Years ago, my children and I found a baby robin on the sidewalk near our home. Distressed that the bird had fallen, we put it back in its nest, only to find it down again later that day.
I called a bird specialist who told me that birds learn to fly on the ground, where they learn to feed themselves. After several days, the mother bird calls them upward on their strengthened wings.
Life in the Spirit works much the same way. Before we can soar in the Spirit, we must be grounded in God. The community of faith teaches us to feed on God’s word; it is the place from which we take off and where we land.
I believe this is the meaning of the descending dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit in the story of Jesus’ baptism. The dove is moving earthward, not skyward. The Spirit of God has to land in our minds and take root in our hearts before we can “mount up with wings of eagles” (Isaiah 40:31).
The descending of the Spirit upon Jesus is accompanied by a voice from heaven that grounds Jesus firmly in God: “You are my beloved Son” (Matt. 3:13-17). Jesus had the assurance that God’s blessing was the sacred ground from which to launch his life and ministry.
This Pentecost, I pray that you and I learn to be grounded in God’s love and live more fully in the Spirit. This is the ministry of The Upper Room—to deeply nourish the souls of one another by sharing God’s love and guidance. From strengthened, well-nourished roots, vibrant spiritual lives can grow.
With prayer, love, and financial support, people like you help us invite individuals, families, and communities of faith to experience God’s presence, discover deep spiritual practice, persevere in a life-long spiritual pilgrimage, receive the power God gives for mission, and find formational pathways to know God more deeply.
This material is adapted from The Upper Room.
This story also appeared in the Spring 2018 Fellowship Focus newsletter for friends and donors of The Upper Room. To read the entire Spring 2018 Fellowship Focus, click the below image:
The United Methodist Church in Honduras uses El Aposento Elto, the Spanish language version of The Upper Room daily devotional to start new faith communities. They use "An Easy Plan to Use The Upper Room in Small Groups" found in the back of the magazine. As the groups grow, they build critical mass for new church starts.