May 19, Pentecost

What follows are my own thoughts on what the Pentecost Gospel Story (John 20:19-23) is saying to me today at this point on my journey, a personal thing. Nothing more, nothing less. It is not an attempt to make a point or to convince anybody of anything. It’s not about just what Jesus did, but what he is doing now as I see it. What he is saying to his disciples back then he is also saying to me here and now. This isn’t the only way to see the Pentecost Story.

In the Story your disciples are afraid of the people and are hiding behind locked doors. You come right through those doors and tell them, “Peace be with you”. In my own life over the years how often have you done the same thing for me, come through my locked doors and offered me your peace? I have been afraid of so much and have hidden behind my own locked doors, often angry, and still you have come in. Often you were the last person I wanted to see. Your peace happens in me when I let it, regardless of what is going on in my life. Things don’t have to be going well for me to know your peace. It is with me in good and bad times, if I want it, am open to it, and choose to accept it. It happens in my openness to you in my daily life. It’s been a long often painful journey, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I make a big mistake when I focus on my own fears instead on you. I certainly have experienced this often in my life. It comes as no surprise, but still is amazing, and humbling, that you would even care. And yet, it is clear you do care, and are very much involved in every step of my journey, and would be with all of us if we let you.

You remind your disciples of the time they’ve spent with you and each other, and what they had learned. The time I spend with you has a connection with the people in my life, something I don’t always want to see. My life with you is personal, because it is happening in me, never in any sense private, because the life each of us, and all of creation, is coming from the same Abba. All of us are alive at this time and place on this planet and all it has because this is where Abba is pouring life into all of us. I have a responsibility to, and maybe for, others and to creation. Salvation is a matter for me and all creation together as we grow into the fullness we are created for. 

You say, “Receive the Holy Spirit”. Your Spirit offers, never forces. I can say no, and guess I do, and regret it every time. When I say yes, good happens, often beyond my wildest hopes. Recent events make this very clear. You are real, Abba is real, your Spirit is real. You say, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven, whose sins you retain are retained”. The easy way of seeing this is to limit it to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. That way I don’t have to make any changes in how I think and live, only in how I celebrate the Sacrament with folks. But you ask me to follow you, to live the way you lived, meaning to live a life that practices forgiveness with everyone I meet. This is no easy thing. You ask me to forgive others whose big “mistake” is not living the way I think they should, as if I have all the answers. This is not just about the Sacrament. It’s about me and my life. Sins are the ways we hurt each other, not offenses against Abba’s laws. It’s not about a code of conduct. You ask me to live your healing all the time with everybody, not just folks who have hurt me. Lots to ponder here. Forgiving others involves me asking others for forgiveness. 

What does it all mean? Maybe that you want me to focus more on being open to you than on how other people are living. It’s easier to get wrapped up in others than to look at myself. When you talk about binding and loosing, are you asking me to continue your healing ministry, to be a visible sign of Abba’s compassion for everybody, not a gatekeeper determining who can and cannot approach Abba. I can’t do this unless I let go of my need to decide how other people should live and think, and come to realize I don’t have all the answers, and often don’t even know the questions. You don’t ask me to know, you ask me to trust, to let you lead me to where you want me to be. 

You say, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Are you sending me for something? As I try to live open to your Spirit happening in my life I’m starting to see things differently from how I used to. This brings some fear, because I don’t know where it will take me. Fear is a way of locking doors, trying to keep you out of some parts of my life. Is that what I’m doing these days? The first reading from Acts (Acts 2:1-11) shows what happened when your Apostles trusted you, were open to the Spirit and accepted your mission. History also shows that for all the good they did, they had a difficult way to go, as you did. You showed Abba’s love for all of us and all creation by freely choosing the cross, not  to please an angry God. There is no angry God. It seems we create one so we can feel good.  

There are many good people feeling hurt by the church, world wide and locally, allegedly in your name, folks considered to be outcasts and sinners. Yet Abba is creating them in Abba’s own image. Maybe I’m coming to realize that Abba loves all creation without exception, is very comfortable with diversity even though many of us are not and would impose our own version of order on others. Are you asking me to help you heal the hurt? How do I live your healing ministry? All around us these days there is so much sorrow for so many reasons. You offer us your healing, and so often it happens through other people. We all need to be open and alert, and willing.

None of this is about me. It’s all about you The only thing about me is how open am I to you. Are there parts of my life where I’m not open or don’t really want you, where I’d prefer to do things my way (and make a mess of things)? I’m most grateful for my “car experience” that continues to show me so much of you happening.  Just sayin  .  .  .

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Pat Murphy

    We are our own worst enemy! We want to see things in a negative rather than be open to the opportunity to step back and look for the positive and how I can be better. Judgement is always my problem that continues to always tap me on my shoulder! Being open to the lessons we are given have helped me to see the blessings.

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