God has made Himself present throughout the story of redemption.
God was present with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God was present to Israel in the tabernacle and in the Temple. Of course, God made Himself abundantly, clearly, visibly present in the person of Jesus.
But now, God is present through the Holy Spirit.
In last week’s prayer practice, I told you to refer to the Holy Spirit as your Friend. And I think that is a helpful way to think about Him. The Holy Spirit is a Friend who comes alongside us to support us and to empower us in the life of faith. He is the constant presence of God in your life. So if that’s the case—if God is making Himself present—then where is He? In Eden, He was visibly present to Adam and Eve. In Israel, He made Himself powerfully present with the cloud and the fire. And in Jesus, God could be seen, touched, and heard. But God’s presence now is an invisible Friend?
Even though God’s presence is now invisible to us, His presence now is more beneficial and more effective than His presence ever has been before. The presence of the Holy Spirit is objectively better than God’s presence in the Garden, in Israel, or even in the Incarnation of Jesus. And here’s why: God now resides in you and among you.
This is an excerpt from last Sunday’s service, “The Kingdom: Presence, Place, and People,” which can be heard here.
Photo credit by Wesley Lelleveld.