Thursday, May 28, 2009

ROBERT : Come Sunday . . . .

Come Sunday, another sort of building block is upon us, this last day of May in the year of our Lord 2009. It is Whitsunday — The Sunday of Pentecost.
      “I will send you power from above,” said the One Who came to those to whom He first came and to us, and in a couple of days we will mark the day when the Spirit came to them and to us, all of us huddled up with each other with fear and trembling in a room upstairs somewhere, anywhere, even here maybe.

We have observed our Lenten fast as winter moved toward spring. It was the season of confession and repentance, the season when we had our forehead marked with ashes. And as a sign of our humility in the face of the sacrifice He was about to make for us, we gave up saying our Alleluias in our worship. We did so even as we denied Him and clamored for Barabbas. 
      We have kept our Easter vigil and been attendant on the coming of a fair portion of all of the best things in the world that come together at Easter — the exuberance of spring and the greening of the earth, the gentle showers of April and the soft, warm days of May that herald the coming of summer. We proclaimed the triumph of the resurrection and the joy and the mystery and the wonder of the news of it. Hail thee, festival day, we sang as the choir processed through the cathedral aisles, and we got our Alleluias back.
      Easter does not last long but it is better than the mere twelve days we were given to celebrate Christmas if you ask me. Even so the fifty days of Easter seem hardly enough time to take in the Paschal mystery.
      But ready or not, Pentecost comes this Sunday. The name simply means fiftieth, as in the fiftieth day. The day was originally a harvest festival that took place on the fiftieth day after Passover. The notion of “harvest” seems right somehow for the season after Easter. It is a day of great celebration, the celebration of the giving of the Holy Spirit to the disciples, and then to us. And a portion of the harvest will be celebrated in some communities with baptism and confirmation.
      Come Sunday, in the Story that was first told in the pages of the Book and now is told to us by the Church calendar as well, the Spirit is about to be given to us, again. Which begs new versions of the same old question — What is the Holy Spirit up to these days, in our days, yours and mine, these days given to us in our generation? And how are we being called to we help with that work? To what are we being drawn by the Spirit — Lord, have mercy, to what is Robert being drawn by the Spirit — in this next season of the journey home? What new thing is the One Who made us trying to do in us and with us and through us on the other side of Pentecost?
      “Be attendant upon that come Sunday,” I say to myself, “be attendant upon that.”

At the very least, I am drawn to an old prayer for this new season — Grant that we may perceive the ways in which You are calling to us, and then grant us strength and courage to pursue those things and to accomplish them; in the name of the One Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
      For those of you keeping score at home that is the same Spirit whose arrival we celebrate come Sunday.
      “Thanks be to God,’ he said, with a proper fear and trembling. And with a proper hope and joy as well.

4 comments:

GailNHB said...

To what is Gail being drawn? What new thing is The One who made me trying to do in me and with me and through me now?

I know it's not supposed to be personal all the time, but those are questions I am pondering these days, this week, this year. Thanks for drawing my attention back to The One whose Plan is the only one that matters.

Thanks be to God, indeed.

robert benson and ben stroup said...

GAIL —

But sometimes it is the personal that leads us to others. Elizabeth O'Connor once wrote that we make the journey inward in order to make the journey outward. Discovering that to which we are being drawn at a given point in our journey does not call for an either/or posture, it calls for a both/and posture.
Thanks, as always, for stopping by, we do enjoy hearing from you. Be in touch.

Namaste —

R. Benson

Joanne (The Simple Wife) said...

In this week following Pentecost, I've been thinking much about gifts of the Spirit. Do I know mine? Do I use mine? How does the body of my family, my church, my community benefit as a result of the gifts the Spirit has given me?

I'm not sure I know the answers to my questions, but I am asking them each day and waiting for the One who knows all things to answer.

God bless you this day, my friend!

Joanne

robert benson and ben stroup said...

JOANNE —

As Rilke says, 'Love the questions themselves, in hopes that someday you may well love yourself into the answers.'

Thanks for reading and for writing. Be in touch.

Namaste —

R. Benson