I have done a lectionary doodle closer to the reading here if you want to take a look. This year I decided to reflect on what happened as a consequence of the coming of the Holy Spirit.
I was pondering how the disciples hidden and afraid defeated from Jesus death, not knowing how to move forward, were miraculously transformed from the encounter with the Holy Spirit. They were no longer ruled by fear and instead were so confident in the faith they would not stop proclaiming the Good News that Jesus delivered to the world that for most of them, it cost them their lives.
I don’t know what the church is like where you are, but a lot around me are seeing the church aging and the lack of young people coming or staying in the church and they are very afraid. What will the future become? What about this church? What are we to do? This weekend we celebrate Pentecost, one of my favourite seasons, swarming with red and orange and flames. The symbol of the spirit that of fire from the acts reading. The promise that God chooses to remain with us even today!
We have pretty bad fires here in Australia they are really powerful. They destroy homes, lives and property and move so quickly that you cannot out run them. I discovered recently that Churches are particularly bad in a fire they burn very hot and very quickly because of the big open spaces in them. Last week I talked about the Spirit as companion but this week I want to reflect on the Spirit as fire. You cannot control it, it changes the landscape in a moment. This companion who journeys with us is not one we can control but holds within the fast paced powerful creativity of God that transforms.
I wonder what would happen in the people hidden in their churches afraid if this weekend they were blessed with the reminder of the Spirit that was within them, one that blows thier thinking in a whole new way, one that gives them the courage to speak where for so long they have been silent. What have we got to lose people? The land is barren and dry the seeds cannot sprout until the heat and the flames pass over it. That breathe that fire is still with us today. The disciples lives were so transformed they were never the same again, no longer hidden in fear, but courageous in action and word. I wonder what would happen if we stopped holding the spirit so tightly as our companion who journeys with us alone and let ourselves be open to the courageous acts of love service and word that maybe we have been too afraid to do. My prayer is that small hidden frightened band would transform my city, which would spread the fire of love across the planet. Wouldn’t that be amazing!
May this week as we sing and celebrate how brilliant it is to have God’s presence with us may we have the courage to let it go a little and see what God can do even within us!