Spirit Breath, Spirit Blown
Pentecost, Common Lectionary YearÂ A
Â©2014 Rev. Elisabeth R. Jones
I love Pentecost! Of the big three, itâ€™s perhaps my favourite festival, not least because of the Hollywood-esque howling pyrotechnics of the story, -thereâ€™s so much you can do with it! But perhaps especially because, of the big three, Pentecost is about us. Christmas â€“ thatâ€™s about a baby, about Jesus, and Godâ€™s mysterious incarnation. Likewise, Easter is about Godâ€™s defeat of the power of death, a mystery not of our making; we can only observe. But Pentecost is about us. Itâ€™s ours. Itâ€™s now.
Sure, Holy Spirit looks like sheâ€™s the Oscar-winner Actor in this movie, but her wind-blown flare for the dramatic is directed to draw attention not to herself, but first to that community of grief, transformed by her invasive presenceÂ to one of witness, blown and scattered in a whirlwind of grace upon a broken, battered world desperate for seeds of hope.
Spirit is fearsome in this festival. She is like a wild wind, a wild-fire. Weâ€™d do well, if we were in our right minds, to be wary of this unleashed power of God. She is by her nature unsettling, wild, uncompromising, fierce. Spirit is like a lit match to religionâ€™s wooden structures â€“ due cause for alarm! For she cauterizes falsehood, she burns hot against injustice, sheÂ sweeps down like a hot wind to overturn religious certainty she tears like a tornado, and uproots spiritual laziness, she moans incessantly like a winter wind against the wind breaks we put up to protect us from the messiness of Christ like compassion.
But she has no reason to hover, brood, breathe, sigh, whisper, howl, blow, bend, break, shatter, inflame, inspire, instill, other than to serve her God-given creative purpose: and that is to birth a church, an ekklesia, the gathered- to- be- scattered, the called- in- to- be- sent- out people of God in the world, called in to be sent out to do exactly what she does. She is the power we need to be the Spirit-blown people GodÂ calls us to be.
Iâ€™m not going to cram into one sermon even my partial vision of what Spirit is inspiring us to be as individuals and as Cedar Park United, because we have 23 Sundays between now and the Reign of Christ Sunday to explore together what it means to be Spirit-blown disciples of Jesus Christ, Spirit-filled bodies and souls, called, gifted and equipped to live Godâ€™s Dream in the everyday worlds we inhabit.
But I will say, with conviction, that the Spirit of God is doing just what she said she would, right here;
She said that where she is let loose, a freshening wind, among the people of God, that our sons and daughters, and young people will prophesy – live Godâ€™s Dream in word and actionâ€¦.. (yeah?) That our older ones, men and women will dream dreams, and see visions of a future of faith and hope. (yeh? yeah!) But not for our sake, never just for our own sake for the sake of the world God loves, and aches for.
The Spirit of God is unleashed upon us at Cedar Park to heal and mend the world. Nothing less. A ridiculous, foolish, wild, wind-blown calling, expressed remarkably in a benediction â€“ or blessing, whose origins are lost in time and obscurity, but attributed to the Franciscan tradition.
May God bless (May Holy Spirit unsettle) us with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that we may live deep within our hearts.
May God bless (May Holy Spirit inflame) us with anger At injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, So that we may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless (May Holy Spirit drench) us with tears to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war, so that we may reach out our hands with comfort and healing, and transform pain into joy.
And may God bless (May Holy Spirit blow through) us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in the world, so that we can do what others claim cannot be done to bring justice and kindness to all Godâ€™s children and the poor, to the world and all its creatures.
May God so bless us, Spirit blown. Amen.