No doubt I got messed up in my tracks going to a church on Sunday – but the Lord made it worth my while anyway, taking the 40 minute drive south. Totally that I confused reading about the guest musician being there last week, and I thought he was supposed to be there this week too, oops… It’s ok, I have already seen him and I take my missteps in stride, I am super human in a wilderness of worldliness. He reminded me of my needed reliance upon Him to make my time anywhere worthy of any work. He did. I was back on track and still was home by 11am.
It’s not the mega fancy-ness, or the hotel-like drive up entrance of the megachurch, it was the TRAIN TRACKS that told me I was in the right place, walking in the door. I have family history and a love of real trains. These were spectacularly set up toy trains, a HUGE popular display. I appreciated the opportunity to SEE. I appreciated the sign displayed: “Life takes you to unexpected places, Love brings you Home.” Yes, I was unexpectedly looking at trains in a huge mega church and thought: I wonder what excitement of Christmas will be brought out of these people who seemed lively? and yet I felt a bit alone in people folk, that happens in a mega church which has that mall-like feeling where no one knows your name, I wonder where/how they connect, rather than train cars passing by in the night. It becomes dependent on the people, like who is sitting on a passenger train, willing to open up and greet the other people, to hear their stories.
I settled up front, the band started and a woman in front of me danced to the music, which was great, but not the guest appearance I expected, oops. The parents next to me took photos of their cute children singing in the choir, the stage was set so beautiful with fake fireplace that it both looked great and looked WAY OVER THE TOP at the same time, it was a great facility and I knew it is IMPORTANT to not feel jealous of the resources as jealousy is against God’s law and yet IMPOSSIBLE to avoid. So we should not give any energy to cynical thought, but we do. It became my cynical humanness creeping up over my Spirit willingness to just BE. Lord help me. It was my COMPLAINING that I knew needed CONTAINING. People are in God’s House, let me be generous with praise.
And so I prayed: “Lord, why am I REALLY here? What’s going to catch me into any sort of in-filling of spirit today? In NJ, they pump your gas for you. How in Jersey will the Holy Spirit pump Itself into my soul? Then what trajectory will you set me on to “go tell it on the mountain” like these cute children sang, Jesus Christ Is Born. Yes He is. I knew that I could dig into the scriptures and so grabbed my purse Bible, as I settled down into knowing God was the Only One Who could get me back mentally on a gratitude track with His Word, YES! And of course as soon as I saw the bulletin blurb of Luke, “John the Baptist”, it was not a surprise as a Spirit splash of a triplicate quadruplicate passage of my month. Luke’s gospel of the visit of pregnant Mary to cousin pregnant Elizabeth, John the Baptist in Elizabeth’s womb LEPT in Joy in meeting Jesus in Mary’s womb. In HOLY SPIRIT pre-swaddle, it was a Jump for Joy.
Go tell it on the mountain: So, it’s not just about our filling, but what then about us feeding? About going over the hills and everywhere? Yes we are to be Jumping with Joy tellers of the Good News, like John the Baptist preached “Repent” we can preach “He is Sent!” And so I appreciated the meat of the sermon very much, because it was about the HOLY SPIRIT.
After the sermon I went back to the tracks. The big kid in front of me at the tracks was how the Holy Spirit hooked me. In a gleeful moment, a gentleman said “HEY” louder than 1000 mega church millings around types whom passed me by and I passed them by like we were in the mall. This gentleman MUST have been working for God! I heard a Holy Spirit leap, I did. I felt open in our chit chat for explaining my love of trains and that my Dad had passed away just this summer and wouldn’t you know it that driving that day I was held up getting to his bedside by a TRAIN. As I spoke this story, the gentleman’s wife came and we all talked not just about my Dad’s passing but her Dad’s too. We had similar stories, we both had to make a choice of where to be when our Dads were perilously close to death. I know God lines up these healing moments. You could say it was eerie similar except I KNEW that the Holy Spirit was SOLIDLY IN CONTROL at this meeting. We were in His Wheelhouse, our time stopped, and people faded in the background during our snow globe conversation. Holy Spirit, I WAS APPRECIATIVE. “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” YUP!
We talked for 10 minutes easily, I shared about my writings, specifically speaking of amazing processing. We both knew at our Dad’s passing that immediately we were to be comforters to our moms and we accepted death instantly as the Spirit met us where we were, healed us, and headed us back out of us to comfort. In train track lingo, it was the quickest ROUNDHOUSE turn.
The warning key chain I grabbed told us to be weary of walking on real train tracks – be safe! But when you are talking about God tracks, STAY ON TRACK. But we are not walking alone are we? No, if we ask for the Holy Spirit to guide us, He WILL put us on track in HIS CAR. If we drop our worldliness and focus on meeting God to talk, he will find the wilderness of aloneness so we can hear Him better. You know when you hear that long-ways-away train whistle but think it’s close? That’s how the Holy Spirit operates. He wants us to hear Him coming around that mountain. He wants us to see the signal lights and the STEAM. He wants us to realize we can hop on His Train – to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
See Holy Spirit tracks? Think JESUS, because ALL His tracks lead Home.
Life takes you unexpected places, LOVE brings you Home.
(PS, later I visited a friend for tea and just now realized that as she works on trains, how classic of God to keep me on track.)
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.
The Birth of John the Baptist.
When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.” They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.” Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.
His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.