Some write of a Pentecost of Power . . .
Sounding like they’re gearing up for battle . . .
But I like Robert Siegel’s Pentecost vision best . . .
Yellow flames flutter
about the feeder:
a Pentecost of finches.
a snappy way of saying a whole lot of birds at the feeder for a whole lot of days . . .
fifty, to be precise . . .
that’s what Pentecost means . . . 50 days . . .
Or the 50th day . . .
Now what a day that must have been . . .
The fiftieth day . . .
Seven weeks of waiting . . . plus one . . .
Waiting for what?
Something? . . . no . . . someone . . .
And suddenly the someone they did not know they waited for came . . .
Holy Spirit came . . .
Like a wind . . . and not just any wind . . . a violent wind . . .
Change was literally the air they breathed . . .
the whole house was filled with the force of this coming . . .
And it came as a small ‘d’ democrat . . .
For all were filled . . .
None were left out . . .
Not one got even a bit more spirit than another . . .
All were equally blessed . . .
Or cursed, depending on your point of view . . . [remember – in earth-terms, it ends badly for them all]
They were filled to overflowing . . .
And what they overflowed with was language . . .
All kinds of language . . .
Words Coptic and Arabic and Aramaic and Hebrew . . .
and Greek and Latin and every dialect in between . . .
The words poured out of them . . .
Not randomly . . .
Not obscurely . . .
Plain words . . . words easily understood . . .
Words about God . . .
What God had done already . . .
what God would keep on doing . . .
About the God-power in their very midst . . .
And they who heard were . . .
Bewildered . . .
Amazed . .
Astonished . . .
Perplexed . . .
Questioning . . .
Sneering . . .
Believing . . .
Doubting . . .
When God comes to town, no one is unmoved . . .
When God comes to town, it’s noisy . . .
And confusing . . .
and words pour out of mouths
like raindrops from the stormy sky . . .
Striking everything . . .
And everybody takes sides . . .
Some opening their mouths to be filled with the storm water flowing down upon them . .
Others getting out their umbrellas to be extra sure to stay dry . . .
After all, you can’t dance your way through raindrops . . .
The invitation is to free-fall . . . to put away our umbrellas and dance in the rain . . . to float into God’s deep embrace, in the words of poet Denise Levertov:
As swimmers dare to lie face to the sky and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air and air sustains them,
so would I learn to attain free fall, and float into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace,
knowing no effort earns that all-surrounding grace.
Come, Holy Spirit, we pray today . . . It is such a dangerous prayer, this bidding God to come into our midst . . .