Don’t be fooled by the fireworks
There are two ways of talking about Pentecost – the 50th day after Easter. The first is to focus on the pyrotechnics of the day: wind, fire, and an experience of instantaneous translation between the speakers of myriad of languages. The second is to develop a wider perspective on the fruits of the day itself. The ‘descent’ [a spatial metaphor] of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost literally changed the world. Listen to how Luke describes the birth of a new kind of community with a very distinctive way of living.
Awe came upon everyone, ….All who belonged were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts praising God and having the goodwill of all the people.
This image of community shocks us – and so it should! For it stands as a perpetual indictment upon the values and practices of our own society. Luke describes a community of folk transformed through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
For me, the spatial metaphors here are not up - heaven and earth-down, but side by side between parallel dimensions occupying the same location. At the Ascension the human Jesus carries our humanity into the divine community - triggering at Pentecost a reciprocal movement in the opposite direction with the divine Spirit of God moving back through the inter-dimensional membrane infusing and transforming the Our-Space with the energies of the God-Space.
Luke’s description of the early Christian community is a description of what the Our-Space infused with the energies of the God-Space looks like. Equity and magnetic inclusion become the hall marks of such a community where from
all according to ability - to all according to need is the lived reality
. As a community the first Christians became magnetic, drawing increasing numbers of people into this new way of being human in community. They became a community configuring itself for those who had yet to show up.
Being a community that is continually (re)configuring itself for those who have yet to show up is the primary goal for us at St Martin’s. I am proud that we have embraced this as part of our mission identity. As a practical example of this mission I want to draw attention to our food pantry which is not only running precariously low at the moment but will likely remain so over the summer. Therefore, I am appealing for denotations of canned and packaged whole food items to the food pantry. You can deliver these either to the office or to the baskets at the back of the church.
Remember community is only as real as the energy we invest in building and maintaining it. In a community where many of us earn our daily bread in the financial investment sector, we all know the more you invest, the richer the personal return on your investment.
That which we can imagine for ourselves; that which through hard work and effort we can build by ourselves, pales in comparison to that which God can and will do in and through us, for the healing of the creation.
See you in Church, and don’t forget to wear
red, on Sunday.