I hope you are well.
Sunday sees the great feast of Pentecost. The day when we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit.
I want to share with you a prayer by Ann Lewin that, I feel, has much to offer. It is a prayer of encouragement as we join with our sisters and brothers throughout the church in celebrating this feast.
Flame-dancing Spirit, come,
Sweep us off our feet and
Dance us through our days.
Surprise us with your rhythms,
Dare us to try new steps, explore
New patterns and new partnerships.
Release us from old routines,
To swing in abandoned joy
And fearful adventure.
And in the intervals,
In your still centre.
As many of you know I have had a book of Ann Lewin’s prayers and meditations for several years. This year this prayer seems to have a special relevance.
Ann asks that the Spirit will ‘sweep us off our feet.’ That we will be ‘surprised.’ That we will, ‘dare to explore new patterns and new partnerships.’ That we will be, ‘released from old routines.’
This Pentecost will be like no other that many of us have ever experienced. Recent weeks have brought great challenges and difficulties for us all. Slowly, bit by bit, some of the restrictions imposed by lockdown are being relaxed and we are emerging into the light after a period of great darkness and difficulty.
For some there will be an eagerness to get on and get back to doing what we did before. For others that will not be the case as they struggle to let go of the pain of bereavement, of loss of livelihood, of fear and vulnerability. For some there will be a sense of being caught between wanting things to move on yet not knowing where that should be.
Within our own communities some restrictions are being eased. However, the world at large, is still in a broken and fragile state. Many people in our world, especially the poor and most vulnerable, are enduring great suffering and hardship. Yet amidst such suffering there is still hope. Hope that what will emerge from this time of struggle and hardship may be something better than before.
The message of the Good News of Jesus Christ cannot and must not be set in glorious isolation. It is a message of good news for all people, those of faith and those of no faith. The challenge facing us now is to trust. To let the Spirit, ‘sweep us off our feet’ and be surprised by ‘new rhythms.’
There will also be times when we may feel overwhelmed by the demands that are placed on us. Times where we need to ‘rest’ in those intervals of God’s ‘still centre.’
St Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians states, ‘To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.’ He then goes on to list various gifts. Gifts that are signs of the Spirit. Gifts that we can all receive.
At this time of celebration let us all, in our own unique way, rise to the challenge to, ‘dance through our days’ and when needed, ‘rest in that still centre.’
With my prayers and best wishes for a joyful and blessed Pentecost.