May 27, 2007

pentecost “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” (Acts of the Apostles 2:1-4)

Today is Pentecost, observed in the Christian tradition as a feast day celebrating the founding of the Christian Church. I love this day, not only because of the imagery behind the New Testament readings of the day, but because so much of that imagery involves fire, and passion, and purification, and all those good things that come with the dynamic of living faith and belief in response to the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. Regardless of the droning drivel you’re likely to hear from your typical Episcopal Church pulpit on this day – about Pentecost being the poster-child for “diversity” and the need for the Church to “listen to different voices” in their pathetic argument for even more tolerance (as if the Church hasn’t been tolerant enough!), it is NOT a day to celebrate what they really stand for – a lukewarm faith, a faith with no scriptural or moral foundation, and a faith all too willing to compromise with a world hopelessly addicted to self-love, material wealth, and a “if it feels right, it must be right” attitude.

This excerpt from a Pentecost homily by a Monsignor Peter Magee from last year puts these sentiments into words far better than I ever could:

Pentecost is waiting to happen again and again in the pages of our bibles, if we would but stir ourselves and shake off our torpor, pick them up with faith and desire and read them with open hearts.

But let us be careful.

The Gospel is not up for grabs. It is not our personal property.

In it lies the mystery of the Trinity itself. The Gospel is therefore a “holy place.”

And the Holy Spirit himself, at the behest of Jesus, has entrusted the Gospel to the church, and more especially to the apostles, to care for it.

If we read or interpret the Gospel in a way that is contrary to the apostolic church, then we read and interpret contrary to Christ and his Spirit.

If to know the Gospel is to know Christ, then to twist the Gospel is to twist Christ. We can no more manipulate the Gospel than we can manipulate the Lord.

And so, we must listen with faithful and loving hearts to those who have the tongues of fire today, to the successors of the apostles, if we are to understand aright the implications of the Gospel for the big questions of our time.

And if they establish limits on any interpretation of the Word of God, then we must not complain, but rejoice that they are showing us where the Spirit leads us.

We must trust them as we would trust Christ himself, for in matters attaining to our salvation, they cannot err by virtue of the promise and the power of Christ himself.

Let Pentecost this year be a grace to seek and to know once more “fire in our bellies” because of the Gospel we carry within!

Indeed. May you and yours enjoy a blessed and joyous Pentecost in the spirit.

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 01:43 | Comments (0)
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