Pentecost Morning….I’m home with an awful cold, so I have the chance to spend a bit of time with the Psalms.
On this day, the Church celebrates, remembers, the coming of the Holy Spirit to the fledgling church–as we would call it looking back on the group of disciples and Blessed Mary. The Spirit came upon them, and filled them with hope and promise…and sent them out into the world to share the experiences they held within them. These early followers of Jesus were known as followers of The Way, a practice, a way of life that was anchored in the teachings, presence, reorientation of Jesus of Nazareth.
We read a great deal in the texts about how the Spirit blows where it will…but we don’t like that, I think. We like a predictable Spirit, a God who stays within the boundaries we lay out.
But, there’s this powerful image in Psalm 44 this morning, about a dynamic God who has a direct effect on the lives of the people. The psalmist describes the struggle they people have had:
“Yet you have rejected us and abased us….and have not gone out with our armies.”
“You have made us like sheep for slaughter, and have scattered us among the nations.”
And then this wonderful pivot:
“All this has come upon us, yet we have not forgotten you, or been false to your covenant.”
Wow. This dynamic relationship between God and the people. Even reading it, I’m not sure I’m exactly comfortable with it! I don’t think God causes pain or suffering, but I do think we have ‘reduced’ God’s dynamism within our own lives to something more in line with a theory. Have we given up too much of the dynamic movement of God?
Nan Merrill takes a bit of the edge off:
“Yet at times You seem to abandon us,
leaving us alone with our fears.
You have given us the freedom
to turn from You;
and our fears have overwhelmed us.
We become as sheep for slaughter,
straying far from the fold.
You seem to require too little of us,
remaining mute as we wander
on worldly highways.”
I love how Merrill describes that God “requires too little of us.” My experience has been that we require too little of God..that we really require God to stay put and play nice… But that’s not the way the Holy Spirit works, if I read the Bible honestly…