Wednesday, May 20, 2015
A House of Prayer for All People
This coming Sunday marks the occasion on which the Apostles were given special grace to speak in the tongues of all peoples and in all languages. The event is described in our first lesson for this coming Sunday. In the Gospel, Jesus promises to send his gift of "The Advocate" and the "Spirit of Truth" into every human heart. Such is the outpouring of God's Spirit that it will fill the earth as the "waters cover the sea". ~Habakkuk 2:14
It is especially appropriate for the members of the congregation to wear red for Pentecost. The color red is the color of the Holy Spirit. Red represents a universal outpouring such that Christ's Church becomes "A House of Prayer for ALL People". No one can be excluded from God's communion, and the Holy Spirit is a sign of our complete unity with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
And just when we get that straight, I'll remind you that Pentecost is also known as Whitsunday. The Church's tradition is to Baptize on Whitsunday (aka Pentecost), Easter Eve, All Saints, and on the Feast Day of the Baptism of our Lord. In many parish churches in England it is a special tradition to Baptize youngsters on Pentecost and of course they would all come to church dressed in white. Hence the name: Whitsunday.
And if that isn't enough to wrap your mind around, I might add to the above that the Holy Spirit is seen in much of the Christian world in the feminine. The Holy Wisdom or "Hagia Sophia" of Constantinople, now Istanbul, was for a thousand years the leading church in Eastern Christianity. And in the Hebrew Scriptures, Wisdom is known as the Spirit of God and the word is in the feminine form. Thus the Godhead has a multidimensional dynamic in its totality. Clearly God in not gender specific, but for so many years the imagery we have of God in the Sistine Chapel, or in Lutheran Hymnody is dominated by a gender specific idea; e.g. "A Mighty Fortress is our God". Some balance is needed to complete the picture of God as being both male/female and beyond all human knowing.
And finally, let us pray for peace. There is so much warfare, and so much upheaval in our cities. Rival gangs break into turf wars and others are lost in depression and anxiety. Let us pray for peace. Unless God fills the human heart, there can be no peace. May the Peace of God that passes all understanding fill every human heart.
Let us pray this day and every day for the outpouring of God's Spirit upon All
I look forward to seeing you this coming Sunday in Church for this important and joyous occasion.