Michael has a friend who is so devoted to her church that Michael describes her as “maybe the most religious person I have ever seen.” She is devout, a staunch Roman Catholic. A few days ago, she received the Holy Ghost as evidenced by speaking in tongues. This past weekend as several people sat about talking, her husband told how standing in a Catholic church, his wife began speaking in tongues. So did several other people around them.
It happened this way, as I understand it. It had been announced that a certain priest, touted as a faith-healer, would hold a series of meetings called “missions.” It was during one of these services that he called for the entire congregation to leave their seats and come stand around the front of the church. As this startled group did so, he suddenly sprang onto a piece of furniture (my understanding is that it was an altar) and began loudly speaking in tongues, and at one point encouraged other people to speak in tongues. It was then that Michael’s friend began speaking in tongues, as did others around her.
“It makes me nervous when people speak in tongues,” said one of the group this past weekend as Mike, his friends and family sat about, and the husband told of this experience he observed.
The woman who received the Holy Ghost spoke. “It made me nervous, too.”
It does not surprise me to hear people say that observing someone speak in tongues makes them nervous, nor am I surprised to learn that Mike’s friend who herself spoke in tongues was made a little nervous about the experience. Why am I not surprised? I am not surprised because when a person receives the Holy Ghost, and as evidence speaks in tongues, God has inhabited that person, has moved into their very soul. It is humbling to contemplate. Now, I know God is everywhere–even filling the universe–and long ago, I learned that some aspects of God are not easily described, but I press the point that when one receives the Holy Ghost as I have described it is a life-changing experience. It is glorious and impossible to recount.
Jerry preached in a Phoenix church yesterday, necessitating a guest preacher at our own church. After Mike and I lunched with him and his family and Mike was driving me home, he remarked about the thrust of the sermon, and how it was opportune and fitted exactly to our congregation. “He did not know our challenges or particular situation, Mom,” Mike said. “Yet, almost his every word was directed to our needs.”
It’s amazing; I think of it often. God–the very God–He who created the heavens and the earth and all therein, looks about, sees our needs and moves among us. Into the mind of the preacher, He impresses the words the congregation needs to hear. Into the heart of one sincerely longing for Him, He pours His spirit, and suddenly that one is speaking in tongues. Amazing and yes, somewhat frightful…Why? Because it is holy…because it is supernatural…because it is of Another World.