Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church - Outreach - Blogs - TEEZing Out The Roots
"1Look, I am sending my messenger who will clear the path before me;
suddenly the Lord whom you are seeking will come to his temple.
The messenger of the covenant in whom you take delight is coming,
says the Lord of heavenly forces.
2Who can endure the day of his coming?
Who can withstand his appearance?
He is like the refiner’s fire or the cleaner’s soap.
3He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver.
He will purify the Levites
and refine them like gold and silver.
They will belong to the Lord,
presenting a righteous offering."--Malachi 3:1-3
Sundays at Chimwemwe Presbyterian church are exhilarating for me. They give me energy in the way that church should give energy. Today, after singing and dancing to a Bemba song about riding on a bus that Satan can't drive--including a conga line around the sanctuary--thank you PYOCA for preparing me with energizers all those years--we sang the lyrics, "Send us your fire, your Holy Ghost fire!"
While trying mightily but failing to understand the Bemba sermon, I was reflecting on the Malachi passage in light of the worship experience. All I could feel was pure joy! At first this joy seemed to be at odds with the idea of being refined in fire and purified by some powerful cleansing soap. Then the Holy Ghost fire singing and dancing came back to me. I thought, "Why do we think of purification and being cleansed as painful, onerous processes? How do we so easily lose sight of the exhilarating freedom that comes from shedding the dirt, the stench, the dead skin?"
Granted, going through a fire meant for the refinement of precious metals and then being scrubbed raw by strong soap would be a truly painful experience. For silver and gold, though, such is the process that makes it shine. Many of us have learned through society and our churches and the societies within our churches that we must suffer and go through experiences of crippling guilt in order to be holy, to be doing faith right.
Today I say, "Not so!" Shedding that which holds us back can be joyful! The Spirit makes us beautiful and acceptable through song, through dance, and through community celebrations!
I think we have a choice as to what type of refiner's fire we go through...being raked through the coals and scrubbed raw or going through the Holy Ghost fire.
Send us your fire, your Holy Ghost fire!