It is 50 days since Easter, so today is Pentecost, the high holy day when the power of the Holy Spirit entered the lives of the disciples in a rush of power and energy and life was never the same for them or for the rest of the world. That doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit was off hiding somewhere, just waiting for God to call the Spirit into life. The Spirit is part of the Trinity and as such we read about it first in Genesis, when the Spirit of God moved over the face of the waters and creation of this world took place. And the Spirit appeared at the baptism of Jesus and certainly the Apostle John when writing his gospel recognized the Spirit in the life of Jesus. He wrote: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1.1-5 NRSV)
The Holy Spirit is pure power. Walter Bruggeman, in one of his prayers, says of the Spirit. “You summon us to life in the mist of death, peace in the midst of violence, praise in the midst of despair. Filled once again with your unruly Spirit, may we answer your summons and be part of the movement of life.
The past year our world has seen enough of death, of terror, of fear. In our own country we have watched a deconstruction of many of the principles we thought secure. And we have watched the culmination of a decade of division in the election of people to
positions of power who have no sense of history or the role of responsible leadership. No wonder the world is anxious.
That is why I am always grateful for the words of thinking and Spiritual men and women who assist me in making sense of our world as it now stands. Whether it is climate change, growing poverty and the helplessness of the poor, we are being called to a higher purpose. Regardless of where we find ourselves in the world, our age, our state of health, our economic position, we are called to the bigger story as the following author says:
We are living in times when many of the institutions in which we’ve found our identities and placed our trust are revealing their unworkability and brokenness. Unless we are grounded in a Bigger Story and Truth, the falling apart of the system could also be our own undoing. . . this new era—midwifing us to give birth to God’s Light within, allowing us to become more fully who we are. In so doing, we are liberated to move out into this broken and blessed world of ours to do the same. Adapted from Brian Mogren, The Mendicant, vol. 7, no. 2 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2017), 5.
Our times are no different than other times when power, celebrity and money take center stage. People have always been looking for leaders who give direction with purpose and compassion. While I definitely admit to times of despair and see and hear the despair of others, “the unruly Spirit” calls us to rise up and be a part of life. Morgen concluded his thoughts with this bit of poetry.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in. —Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”
On this day of Pentecost, may the power of the Spirit bring light and purpose and may God bless our struggling human race.