Day 6 – Bringing the Holy Spirit Home

Mark 1:29–34 NRSV  

As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

Consider This

I believe Jesus intends his church to look a lot more like the scene at Simon’s home than the synagogue. The whole town didn’t gather at the synagogue. The whole town gathered at the door of Simon’s home. I don’t want to diminish the importance of church buildings where people gather, yet I do want to emphasize the importance of understanding our homes as places of church and to acknowledge our neighbor­hoods are filled with people who are sick, lonely, demon possessed and oppressed, depressed, and anxious. These people are far more likely to encounter Jesus in our homes than in our church buildings. It has been said you may be the only Bible some people ever read. It is also true that your home may be the only church some people will ever enter. What would it mean for our homes to have the magnetic appeal of the presence of the Holy Spirit?

Wherever the Holy Spirit is actively working, there you have the church. But it does not follow that just because we call what we are doing “church” that the Holy Spirit is actively working there. I have a close friend who is a leader of a seminary in Russia. On one occasion he told me that if the Holy Spirit was not active in a local church community in Russia there was no way to get people to come. He said you could give away food and clothes and even money and still people wouldn’t come. However, he said, if the Holy Spirit was actively working in a local church community you couldn’t keep people away. He said they would fight their way in if necessary. That’s how I imagine the scene that evening at Simon’s home.

The same is true today. You don’t have to invite people to places where the Holy Spirit is actively at work. In fact, you can’t keep them away.

We are way too in the box when it comes to the Holy Spirit and the active work of Jesus Christ in the world. We tend to think it only really happens in church services. All the emphasis goes on getting the music right, cultivating the mood and feel of the room, and preaching a message designed to evoke a response. What if the bigger possibilities lived around the places we spent our six days instead of so much focus on what happens during one hour a week? What if our homes became the primary locus of church? I don’t know about you, but I’m not actively praying for my neighbors and plotting ways I can do good for them. It just hasn’t occurred to me. It’s time to kindle the fire of the Holy Spirit in our homes.

What if our homes held the spiritual significance of the burning bush—on fire but not consumed; holy ground with a welcome mat?

The Prayer

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

The Questions

When and where is the last time you witnessed or experienced church beyond the building you call the church? What happened?