Rebirth to Life (part 6)

In the power of the Spirit we are not only opened to a new awareness and called to the task of living with an open embrace of life. More than this, we are empowered to live this new life. The powers of darkness are broken by the power of the Spirit, and in the power of the Spirit we experience a new vitality. We are awakened, turned away from the abyss, and directed towards God’s eschatological reality. This new perspective on all of life in turn begins to expand our participation in this new life.

We see new possibilities, new spaces for action, new freedoms to stretch our creativity within. “Life in the Spirit,” Moltmann writes, “ is a life in the ‘broad place where there is no cramping.’ So in the new life we experience the Spirit as a ‘broad place’—as the free space for our freedom, as the living space for our lives, as the horizon inviting us to discover life” (178).

Moltmann titled his autobiography with this in mind, seeing his own theological explorations as a participation in this ‘broad place.’ In this broad place, in this space in the Spirit, we encounter a truly holy life of exocentric freedom.

He finishes the eighth chapter with these words, “We explore the depths of this space through the trust of the heart. We search out the length of this space through extravagant hope. We discover the breadth of this space through the torrents of love which we receive and give. God’s Spirit encompasses us from all sides and wherever we are (Ps. 139). Christ’s Spirit is our immanent power to live—God’s Spirit is our transcendent space for living” (178ff.)

What does this more fully mean in our participation with others and with God? Moltmann now turns, in his next two chapters, to this topic, looking first at our charismatic powers for life, and then at our mystical experiences with God. These discussions flow out of and reflect his previous discussions with his interests, it seems, less about trying to offer a more thorough discussion of these two practical topics, and instead illustrating particular areas of interest for Moltmann himself or areas that are of particular, contextual importance.

Moltmann is not interested in asserting some kind of standard template of charismata that should be experienced by everyone. Rather, here he makes a strong assertion for the uniqueness of the Spirit in the particularity of each person and situation. As it is the Spirit who enlivens us as we are meant to be, we cannot look to the Spirit to make us or form us in ways which are not inherent to our identity.

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