Yesterday evening we had our first guests in our new home--it was a work-related event for the Lady of the House, and many neighbors streamed into our backyard. So many, in fact, that the number was more than I (novice at the grill) would have been overwhelmed. One of the guests was a grill artist, and he jumped in and took over; another guest, and old friend of mine, used her cooking school skills to liven up our food. I was as much guest as host, and was taken by the generosity and warmth of my new neighbors.
One of the guests told us, near the end of the evening, about how her faith had helped her through a series of illnesses afflicting her husband. Her voice took on a preacher's cadences as she described herself praying with her husband's doctors. And then she used that great phrase, describing herself as "storming the mercy seat" on her husband's behalf. (He was there, by the way, a gentleman with a quiet, dry sense of humor).
So often we see emotion in church abused, or coupled with a suspect "enthusiasm" (from Charles Chauncy on to the present. A reminder of the salutary face of it--the power of the Spirit in the daily lives of people of faith--is like a shot of vitamins to a spiritual pilgrim. And a reminder that the intellectual side of Christianity, powerful and vital though it is, is not the whole of the faith. Not by a long shot.