Pentecost. Not a word you’ll find in the secular vocabulary in the same way that “Christmas” and “Easter” are found, complete with all their cultural adhesions. You can’t buy “spirit flames” at the Dollar Store – thank goodness!
Fifty days have passed by since Easter; fifty days of ‘getting used to’ resurrection. Now we have to brace ourselves for another intrusion, this time of the Spirit of God. Pentecost is a ‘lively’ feast to say the least. The Spirit of God “hovered” over primordial chaos, God’s creation agent. Spirit’s presence was felt, usually powerfully, by prophets like Ezekiel. Spirit was seen again when Jesus began his ministry, a hovering messenger of the delight of God for this child of humanity doing God’s work.
The feast we celebrate this Sunday speaks of this lively Wind-Fire Spirit invading the world with word, with power, with wind, noise and flame. The four walls of that upper room the first Pentecost could not contain her; and, please God, our four walls at Cedar Park will not contain nor constrain this Spirit of Life either. Holy Spirit is not to be caged; breath, wind and fire are notorious for ignoring human boundaries. Since that first day when language barriers were broken so that the Dream of God could be proclaimed and heard, Spirit has been knocking down barriers all over the place.
It’s not surprising then that “Church” with a capital “C” is a little nervous when Spirit blows, or flares or flames within its walls. What will Spirit do? What system will be challenged, what barrier will be broken, what dead tradition will be blown away, or revived with new life? What comfortable barrier will she blow down in order to let God’s freedom in?
God’s Spirit, hovering from creation’s first breath, unleashed in the life, death and rising of Jesus the Christ, is a creative, inclusive, challenging, cleansing, invigorating presence. Her presence is seen in those who feel her flame and are energized to join in barrier-breaking in the name of God’s Kingdom/Dream.
When we pray, this coming Sunday “Come, O Holy Spirit”, we’ll be inviting all that creative liveliness into the heart of our lives together. Expect it to be a wild ride!
If you’re planning to come to worship this Sunday, wear “Spirit colours” – flame red, orange, yellow, gold!