Skip to main content

Rector’s Reflection 5.25.23

By May 25, 2023No Comments

Beloved St. John’s community,

Sunday is Pentecost: the day some call the “birthday of the Church,” the outpouring of a tornado-like fiery Holy Spirit on the grieving disciples in the Upper Room, transforming them into fearless agents of the New Creation. This process began with new language: new ways to express what they had already seen and witnessed, but which they would take a lifetime to even begin to understand. What they had seen was that the crushing power of brutal, cruel, violent empire, and its consort the religious authorities of the day, could not destroy the power of Jesus’ life and compassion. The powerless power of Jesus—love alone, healing alone, compassion alone—was greater than the ugly, callous power of betrayal, torture and crucifixion.

Pentecost happened the same day that millennia before, the newly liberated Israelites in the wilderness received the Torah, the instruction of God, on Mount Sinai. A better understanding of Torah, rather than law, might be wisdom. The deep knowing of what was right, no matter what distortions their history had taught them. The giving of God’s wisdom on Mount Sinai and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost: are twin events: they release in us an intimate connection with the power of beginning again. In Pentecost, the Holy Spirit grants us wisdom and the ability to be regenerative—to produce fruit that has in it the seeds of future life.

When I was in formation to become a priest, I was at a retreat with my cohort and we were talking about how God the Creator and Jesus the Christ were prominent in our liturgy and education and thinking, but the Holy Spirit was fairly minimal. We joked that instead of a “Trinity” we really had a “Binity.” But the Holy Spirit is the very power of Creation itself, and is the indwelling power of the love and compassion of Christ, the power that enables us to do what Jesus did and even more than that.

I submit to you that our imagination is too small if we do not dare to hope that the mighty power of the Holy Spirit cannot shake us, turn us upside down, and make us agents for the transformation and healing so desperately needed in our own lives and in the world. It’s time to truly embrace the TRInity, not just the Creator and Christ.

It is time for new language about the ancient reality of God’s love and compassion and power of creation. It’s time to recover passion and fecundity in our worship and living and religion. It’s time to let our hair down a little and imagine and dance and play.

It’s Pentecost, friends. Come, Holy Spirit, come.

With love and joyful anticipation,