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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

"There's Nothing Sweet About the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit"

I grew up in the youth choir in an Anglican Church in southwest, Nigeria (Osogbo to be precise). I got a flash back of a memory from those years as I read this article today on facebook. We were all holding hands to say the Grace as we always did at the end of Friday choir practice; and so we ended with-

"... and the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us now and forever more..." After this, the youth leader held us back to make a correction in the closing ritual. He goes: "There is nothing sweet about the fellowship of the Holy Spirit so please don't add that to the Grace." I was astonished. Why would anybody even say that? I wasn't really the "deep" Christian back then but I just assumed there was nothing wrong with describing something associated with God with pleasant adjectives like "sweet". But because I knew very little about the word, I always listened to what they told us to do in Church. That was the last day I consciously added sweet to the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

Why did this random memory from the past pop up now and what is its relevance to this post? As I thought deeply about the message in the article I read, I began to see sense in the correction the youth leader made that day and even though I don't know his reasons, I see how it can pose a serious danger for us to think the fellowship with the Holy Spirit is "sweet". Still not making sense? Hold on a sec
Studying the Old Testament has helped me realize a lot of things and one of them being- God is a lot of things, sweet isn't one of them. Yes, He is a loving God who cares for us more than we care for ourselves but never for once does He hold out on being firm with us just to protect our feelings.

The Bible passage God led me to as I was thinking about this post was John Chapter 4 where Jesus talks with a Samaritan woman. Christ calls this woman out on her sin that she seems to be hiding but that isn't even the most important part of their conversation that day. He shares the truth of the gospel with her  and He knew her feelings getting hurt is a very small price to be compared to her entire soul being cast away into burning Sulfur. Jesus was loving, graceful and honest to this woman but He was't sweet..

Jesus Christ rose the bar really high for His disciples. He didn't try to coat His words with a bunch of candies but He spoke in parables, He was real. In all of Paul's letters, he tried his very best to deliver the truth undiluted so as not to reduce their pertinence. So why do we feel the need to "slow things down"so we don't get overwhelmed? Why don't we just face our truth early enough for us to adjust our lives to it not the other way around?

I understand the scope we sometimes try to cover when we describe our fellowship with Christ to others  as "sweet" and sometimes for starters, it's a way to introduce people to Christ. But believe me you, let us not deceive ourselves further by placing a euphoric banner on the Christian walk.The problem with the sweetness of the fellowship with Holy Spirit, at least from my  personal experience, is complacency. We become tolerant of sin because we start to see God as a fairy god father not the Fiery God Father. We start to feed our emotions and expect God  to subscribe to our laziness.

 Let us not dumb down the gospel so it can sound more appealing to the ears. It is not supposed to be sweet, it is supposed to appeal to the heart not to the ears. There is nothing sweet about dying to self daily, there's nothing sweet about carrying a cross daily, there is nothing sweet about turning the other cheek. Sure, the end is going to be very sweet when we there's no more sin but for right now, we are at war and warriors don't stop to get ice-cream ;).

P.S- The word "sweet"is a metaphorical representation of the seemingly "mild' gospel we tend to preach or even live out. God help us all!

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