Holy Spirit- It Was Meant to Be! –

Ray Manning (right) and me


As I walked from my office fidgeting with the batteries for my wireless microphone last Wednesday, I saw a man blocking my path, it was Ray Manning.  Ray is a friend who goes all the way back to New Orleans.  I met him when I was in divinity school doing a summer internship at the Central Congregational United Church of Christ.  He was dating Michelle Dejoie, the sister of one of Denise’s classmates from Yale.  Her mother invited me over for dinner and I met the three sisters, a brother, and Ray.  Ray was closer to me in age and we hit it off immediately.  He and Michelle eventually were married and lived for a while in Detroit.  We traveled with Ray and Michelle and had a lot of fun with them over the years.  Michelle died last year.  He and Micelle, Denise and I were good friends.

Ray has an architectural design firm in New Orleans.  Since Katrina, his firm has done many of the largest projects in that city.  He came by my church last Wednesday because he said his flight was canceled and he had some time to kill in Detroit.

Ray is the kind of friend you can stay away from for a long time, but when you connect it is as if you never lost a beat.  So, Wednesday, when I saw him standing in the narthex/lobby of the church, I knew it would be a good day.  After worship we stopped by Shinola to look at watches and bicycles.  We went next door to the Traffic Jam and Snug for lunch.  It was great catching up.  I introduced him to Carolyn Howard who along with her husband are the owners of the Traffic Jam.  She has a sister and brother in New Orleans who own a restaurant and bicycle rental business that are close to where Ray lives.  Small world!  As we walked out the restaurant, Ray got a serious look on his face.  He said, “Nick, let me tell you why I am in Detroit.  I came to Detroit to interview a young architect who I am considering hiring to work at my firm.”  I jumped the gun and told him about Kim Dowdell, a young female architect who is helping my church to design a columbarium to house ashes of cremains.  Ray’s head snapped, smiled and said, the woman I interviewed told me she was helping to design a columbarium for a church, but I did not ask her the name of the church!  It has to be the same person!  I told him how impressed I was with the young architect and was sure she would make a nice addition to him company.  When he learned it was the same person, he smiled and said, “It was meant to be!”

We talked a little bit about following the lead of the Holy Spirit.  It was the Holy Spirit that led him to my church.  The Holy Spirit that caused his flight to be canceled.  And, it was the Holy Spirit that opened his and my eyes.  I told Ray how I routinely listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  I believe that in his own unique way, Ray also listens for the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12: Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Let Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What process do you use to determine if you are being led by the Holy Spirit?
  2. What does the Holy Spirit mean to you?


Prayer:  Holy Spirit, guide me.  Open my eyes that I might see where you are leading me and what you would have me to do.  Holy Spirit, humble my pride that I might better understand your direction.  Free me so I might become a better listener.  Loose me, so I might become a better follower.  Embolden me, so I might better stand up for you.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Henrietta Carson

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations written and taken by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/



[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (1 Co 12:3). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.