I’m lying on the floor of a little store front church. I am exclaiming “I love you Jesus,” and making other beautiful sounds. How did I get there?
All my life has been a spiritual quest. Though no members of my family were church goers, by puberty, I was roaming the city finding churches to attend. Growing up in the South, there is a saying “There are more Baptists than people.” So, it is not surprising that is where I ended up. Later, I was to become a Baptist minister.
There were beautiful spiritual times, especially during revivals. Still, there was a haunting question “Is this all there is?” I might have stayed with the Baptists, however they behaved badly during the integration crisis. I left them, finding a new place in the liturgical Episcopal Church and later became a priest.
There is no higher spiritual experience than that of celebrating the Eucharist/Mass. However, there still was that sense of something missing. But here I am getting ahead of myself.
During the hiatus between Baptist and Episcopalian, in my spiritual search, I meditated with a Hindu guru which took me on incredible spiritual journeys. But still it was not enough.
Then one day, my son challenged me to go with him to one of the new spirit-filled churches that were popping up all over during the 80's. That is when I ended up on the floor.
The young minister asked me if I had ever been baptized in the Holy Spirit. When I said no, he began to praise God in strange sounds. Then pointing to my chest he said, “Praise from here and not from here” pointing to my head.
One of my favorite Hindu techniques was to delineate and meditate inwardly on the seven sounds of the Chakras. So, “what the heck, I’m up for anything.” Doing what he said, I began to hear words like he was making, coming up from the heart Chakra. I gave vent to them. Suddenly the words began to flood up like an untapped geyser. They went on for days.
Next time I went, there was a young man with a guitar leading the worship. Right in the middle of the singing, he stopped. Pointing at me, he said “Brother, the Lord is speaking to me about you.” Then the young man proceeded to tell me all the things I was thinking. Awesome!
Next he asked me to come up front. He barely touched my forehead and I was on the floor. Getting me to my feet, he had people come forth for me to lay hands on. A power shot through me which reminded me of when Popeye use to eat a can of spinach. People began to fall down all over the place. I began to exclaim: “It’s real! It’s real!”
As I sat down I was aware my mind was operating on two tracks. One was filled with joy and the other was my scientific psychological side asking, “Is this some mass hypnotism?” There was a young man who had fallen beside me, As he started to get up on all fours, making sure he could not see me, I surreptitiously moved my hand above him. Wham! He smashed to the floor. Several times more he tried and each time I pointed to his back, he flattened out as if an elephant was standing on him.
From that moment on, everything in my spiritual life would be real--identical to those of the writers of the Epistles. It is sad that so many Christians miss Luke 24:49, including me, the poor little Baptist preacher and Episcopal priest. Jesus said “stay in the city until you have been endued with power (Gr. Dunamis, Dynamite) from on high.” The motley group of disciples cowered in the upper room. Like a roaring wind, the dunamis fell upon them. They went out, changing the world.