Just a word… Feast of Pentecost…
Just a word… Feast of Pentecost… May 23, 2021
Each of us has a story about how the Holy Spirit has nudged us, revealed something to us or hit us over the head, prompting us to move in a certain direction, or pursue a new way of living, or make some other kind of change in our lives. As far back as the 43rd chapter of Isaiah, the Lord says, See, I do something new. Do you not perceive it?
In our reading from the Acts of the Apostles today we hear of the something new that comes over the gathered disciples, when after receiving the Spirit in quite an unusual fashion, complete with noisy wind and flaming tongues, they are able to proclaim the Good News to the crowd of “devout Jews from every nation,” each of whom heard the Gospel in their own tongue. As is attributed to Teilhard de Chardin, the Lord speaks to every creature in language they can understand.
Paul speaks to the Corinthians of something new in the way of understanding the gift of God who is the Spirit, asserting that each of them (and each of us!) receives the Spirit in a way that is particularly suited to us, but for the benefit of all. Each form of service, each working, comes from the same Spirit, of whom we all drink.
The risen Jesus in the Gospel appears in the locked room, displacing the fear of the dis- ciples with his offer of peace, and sending them forth as he was sent by the Father. Jesus invites them to perceive the God of life, not of death; the God of Love, not of fear; the God of welcome, not of isolation. Jesus wants his followers to thrive and sends the Spirit to inspire us to do so; to open doors, not close them; to create communities that invite, not exclude; to reflect God’s Spirit as inclusive, outward and forward looking, not closed in fear and self-protection.
Jesus invited his disciples to a new way of thinking; see, I am doing something new; do you not perceive it? Jesus showed his followers that his Spirit, his life, would not be restricted to their exclusive group of 12 men, but would be given to 10 times that number of men and women, inspiring them to go forth and teach the nations about God’s love.
Today, on this Feast of Pentecost, we have the opportunity to listen to the Lord’s Spirit and discern our respective roles in the something new that is happening in our parish. We have been through a tough time these past 15 months, and much has changed. The Spirit dances in both our personal and our communal lives, and guides us to reflect on what is important, and what can be left behind. We have the chance to begin anew our journey of faith together and reconsider what feeds us and where God’s Spirit is leading us.
In just the past two weeks, several parishioners have come forward with new ideas for ministry and outreach. We are moving forward with the labyrinth, and other projects are not far behind. We will take the lessons we have learned during the pandemic and emerge from our locked rooms with renewed strength and determination, guided by the Spirit, and re-commit ourselves to play our part in the unfolding of the kingdom of God.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enlighten us to perceive the something new you are creating in our parish.