I positively raced to worship this evening and entered late but to sing 'open the eyes of my heart, Lord' and immediately felt the tangible presence of the Holy Spirit in that place.
I am finding that I need to go 'home' and by this I mean my home church which I haven't really had to leave because I still live nearby and have not moved to college like the other students.
The people here have nurtured me in my faith and watched me grow. They also hold me accountable too. My spiritual director worships here and we all seem to meet with God in similar ways. There are deep connections there.
Theological training is challenging because even though you are in the presence of God and exploring his majesty, you are also exploring other ways of worshipping. This is absolutely necessary but it sometimes feels like rather than seeing your father and mother face-to-face, you email them or text them or a better analogy still, you are trying to talk to them when the line is crackly. I know what I am talking about because we live in a valley and the phoneline to home is not good but my mum and dad still pick up a phone each so that they can talk to me together. So when I worship God in contexts that are a little alien to me, I speak and hear on a crackly line.
It was fantastic this evening to hear clearly and receive in abundance and I think it is the only way that I can keep going through the next two years, although I am open to discovering something to the contrary. My home church will always be a very special place to me, no matter where I end up and to know that I can go there and to the Pentecostal church who suggested i return for 'top-ups' as they put it, is always good to know.
Ralph Martin writes about how 'We are grateful for all our preachers and teachers but some seem to have a special “gift” that is not only the fruit of human eloquence or diligent study but brings with it a sense of God’s presence and has a particular ability to help us recognize that the Lord is present and speaking to us in the preaching or teaching.'
This is how I feel about the people at my home church.