The great feast of Pentecost is sometimes described as the birthday of the church.

Well it didn't start out very well.

The disciples were huddled together in a single enclosed room. 

They were closed in on themselves too.

Their hearts were afraid.
They had been told to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. It was a promise.
Jesus had also left them with a mission to go out to all the world and make disciples.
During the ten days between Ascension and Pentecost, they must have been increasingly aware of the magnitude of the task that lay ahead of them.
During the three years of Jesus’ ministry, they had enjoyed His exhilarating presence with them.   
During the forty days between the Resurrection and Ascension they had been encouraged and blessed by his visits and appearances. 

But during those ten days they must have felt very empty. 
They were more aware than ever of the importance of Jesus' presence with them – and now he was gone.   
Jesus had told them, “Apart from me you can do nothing,” and how obvious that was. 
They were weary, lonely, despondent, grieving and confused.

They were not like minded individuals - far from it-  they were grappling with the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus - they were arguing as to what it all meant.

Their emotions oscillated between the joy of knowing Jesus was alive and their grief at standing on the threshold of a baffling life without him.

They had been initially overjoyed to see a new richer life of Jesus after his death and ascension- but they still found it all a mystery and were having a rough time giving up clinging to what had been.

They still did not really know how they were to continue to receive Jesus in a new way.
They could not conceive what the future had in store for themselves or how to live it.

It was now at Pentecost that they were to receive the breath and fire of the spirit to open up the new life that was within them.

This radical new life enabled them to open up to each other their vulnerabilities.

Then they could carry each other to transcend their differences.

They were reconciled in an apostolic community.

Now they were free to move out into the world.

The  power of the Holy Spirit was at work in them in a deep and loving way.

The hallmarks of their common vision were 
self control, 
and long suffering.

They now shared in prayer, the rites of passage, their joys and fears and their hospitality.
Now their hearts had many rooms; 
stretched wide open and all encompassing for persons of every temperament , language or background imaginable.

They had a mission.
They had fire in their souls.
Now they could step over the threshold of their fear and spread the message.

Pentecost is not only a singular event but a continuous process of renewal in our individual lives and in the community of the church.

We find ourselves in the world in the space between Easter, Ascension and Pentecost at various times .

At the heart of much of our life and activity a deep spiritual crisis exists.
Despite attempts by the church at reassessment and relevance there remains the haunting sense of something lacking or unfulfilled and a feeling of spiritual impotence.

To be responsive to the Holy Spirit today requires an emptiness, just as it did for the disciples .  

The paradox of personal emptiness means we can open up.“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
We all need to rediscover the Pentecostal reality ; we need the dynamic breath and fire of the Holy Spirit to renew us all. 

This is a beautiful piece of music with images to match for Pentecost. Lyrics in Latin and English follow below.

Want more ??!!

Lyrics to 
Veni, Creator Spiritus
Veni, creator Spiritus
mentes tuorum visita,
imple superna gratia,
quae tu creasti pectora.

Qui diceris Paraclitus,
altissimi donum Dei,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas
et spiritalis unctio.

Tu septiformis munere,
digitus paternae dexterae
tu rite promissum Patris
sermone ditans guttura.

Accende lumen sensibus,
infunde amorem cordibus,
infirma nostri corporis,
virtute firmans perpeti.

Hostem repellas longius
pacemque dones protinus;
ductore sic te praevio
vitemus omne noxium.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
et Filio qui a mortuis
Surrexit, ac Paraclito,
in saeculorum saecula.

Come, Holy Spirit
Come, Holy Spirit, Creator, come,
From your bright heavnly throne,
Come take possession of our souls,
And make them all your own.

You who are called the Paraclete,
Best gift of God above,
The living spring, the living fire,
Sweet unction and true love.

You who are sevnfold in your grace,
Finger of God’s right hand
His promise teaching little ones
To speak an understand.

O guide our minds with your bless’d light,
With love our hearts inflame;
And with your strength, which ne’er decays
Confirm our mortal frame.

Far from us drive our deadly foe;
True peace unto us bring;
And through all perils lead us safe
Beneath your sacred wing.

All glory to the Father be,
With his coequal Son;
The same to you, great Paraclete,
While endless ages run.
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Meredith Gould said...

I'm delighted and not at all surprise that we -- you and I -- have chosen many of the same images for Pentecost posts. Sister!

Philomena Ewing said...

Hi Meredith. Good to hear from you. You have several blogs so which one do I look on ?

claire said...

Your reflection is simply fantastic, Phil. Thank you.