Thoughts for your consideration
Today, as we celebrate the power of the Spirit in the church, the scriptures remind us that the Spirit is a social Spirit – a Spirit that leads us to solidarity with each other, the whole world, and all its people. The Spirit does more than make individuals feel good or different. The Spirit breaks down barriers between peoples. The Spirit changes behavior and moves us into community. The Spirit calls us into action – action for others and for justice.
The Spirit is a Spirit of reconciliation and healing. The Spirit is a Spirit of mercy.
The coming of the Spirit 2000 years ago transformed the Christian community.
Locked doors were opened.
Fear was replaced by courage.
Peace was proclaimed.
The power to forgive sins was shared present.
Those who were afraid began to speak up boldly.
Thousands heard the message in their own languages.
Today the coming of the Spirit is in our church and in our social values.
In a world of fear and doubt and confusion,
the Spirit inspires people to open the doors and speak out
especially about issues of justice and peace.
In a world of selfishness, competition, and control,
the Spirit gives out gifts that are shared for the benefit of all
especially those who are poor or in need.
In a world of racism and xenophobia and fear of immigrants,
the Spirit invites people of every nation under heaven to come together.
In a world with war, violence and terrorism,
the Spirit proclaims a message of peace and reconciliation to all.
In a world of economic problems,
the Spirit reminds us that the things of the world are mean to be shared by all
and are to be used for the common good.
In a world where the environment is abused and over used,
the Spirit calls for reform in how we live
and in the ways we use the earth with care and love.
In a world of ideology and prejudice,
The Spirit calls us to think about things in a new way.
The gifts of the Spirit are for liberation. The Spirit is an inclusive spirit who desires to set everyone free. Maybe the greatest manifestation of the spirit is when people have the grace to identify with the needs and struggles of the world, to listen to those who are poor or oppressed, and to speak up for justice. As Elizabeth Johnson says above: “Finding one’s own voice, however, haltingly, imparts the power of Spirit crying out.”
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
- When have you had the ability or the courage to speak up in a difficult situation?
- What happened? What were the results? What did you learn?
- The Spirit speaks to people of every nation under heaven.
- How is the Spirit call us to be more inclusive and welcoming?
Nasreddin Khodja commanded his disciples, when he sneezed, to salute him by clapping their hands and crying out: “Haïr Ollah, Khodja,” that is “Prosperity to thee, O Master!” Now it came to pass that on one of the days the bucket fell into the well […] he descended, caught the bucket, and the boys were already pulling him up, when, just as he was drawing near the edge of the well, he chanced to sneeze. Whereupon they, mindful of the master’s behest, let go the rope and, clapping their hands in high glee, cried out in chorus: “Haïr Ollah, Khodja,” Nasreddin was precipitated violently into the well, bruising himself against the sides. […] “Well, boys, it was not your fault, but mine: too much honor is no good thing for man.” – George Frederick Abbott, Macedonian Folklore (1903: Cambridge University Press), p. 114 http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Nasreddin
There was a group of elderly gentlemen in Japan who would meet to exchange news and drink tea. One of their diversions was to search for costly varieties of tea and create new blends that would delight the palate.
When it was the turn of the oldest member of the group to entertain the others, he served tea with the greatest ceremony, measuring out the leaves from a golden container. Everyone had the highest praise for the tea and demanded to know by what particular combination he had arrived at this exquisite blend.
The old man smiled and said, “Gentlemen, the tea that you find so delightful is the one that is drunk by the peasants on my farm. The finest things in life are neither costly nor hard to find.”