Sunday, May 23, 2010

Forgiveness and the Gentle Pentecost

In scripture, the Holy spirit is seen from the beginning of creation hovering over the face of the deep.  God's Spirit is the uncreated energy that allows all things to come into being and the bond that allows life on this earth, and indeed, our own life, to continue.  [Genesis, chapter 1]

The Spirit of God is seen as both breath and fire.  At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit appeared as tongues of fire on the apostles and on Mary as they finished the first novena--nine days of continuous prayer--in the Upper Room.  The effect was dramatic.  Suddenly, they were no longer afraid. They spoke boldly of the fulfillment of God's prophesies through the person of Jesus Christ, and the onlookers each heard them speaking in their own language(s).   [Acts, chapter 2].

In John, chapter 20, Jesus "breathed on (the apostles) and said, Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven.  If you hold them bound, they are held bound.  This coming of the Holy Spirit was much less dramatic but no less important. Forgiveness is hard.  Asking for forgiveness is often as hard as granting it.  It is only through God's Spirit that true forgiveness can take place.

We often would like to wait until the tongues of fire appear before we step out in faith and do what we are called to do in our daily lives.  But, as it says in the Old Testament book of Kings, God was not in the wind...earthquake (or) fire.  Instead, as Elijah discovered, the Spirit of God is often in the gentle whisper.

Adam and Eve discovered the same thing--God came to them in the cool of the evening, at that time of quiet reflection, after the heat of the day was past, to commune with them.  What stopped this beautiful union?  Sin and fear of asking forgiveness.

So, when Our Lord breathed the Holy Spirit on the apostles, he paired it with the one thing necessary to walk with God in the cool of the evening--forgiveness. Jesus was repairing our first parents' relationship with the creator through the Holy Spirit.

Be still and know that I am God.  ~Psalm 46:10


newguy40 said...

Beautiful and kindly post.

I'm a bit late responding but thanks.

Your post reminds me how important is to take that time to pray.

Dymphna said...


RAnn said...

Never thought of it that way before

Dymphna said...

I know there are at least two different conversion types in scripture--Paul's sudden conversion and Peter's conversion in fits and starts. I think the Holy Spirit works the same way. Some have a dramatic experience while others of us struggle, hope, and try to be open to His promptings.

Barbara said...

I would never have linked these two parts of Scripture together. It's so interesting that your post and another blogger's post have asked the question of standing up for the Faith today. We have been confirmed and received the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Do I act like it is my question. Thanks for a provocative post.

Dymphna said...

You're welcome, Barbara!

Dymphna's favorite quotes

"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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