On this Pentecost morning, rather than start with a story, I’d like to “get right into it”. A well-known contemporary spiritual writer by the name of Ron Rolheiser offers us a a very beautiful way to look at what we are celebrating today as it relates to the ebb and flow of all of our lives. He says that the reason why we are restless and frustrated is that our life is often out of sync with its “proper spirit”. And because of this, we need to “let Pentecost happen”.
Pentecost is part of a cycle of life that has five moments: Good Friday, Easter, the Forty Days, Ascension, and Pentecost. We understand Pentecost only when it’s seen as the culmination of the other four moments. It works like this: On Good Friday, life is lost; on Easter, new life is received; during the Forty Days, the disciples adjust to a new presence of Jesus; at the Ascension, the disciples let go of the Jesus they once had; and at Pentecost, they receive a new spirit for the life they’re now living.
Pentecost is an ongoing lifelong mystery. We suffer many losses—-loss of youth, loss of health, loss of loved ones, loss of wholeness, and the loss of countless things that are precious to us. Yet, we are never dead! We’re always given new life. But if we are trying to live that new life with our former spirit, we will find ourselves deeply out of sorts. We need Pentecost, daily, in our lives. It harmonizes our life with its proper spirit.
And that is the powerful message that the Apostles were able to share through the power of the Holy Spirit with all the nations: Believe in Jesus Christ; you can begin again; don’t let sin and evil overcome you; let God’s Son give you a new outlook on life—-a new vision—-a new Spirit. The loss you experience is not the end of the world, it’s not the end of your world. That very message is proclaimed to us today. The ebbs and flows of live are a necessary part of our journey here on earth. Let it mold you and transform you. Rejoice in what the Lord is trying to accomplish in your life. Be filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Before I end this morning, I would like to say something about the tragic events that have been taking place in our country these past few days. I’m speaking of the murder of George Floyd, a Minneapolis security guard, father, son, and friend to many. The way he died was horrifying to see. And it was clearly an abuse of force and power by the police involved, and this kind of brutality is certainly unbecoming of law enforcement officers and below their dignity. We pray for justice.
However the looting and vandalism and violence that we are now seeing in cities around the country, and in our own city of Philadelphia, doesn’t help the situation and doesn’t honor the memory of the man who was murdered. It only complicates an already tragic situation!
So, let us pray for the repose of the soul of George Floyd, and also for his family and friends who are undoubtedly grieving and mourning at this time. Let’s pray as well that we are are rightfully outraged by what has happened will be guided to address effectively and peacefully the wrongs committed and to work together in restoring justice, peace and harmony throughout our nation and in all of our communities.
This prayer we need now more than ever:
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and instill in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created and you shall renew the face of the earth.