Day of Pentecost

A blessed Pentecost, friends! May you know the power of the risen and reigning Christ resting on you and working through you today, tomorrow, and always! 


Look: Anatomy of A Flame, Chemical Atlas - Flame


Listen: “The Source” from There’s A Light, Liz Vice

Spotify | YouTube | Lyrics

Listen to my entire playlist on Spotify: Pentecost 2019. Add it to your account by clicking ‘Follow.’


Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.”

*

”These all look to you,
to give them their food in due season.
When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your Spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.”

*

”For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’”

*

”And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
— Genesis 11:1-9 * Psalm 104:27-30 * Romans 8:14-15 * Acts 2:3-4, 14-21 (ESV)

Pray:

Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
— Book of Common Prayer, Collect for The Day of Pentecost: Whitsunday

Do:

Enjoy a campfire this evening.

How to: Start a campfire with one match

Enjoy a campfire this evening and take a moment to read Malcolm Guite's sonnet for Pentecost:

Pentecost

Today we feel the wind beneath our wings
Today  the hidden fountain flows and plays
Today the church draws breath at last and sings
As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire,air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
And is translated out of death to birth.
The right words come today in their right order
And every word spells freedom and release
Today the gospel crosses every border
All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace
Today the lost are found in His translation.
Whose mother-tongue is Love, in  every nation.


See Pentecost posts from previous years here.

Trinity Sunday as imagined by Rublev & Babette's Feast

Trinity  (icon) by Andrei Rublev, 1410  (Source )

Trinity (icon) by Andrei Rublev, 1410 (Source)

Batter my heart, three-person’d God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend...
— John Donne, Holy Sonnets XIV

An excerpt from my reflection on Trinity Sunday 2012:

My whole life I've been taught the image of God as three-in-one, one-in-three.  I learned the Trinity as one egg with three parts: white, shell and yolk.  Water as ice, liquid and steam. Also,  I think there was a metaphor using an apple?

I'm grateful for that sort of teaching and the layers of understanding that were added as I grew up in the Church. But it wasn't until I served as a shepherd over a worship ministry that I began to ask questions.  Questions like, "So what?"  and "What difference does it make?"   

Turns out it makes a world of difference.  In the three-person'd God we are invited, commended even, into  mystery.  Egg yolks and apple seeds aside, our most intellectual theologians can only barely imagine the wonder of "let us make man in our image".  For myself, the invitation toward mystery looks a bit like the Ghost of Christmas Present lifting  his robe and bellowing, "Come in and know me better man!"    

Beautiful mystery, yes.  Also, beautiful community.  The Psalmist tells us that God puts the lonely into families.  He should know, he lives and moves and has his transcendent Being as one-in-community.  He is a We.  

This matters more than we imagine.  If He is a We than how possibly can we think ourselves solely as a me? We must submit everything we do to mark ourselves a Christian to the power and beauty of this spiritual reality.  Distinct as persons, yes.  Made in the image of God as a man or a woman, in particular, and then as a unique person. Mysteriously and gloriously, this designed particularity never finds itself as an identity apart from the created Whole.

The great part and whole paradox transforms everything.  The answer to the question, "What difference does it make?":  all the difference in the world.  We submit every part of our lives -- individually and corporately--to the Three-in-One God.  How we gather, how we pray, how we sing, how we make, how we intercede, how we eat and play together and alone. How we hear music, read books, return emails, browse Facebook, shop at the market and weed our gardens.  All of it comes under submission to the Three-person'd God. 

Donne gives another poetic description for our three-person'd God as the "knotty Trinity".  The poet-theologian seems to be saying this reality is beyond our intellectual grasping no matter how many metaphors we dream up but we are drawn to keep on trying.  He reminds us that the work of communicating mystery is no banal task.  Every day we have the opportunity to try again.  The great Three-in-One captures our imagination, making the Trinitarian Presence irresistible to the working out over millenia.  We are caught up as one part of the Whole.  Paradoxically, we find true solace surrounded by an ancient and future communion.  

As a newly-minted Anglican, I've relished the practice of marking myself with the sign of the cross.  This physical discipline trains my ears toward the Trinity, crossing head to heart, left to right at the mere mention of Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  It is an act of submission, an antidote to spiritual amnesia. Even that self-sealing motion is done as one in a whole.  I know this because each week I've learned my cues while I, hopefully subtly, study my worshiping community.  Trying to sync my rhythm with theirs, with the Church in time before me and time to come.

Corporate worship that is not Trinitarian in both word and deed, leaves us as juveniles seeking our own versions of fantasy worship.  Seeking to heal ourselves, please ourselves, know ourselves all by ourselves.  Practically speaking, this a rejection of the very nature of God.  Yes it matters very much.  It matters when we are gathered together and when we are scattered, sent out to reflect the image of our Three-In-One God to a world broken off from the Whole.

I read once that the film Babette's Feast  presents within its storyline a beautiful representation of the Trinity. Writing this post,  I watched again an excerpt, and all I can say is YES!  Imagine for a moment, the absent father for whom the feast is called as our own God the Father.  And Babette, giving up all her fortune to serve the feast as our own God, Jesus.  And the exuberant General, instructing the people in the joy of the feast, as our own God, the Holy Spirit.  

Watch these two scenes (or the whole movie) as a meditation today.  What do you see?

Babette's Feast on YouTube

Babette's Feast on Amazon (affiliate link)