This morning (28/5/17) we met in the park under a wonderful weeping beech tree just by the river. It was particularly lovely to welcome old friends and so our opening litany of thanksgiving (see previous post) was especially meaningful in giving thanks for reunions. The birdsong that accompanied our worship was just amazing! Because we are apart next Sunday we celebrated Pentecost a week early!
In preparation for Pentecost check out http://proost.us/safespacePentecost.movAfter viewing the above we were each given a copy of Chris Goan’s brilliant meditation: Holy Spirit Mojo to inspire a time of personal prayer in the park.
There are rumours-
Like smoke signals blurred in the wind
He is here
Not in metaphor
Not whipped up in the collective madness of charismatics
Not just politely suggested by the high drama of religious ritual-
Should I hide?
I could never meet his eye
Knowing that the hidden parts of me will be
How do I prepare?
I have no fine things-
No fine words
My shield of sophistication
I am soft flesh laid bare
I am a fanfare to repeated failure
I am herald only to this
But the Creator wears no stately form
Wants no majesty-
And has a humble heart
Stop making things so complicated
Start from where you are
Not where you would like to be
Not where others say you should be
But right now
I just want to warm your heart
It is not for you to cut a way into the undergrowth
Or make a road into the rocky places
Rather let us just walk
And see where this will lead us
All around you is beauty
Look for softness in your heart-
There I am
Look for tenderness
And it will be my Spirit
Calling you to community
You are wrapped up in me
And I am bound up in you
We are held together by soft bindings
Like tender shoot and stake
Like earth and gentle rain
Like flowers and sun
Like universe and stars
Like ocean and rolling wave
Like fields and each blade of grass
Like trees and rustling leaves
There is only now
Rest in the moment and be thankful.
In each of the four gospels, the Spirit of God shows up at Jesus’ baptism in the form of a dove. But those glossy images of the Holy Spirit descending from the heavens as a pristine white bird may not be quite how it was. And maybe as Christian symbols go, it all seems a bit bland anyway.
The bird at Jesus’ baptism was more likely a rock dove, a species much more prevalent in Palestine. These birds are grey with an iridescent green and violet neck. Yes – you’ve guessed it… a pigeon. A pigeon? Though most of us have separate categories for pigeons (dirty) and doves (pure), ornithologists will tell you the names are interchangeable.
That means the symbol for the Holy Spirit is just a hair’s breadth away from a symbol of urban trashiness. Pigeons are ubiquitous; they’re everywhere, forever leaving droppings on our pavements and windowsills, toddling around doing -not -very-much and even as I write this, I can hear one coo-ing on the roof. (Someone somewhere will have researched the average distance we always are from a pigeon.)
What if the spirit of God descends not like an angelic, pure-as- the driven snow dove, but like a pigeon; somehow always underfoot, routinely ignored, often disdained but in the very thick of life? What does that tell us about the nature of the Spirit and how do we respond?
present from the beginning
present in the message
of the prophets,
present in provision
for your people,
present in the life
and words of Jesus,
present in the Cross
present in the church
that you empower.
within us, around us, behind and ahead of us
today and always
Steve wrote us a Pentecost liturgy for Bread and Wine
There are advantages to being 1,984 years old. I have always had some advantages even when they weren’t apparent. “The Bride of Christ” is what they called me. Really! And I was barely out of nappies then.
I have carried that with me though – in the difficult times. I have had to. Remember those dear Copts will you?
People ask what the secret is to a long life. I think they’re expecting me to keel over tomorrow. I always reply, “Taking a little wine” and they laugh! Not realising, I suppose, that the blood is that which gives everlasting life. Wine and a little bread.
I suppose that age lends a certain perspective. Highs and lows – leaven leavens unevenly. Some ground is stony. But we march still. Eyes fixed on the Bridegroom – he who laid down his life for us.
So take now the bread – for you it might be us, the body or his body. Let it nurture.
So take now the wine – for you it might be Happy Birthday wine, the wine of renewal and resurrection.
And so in our 1,985th year, let’s now go out with hope as our guide and with faith our firm foundation. May you and yours be entwined in the Trinitarian God. Amen.