From the Deacon’s Bench - May 25, 2020
This week we are approaching Pentecost. Fifty days after Easter we celebrate the birthday of the Church. It is often seen as the second most important date in the Church year. We all know the story of the disciples and the coming of the Spirit. They went out from where they had been hiding in order to declare the love of God to the crowds as proclaimed by Jesus. An event to inspire us to live as Jesus showed us and to share God’s love with the world around us today.
There are places in Europe that treat the Monday after Pentecost as a holiday, in the same way that we used to treat Easter Monday as a holiday. In England, it was called Whitsunday; Whit Monday is a public holiday. White would often be worn with confirmations and baptisms being scheduled for the day.
Pentecost found its way into literature. In the stories of King Arthur, it was said that he always gathered the knights of the round table together at Pentecost and shared a feast with them. Unlike our world in 2020, it is usually a time for gathering to celebrate. We proclaim that the Spirit is with us in order to guide us to living and proclaiming the Word of God as shown and told to us by Jesus. Not quite the same this year, I guess.
Having said that, the world has experienced periods of isolation in the past. It just hasn’t been part of our experience in our recent history. We have ways of overcoming the isolation using technology unlike previous generations. But at the end of it all, our celebration of Pentecost must start within us. Being with others may help stoke the fire, but the embers of that fire known as the Spirit are within us, waiting for us to bring it to a flame that will show others how God is with us.
So many years ago, as a Scout, they taught us to make a campfire. When the embers were glowing, we would blow upon them in order to fire up the embers to catch the wood. Within us, our embers may be glowing, waiting for the breath of the Spirit to fire it up. The Spirit comes to us in so many ways. It can be through those around us as they inspire us. It can be from the words we take in from writings coming from so many sources. It can be from God’s world as we go through it. The Spirit flows through our world waiting for us to recognize it in God’s creation. We may not always be looking for it, but it waits for us to find it.
White may have been worn, yet red is the colour the Church has chosen as the colour of the day. Red as in fire. If it gets out of hand fire can also destroy, as we saw last year in Australia. When the Church has gotten out of hand, it has at times destroyed by imposing an over-zealous spirit as opposed to inspire. We need to build the fire, but we can’t let it lose the Spirit that keeps us on the right path.
Yesterday we celebrated Ascension Day. A clergy colleague wrote how that is the day that Jesus started to work from home. Next it is Pentecost. Let the Spirit guide you and inspire you so the world will finally experience the love of God as envisioned by our Lord. Alleluia!
No matter where we are, the intricacies and complexities of God’s world are around us. It is a beautiful world at times. It can be a scary world at times when we face the complexities of viruses or other parts of creation that can be a threat to us. It also makes me think about how often are we the viruses that threaten other parts of God’s creation? But at the end of it all, I am grateful that God has allowed us to appreciate those complexities and be a part of it. Over the upcoming weeks, I will look forward to watching the flowers emerge on my lilac bush. What will you be looking forward to?