The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home
June 9, 2019 – Pentecost - John 20:19-23
Last month, I mentioned that one of the greatest of human fears is that of feeling totally alone. Even for those living alone, they are helped by the idea that they have family and friends who are thinking of them. Thus, they are not totally alone. Of course, that feeling of physical separation can be lessened by an occasional call, a letter, a card, and in our time, by a text.
This fear of aloneness even affected the first followers of Jesus. They wanted to remain with him. And even though he occasionally appeared to them after his Resurrection, they longed for a presence that was more constant. In a sense, closer. And they were not to be disappointed in this desire.
One of the dangers of celebrating the feast of Pentecost is to shorten or abbreviate its impact. We may think of it as a “one-time event” which, once it ended, it was over. We fail to think about its deeper, more timeless meaning. In other words, the fact is that God’s Spiritual presence is not an “up and down and back up again” affair.
Rather, Pentecost recalls and celebrates God’s constant presence with us. God’s Spirit is always with us and in us and around us. God is never distant from us although we know all too well that we can be distanced from God. We are distracted by immediate matters. We forget about spiritual realities. We live more on the surface of life than in its fullness.
The Holy Spirit is the least-understood and most-forgotten person of the Blessed Trinity. Yet it is our long-held belief that the Holy Spirit is continuously “renewing the face of the earth.” (A phrase taken from a common church prayer to the Holy Spirit.) And this action of God’s Spirit is done primarily through us, through our acts of kindness, assistance to others and expressions of forgiveness.
Maybe part of the problem is that the Holy Spirit is not visible on the surface of things. It is a hidden presence, yet it is constantly active, inviting us to live more fully as we connect more deeply with others. An image from science might help. Life on Earth is totally dependent on the energy that flows from the sun. If that flow of energy stopped for a second, all life would cease on Earth. The passage of solar energy is carried by light or photons, a reality that is without matter. It is pure energy. I like to think of the divine energy that flows from God’s Spirit in a similar way. Pure energizing love coming directly to us from God’s Spirit.
©David M Thomas, PhD