21 Personal Pentecost
Personal Pentecost

Sunday night, July 5th, 1970 there was a prayer meeting scheduled at one of the chalets at L’Abri. I asked Peter, aka Barbara, if I should go. She went to a Christian college and was experienced in such things. “Boring,” she told me, but I thought I might as well give it a try. Maybe it would have similar positive effects as those promised by Transcendental Meditation.

When I arrived at the chalet for the meeting I found a spot on the floor and waited as the hushed atmosphere gave way to simple, extemporaneous prayers. It was very different from The Book of Common Prayer I grew up with in the Episcopal Church. People were pouring their hearts out to Someone, speaking as if Someone was there who not only cared about their concerns, but might do something about them. I appreciated the stillness which was similar to what I attempted with TM, but these prayers were not repetitions of an unknown mantra, but specific content related to important needs.

I had been depressed and confused for so long, and my brain had been so negatively impacted by LSD, that I basically stopped talking. But during the prayer meeting coherent thoughts began forming in my mind, and as I felt a sensation like fire burning in my bones, I knew something momentous was happening. I opened my mouth and asked God to help me.

When the prayer meeting ended I got a ride home in an old VW bus. But soon I felt sick and the bus had to pull over so I could vomit on the side of the road. Years later I understood that instead of an illness, the Holy Spirit was beginning to cleanse me from the false gods and idols I had invited into my soul.

God continued to change me. I carried a tiny New Testament in my pocket, not to read, but as a talisman. That night I opened it at random to the Book of Acts and was amazed as I saw the people moving across the pages as if they were real. My eyes were opened and I realized that the Bible was the missing link
I had been searching for—the road map pointing me to meaning and purpose. Ever since then my passion has been to find ways to make the Bible come alive for others.

When the housemother learned what happened to me on the way home that night, she insisted I stay in bed for a couple of days drinking tea and reading Edith Schaeffer’s book, L’Abri. It was a welcome respite. By the time I was back among the community, the hippies had left to find their guru and I had found the true God.

Burning in my bones