What can I say about Pentecost that you haven’t heard before? Maybe 10 times before?
Nope. Not in any Episcopal church I’ve ever attended.
Are there Medes handing out bulletins in the back of the church, while the Parthians prepare for the coffee hour and the Cretans and Arabs warm up in the choir? Are there Elamites, Cappadocians and Asians puting on their cassocks and light their torches?
Um, I don’t think so.
wisdom, understanding, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, talking in and understanding spiritual tongues – spiritual expressions that seem foreign to us.
Sometimes, the fruit or vegetable grows differently. It doesn’t look like the others. Still, it is the same inside. It just looks different. And, it has more work to do, still.
Doesn’t seem quite fair, does it? That provides, perhaps, one of the first and most important lessons in life: Life is not fair. That’s not “nice” or “gentle” or “sweet”, but it’s what I know to be true. And, somewhere inside you, in your place of knowing, you know it, too.
It’s more like what the disciples experienced on Pentecost – something like the combination of the strong winds of a tornado mixed in with the teeth-chattering, bone-shaking effect of an earthquake. It can leave you so thoroughly disoriented that you may appear inebriated and intoxicated. Or, at least, you may find that some will seriously question your sanity.
Now, I don't know about you, but I can't even begin to imagine such an event in my life. I would hope that I would act with as much honesty and authenticity, courage and compassion, love and grace as Rita has.
Something that broke your heart, but broke it open so that there was more room than you could have ever asked for or imagined.
Something that stretched your mind past self-imposed and formerly sacred boundaries.
Something so strange you didn’t have the words or even a language to express it.
Something that made you sound crazy or inebriated or intoxicated to others.
Will you allow yourself to surrender to the process so that you might continue to grow and be transformed by it so that it might bear fruit? Or, will you let it die?
I think it’s an especially appropriate – if not a wee bit unorthodox – prayer for Pentecost. I think it echoes the prayer of Jesus who appeared in that upper room and said to his disciples, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”