MORE THOUGHTS 10
We have come to the long season of Pentecost. In some ways it seems strange that this is just one season of the Church’s year because we know that the Spirit has been present since the very beginning of everything, “hovering over the waters” in the darkness before the writer of Genesis describes the start of Creation, which continues always. The Spirit in Hebrew is named as “ruach”, the breath of God. It is breath that brings and sustains life. At the beginning of John’s gospel we hear about the Word that spoke creation into being, the Word that is then identified with the person of Jesus who embodied it. He is the Word that brought life and light into the darkness of existence. We can see in these roles that intimately weave into the Trinity: Creator, Son and Spirit. This all calls us back to the core of our own being, as we see that the source and heart of all life comes from beyond us but is a gift of grace and truth to which we are all connected, to one another and to all creation. We are bound together in relationship.
These are concepts that we do not need to try and rationalize. Rather they can open us up to wonder. When we are able to let go of thinking we need to control everything and broaden our outlook, we see things that we often miss. We also glimpse that there is far more going on around us than we think. The intricacy of creation is way beyond our understanding. David Attenborough and others bring us images that astound us. The scientists interpret the workings of the world in ways that indicate how much there is still to learn and how extraordinary the world is. Thinking about the role we play in our small lives calls for humility and openness to wonder, to discerning how we can be part of the Spirit’s ongoing work. Fortunately, we are all given glimpses of how God work’s happens in and around us – those things we may name a coincidences, but are they? How about the times when you suddenly feel you need to phone someone you haven’t been in touch with for a while and you do, only to hear them tell you they had just been hoping, praying that you would get in touch? What about the times when you have been wondering what to do, when things feel blocked, and then something unforeseen happens and everything falls into place? How about the many stories of someone who, for instance, did not have enough money to pay the rent or an overdue bill and then are unexpectedly given a gift of just the right amount. There are countless such stories, yet we so easily become overwhelmed in our lives by what seems like impossibility because we are trying to drive things in our own way. Of course, there are not always solutions like this. The Spirit is not at our beck and call – it blows were it wills, yet it moves in and around us always with a breath of love that breaks through our misunderstandings and draws us together, if we are open to it and to each other.
The celebration of the day of Pentecost may have past, but the work of the Spirit, in the love of Christ continues. Here is a Pentecost poem from Malcolm Guite, a poem for everyday:
Today we feel the wind beneath our wings
Today the hidden fountain flows and plays
Today the church draws breath at last and sings
As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire, air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
And is translated out of death to birth.
The right words come today in their right order
And every word spells freedom and release
Today the gospel crosses every border
All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace
Today the lost are found in His translation.
Whose mother-tongue is Love, in every nation.