Day of Pentecost
Acts 2:1-21 or Ezek. 37:1-14
Rom. 8:22-27 or Acts 2:1-21
John 15:26,26; 16:4b-15
On this sacred day, the breath of the Lord, coming as violent wind, flickering tongues of fire, native speech to the nations, is entirely life-giving. This is the Spirit poured out upon all flesh. Prophecy, visions, and dreams are ignited by the sparking wind. Everyone hears and dreams about the wonders of God “in their own language.” The turbulence of the Spirit is directed toward a single intelligence. Everyone understands.
The Spirit bears witness to our spirit that we are sons and daughters of God. This suggests an interior communion as we are caught up into the life of the eternal Son of the Father. What is being drawn up, however, is not a mere portion of our humanity. While testing the limits of our imagination, we are pressed to recall that Jesus rose bodily, ascended bodily, will return in a glorious body. Thus he is working salvation through bones, sinews, flesh, skin, and the breath by which we were made living beings. Salvation is the proper reconstruction (recapitulation) of our broken humanity. The fragments of our being are reassembled with precision and the resulting life is new life altogether. The Lord opens our grave and says, “Come forth!”
We are children of the earth, formed of mud and breath. Coming to us, Jesus comes to creation. Did he not sanctify the Jordan by the touch of his feet? He gave sight through an ointment of dirt and spittle. He replicates his body with bread and his blood with wine. He calls us his body. In our bodies we feel the groaning not only of our lives, but of creation itself. For the whole creation, Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, is the subject of God’s calling and saving. Do you listen when God says “good” again and again? Who said you would be run from your Christian pew because you love water and earth and sky? Yes, nature can be ruthless, indifferent to our immediate need. Nature can bite and devour and destroy, but not because nature is evil. Nature longs as we do for complete redemption. What will a redeemed creation look like? Some people seem to know, some scholars are willing to guess. Personally, I have no idea. I do know, however, that the Christian story is about bone, tissue, flesh, skin, earth, wind, and fire. Love the earth God wills to redeem. Tend rightly to your body.
The Spirit makes us alive. The Spirit is renewing creation. And the Spirit is helping us in our pilgrimage through time. The Spirit helps us to recall everything that Jesus said and did, and how he opened the Scriptures to us. And the Spirit helps us to live with confidence in our own time, for the Spirit leads us into all truth. This applies to both our personal lives and to our life in the holy Church. The Spirit directs us, often through the good counsel of those we trust and love. The Spirit guides the Church. How do we know absolutely and without equivocation that the Spirit has acted decisively in the present moment? Simply, we do not, and thus are compelled to live in hope and trust. The church has an “infallible consciousness,” but it is not lived “outside all deliberation and all judgment” (Vladimir Lossky, “Traditions and Tradition”). Expect debates, difficulties and trials in your soul, in your home, in your church. Still, God reigns.
Look It Up
Read Ezekiel 37. To remove all doubt, the hand of the Lord led Ezekiel among the bones. There were very many and they were very dry. Very many dry bones + noise and rattling = I open your graves.
Think About It
“A small particle of creation wants to praise you,” Augustine ponders. Of creation!