Transformed by the Holy Spirit

06-05-2022Weekly Reflection© LPi

Even though Pentecost is rightly celebrated in late spring, the robust experience of a New England fall can provide a profound metaphor for reflection. A full expression of fall colors is beautiful to behold. But, with all of its majesty and beauty, the observer knows the experience of death is soon to come. Creation will be dark and barren for a while. Pentecost cannot be separated from the cross. Before God’s transformative, life-giving power can bear fruit, we must first die.

Pentecost is all about leaving the lifeless dead wood behind and allowing God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to create something new. These Pentecost creations happen repeatedly over and over again. The birthing process of the Church is ongoing. God is always bringing life out of death and creating something where there was once nothing. That is why the fall is such an apropos metaphorical season for Pentecost. In order to really receive the gift of the Holy Spirit we have to die to what we once knew and what no longer works.

When fire and wind find their fullest expression, they are in no way gentle nor kind. They have the potential to level anything in their paths. We are experiencing great turmoil in our world, nation, and our Church. Whether the result of circumstance or the work of the Holy Spirit, much of what we knew to be normal and constant is changing. Common systems and institutional structures that may have worked for a time no longer do. When the old and familiar need to be left behind, God creates something new. Change and disorder do not need to be our enemies. They always bring opportunities for something exciting and new. What we need is untiring faith, firm hope, and perfect love.

What we need is for the Holy Spirit to enlighten us to see what is important and what we must do. “O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams.” (St. Augustine) If we experience joy, even in the midst of turbulence, then we will know we are exactly where God needs us to be. If not, then perhaps there is a lesson in the decaying leaves that graciously descend to the ground on a crisp fall day.