Heard this week on a talk-back session: “Three places you do not wish to go are Court, hospital or Church; unless you wish to be married or buried.”
I wonder what the Holy Spirit makes of that!
Some two thousand a years ago, an event happened in Jerusalem…one not merely recorded in Scripture but written about in other ways. For many individuals, life changed dramatically on that particular day which ended the Jewish feast of Shavuot. For seven weeks following Passover, the Jewish communities were celebrating their becoming God’s people following the celebration of their deliverance from Egypt on Passover. Jerusalem was thronging with pilgrims from all over the known world. It was time for the Spirit to act, and it did: “We hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.”
And two thousand years later, some want us to do it all again in Latin! But it is not simply about language.
In one sense it is about the marvels of God.
How often do we stop and really talk to one another about the marvels of God? A little like Louis Armstrong sang so well. It is about “the colours of the rainbow…the smiles on the faces of the people going by”. It is about the many ‘John Vaniers’ found in all parishes and communities making a difference.
The sequence has timely words for us today:
“If thou take thy grace away
Nothing pure in man will stay
All his good is turned to ill.”
Lots of grace is missing in our world today. Our age is experiencing deliberate attempts to displace the life of God and erase that memory from people. Historically, that attempt is not new; it’s been tried before. Our instant Google filled experience hinders our need to stop, pause, listen and experience the presence of the Other. There is more to life than to avoid Courts or hospitals. There is more to faith than being married or buried in a church.
Let us ask this Pentecost that “our wounds be healed, our strength renewed. And wash the stains of guilt away”
Indeed, in confident faith let us call loudly to the Holy Spirit to renew the face of the earth.