Sometimes, it’s hard to describe or nail down the Charismatic movement – kind of like the wind. Though it started in the 20th Century, it has roots going back much further. Though there are charismatic churches with this emphasis, the movement cuts across church and denominational lines. It is found in almost all denominations these days, and has touched almost all churches in one way or another. Like the wind, or a breath of fresh air, it tends to replace the stale air and cobwebs with vibrant air that refreshes and renews life.
The Charismatic movement focuses on the work of the Holy Spirit. The Greek word charisma, which can mean grace, also translates as anointing, with the New Testament often associating it with the gifts or enabling of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit renews the believer (and the church) to experience and express an immediate, heartfelt sense of the love of Christ, and gives the believer (and the church) the power to live a transformed life to follow Christ and live by the law of love.
While the Charismatic movement varies, with some emphasizing the gifts, or supernatural gifts, of the Holy Spirit, and the baptism, or filling, of the Holy Spirit, others emphasize the renewal the Holy Spirit brings in the life of the believer and the life of the Church. However, all variations find a renewed vigor, power, immediacy in worship, along with a freedom to experience and express a deep and close love of Jesus.
While we don’t necessarily have to become a Charismatic church, I hope we can borrow from the best in the Charismatic tradition in our church by actively seeking as much of the Holy Spirit in our lives (and in our church) as God is pleased to fill us with, to seek the gifts and renewal the Holy Spirit brings, and the freedom to experience and express a close, deep love of Christ.