be taken up into the Spirit’s movement? [1]  

Theologian Grace Ji-Sun Kim urges Christians to be open to the Spirit’s life-giving movement: 

The Holy Spirit makes us “spiritually” alive. It inspires and strengthens us and gives us aspirations, inspirations, and intuitions. It opens us to new truths and enables us to integrate these truths into our minds and lives…. We want the Spirit to open us to its presence so we may be transformed. We believe that this openness to God’s transforming presence will make us truly alive. [2] 

We must be guided by the Spirit in all that we do. We work with the movement of the Spirit as wind, light, and breath to change us and empower us to be agents of change.  

When the Spirit fills our lives, we follow the rhythm of the Spirit. We are guided by the Spirit to become new creatures and become agents of change. We become workers in the Spirit and for the Spirit….  

The love of the Spirit will empower us to work for God: to generate justice, be merciful, and fill the world with God’s love…. As we experience God’s presence, we each contribute to the building of the reign of God here on Earth. It is a task that calls all of us. 

We recognize that this Spirit transforms us to become the best that we can be by our love. Love is the force that challenges us to move towards justice and wholeness. [3]  

Brian concludes: 

In a world full of big challenges, in a time like ours, we can’t settle for a heavy and fixed religion. We can’t try to contain the Spirit in a box. We need to experience the mighty rushing wind of Pentecost. We need our hearts to be made incandescent by the Spirit’s fire. We need the living water and new wine Jesus promised, so our hearts can become the home of dovelike peace. [4] 

[1] Brian D. McLaren, We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation, and Activation (New York: Jericho Books, 2014), 203, 205. 

[2] Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Reimagining Spirit: Wind, Breath, and Vibration (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2019), 72.  

[3] Kim, Reimagining Spirit, 129–130, 132, 136. 

[4] McLaren, We Make the Road, 205. 

Image credit and inspiration: Tim Zänkert, body of water (detail), 2017, photo, Unsplash. Click here to enlarge image. Like sunlight on water, we cannot grasp or clutch Spirit, but its beauty is with us all the same. 

Story from Our Community:  

I’m a marine biologist who retired from my work several years ago. For a long time, I sorely missed working with the salt and fish of the Suwannee Sound. I envied those young and fit enough to continue the work. At 81, I have realized that my life is not about net fishing or mending nets, it’s here at my farm observing the daily fluctuations of Nature. When I leave my farmhouse and look up into the trees or the sky and see the vultures, a neighborly owl, and several squirrels, I see the distant past. I see the Holy Spirit, and I see my true life.  
—Hedy H. 

Navigate by Date

This year’s theme

A candle being lit

Radical Resilience

We live in a world on fire. This year the Daily Meditations will explore contemplation as a way to build Radical Resilience so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or burning out. The path ahead may be challenging, but we can walk it together.

The archives

Explore the Daily Meditations

Explore past meditations and annual themes by browsing the Daily Meditations archive. Explore by topic or use the search bar to find wisdom from specific teachers.

Join our email community

Sign-up to receive the Daily Meditations, featuring reflections on the wisdom and practices of the Christian contemplative tradition.

Hidden Fields

Find out about upcoming courses, registration dates, and new online courses.
Our theme this year is Radical Resilience. How do we tend our inner flame so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or out? Meditations are emailed every day of the week, including the Weekly Summary on Saturday. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time.
In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.