Over a year later he decided to come to see me and to see Dublin. As happens with the young, as happened on the Camino, as was happening now – he drew me out of myself, taking me to places, to experiences that are new. Temple Bar is one of the places he was keen to see so we went there in search of the TradFest, which began on January 22.
We came across Moxie, a young band of students from Limerick and Sligo, who play traditional Irish music with a contemporary edge. A wonderful sound! There’s a freshness, a vibrancy in the way young people play music because they have not yet become cautious and what they create is a very joyful blend of the old in the new, the traditional in the present.
It strikes me that life in the Spirit is very much like music, the kind of music that Moxie has to offer. The Holy Spirit makes all things new, even the ancient truths of the Bible are made new by the Spirit who expresses them in the present in ways that touch people’s lives. The truths themselves, the Truth doesn’t change but it is always fresh and new in its expression.
The Holy Spirit expresses the reality of God in our lives in different ways, according to the gifts that we are given. One of the early Fathers of the Church says that the Spirit takes the shape of the person in whom he lives, as water takes the shape of the vessel into which it is poured. It is the same Spirit but seen and experienced differently in each person and no one person possesses all the gifts but we the Church, the community of God’s people share all the gifts together, for the good of all.
Some people have wisdom, understanding; some are teachers or preachers; some have the gift of music or language; some are carpenters, builders, cooks, cleaners; nurses, priests, teachers. There is an infinity of gifts and it is good that each of us knows in what way we are gifted, how the Spirit is expressed in our lives. (1 Corinthians 12: 12-14. 27)
Among the effects of the Spirit are joy and freedom. When the people were crying as listened to the Word of God Ezra told them 'Go, eat the fat, drink the sweet wine, and send a portion to the man who has nothing prepared ready. For this day is sacred to our Lord. Do not be sad: the joy of Yahweh is your stronghold. (Nehemiah 6. 8-10)
When we listen to God’s Word attentively it will sometimes make us cry in repentance but even in repentance we are called to joy because the joy of the Lord is our strength.
There is the defining moment in the life of Jesus in Luke’s gospel chapter four when Jesus stands up in the Synagogue to read. They give him the scroll of Isaiah and in it Jesus sees his own anointing: the spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives…(Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21)
This text was fulfilled in Jesus in his day; it is fulfilled in Him now – in us when we take it to heart, allow it to have an impact on our lives. In Jesus we find the possibility of being liberated from whatever oppresses us, the destructive forces that hold us captive. When we look into our own hearts we don’t need anyone to tell us how we need to be liberated; we know it ourselves and there is not one of us who does not yearn to be free of something. Jesus is anointed to free us. We are anointed to be set free.