I meant to do something to celebrate Pentecost. Something with strawberries to represent tongues of flame. And balloons. I would probably have instagrammed it.
But this is a busy time of year for teachers. Our whole family was still recovering from Atticus’s surgery and subsequent grumpiness. And, if you must know, I feel a certain amount of ambivalence about Pentecost. On the one hand, there is the presence and the mother-comfort of the Holy Spirit. On the other hand there are things like speaking in tongues and flames and a wind so strong it can knock people down (or not). Not to mention that this is a difficult week to talk about rushing wind.
What I like about Pentecost is the reminder that God can go and be everywhere. Surely God’s presence guides us every day as we strive to bear a message of love and justice and righteousness and forgiveness into a world that seems unjust and unforgiving. There is beauty in the idea that God, like the wind, will not be contained. I recognize that wildness and restlessness within myself, as part of being an image-bearer, and I am reasonably comfortable with the idea that God’s pursuit of us is reminiscent of wind in speed and persistence. But I have never experienced God in dramatic or violent ways, and for that reason I think I will stick with quieter metaphors: a still, small voice. The refreshing breeze that signifies the arrival of summer evenings, when the heat edges off and you lift your hair to feel the cool on the back of your neck. I am content to celebrate God’s presence and the beginnings of the church in a quiet way, to light candles and hold the knowledge that I am beloved.
In my life, there are moments surrounded by books and others spent chasing behind a boisterous toddler. I feel the steady presence in a sacred place, carry it with me in my heart. For there is no place we can go that the Holy Spirit will not go with us. Happy Pentecost, friends.
(us, at church, on Pentecost)