thoughts on Pentecost

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Have you read A Deeper Story's blog on preparing for Pentecost?  If not, you can find it here. 

She begins with a quote:

“’I will not take you out of the world.’ There are enormous implications here that I can so easily neglect. Christ was a carpenter for most of his life, and those years were not wasted ones…. Christianity does not isolate the sacred from the secular. Not only are material things good in themselves, they are also signs of God’s loving attention, and they can, if we let them, open up a way to him.”
 -Esther de Waal, Living with Contradiction
 She goes on to talk about connecting with God's Spirit in the mundane.  She is speaking my language.

I too have big prayers for my children, and occasionally we stumble into what feel like holy moments together.  But most of my day is spent dicing grapes, scuttling around for the last clean diaper, digging through the basket of clean laundry to find a favorite shirt.  When I was younger I wanted God to do Big Things with me.  I did not yet appreciate that life itself is made holy by a posture of love and gratitude.  My desire for Big Things was really a desire for achievement, to be recognized as the one who did Big Things for God.  It is a popular Evangelical idea - to "pursue God-sized dreams!".  Yet the holiest people throughout the history of our faith have spent their lives in obscurity, with no ambition except to love and serve the person in front of them.  When I open myself to the reality of God's presence in daily life, and when I can recognize the image of God in the whining little face in front of me, I am pursuing God's dream.  I am learning to love, following in the example of Love Himself.  When I do so, I step in to the reality that the Kingdom of God exists in and through and among us, even  in the mundane tasks of daily life.

And this is the purpose of celebrating Pentecost, right?  Pentecost marks the Church's first encounter with the Holy Spirit.  It ushered a spiritual reality into the world - that Christ's work can and would continue past His resurrection.  The Kingdom of God is here, now.  Emmanuel stepped into our lives, became one of us, and because of His sacrificial love the curtain was torn in two.  There is no more Holy of Holies.  There is no more separation of sacred life and daily life.  It is all sacred, or none of it is - depending on our ability to see and accept Love.

I used to want to do Big Things for God.  Now I want to see the world, and my life, the way God sees it.  I want to recognize God's image in the face of the person in front of me, and to step into the reality of Love's presence among the ordinary.  Lately, what I want most is to live out Pentecost - not in fire and tongues and crowds, but in recognition of the image of God in front of me.  Even in the whiniest little face.

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