Pentecost: The Spirit Calls

This weekend we celebrate Pentecost; one of the greatest feast days of the Church year. It is a day when we commemorate a great reversal. Instead of the unifying and homogenising Babylonian vision, drawing all together in imperial might as symbolised by the tower of Babel, we discover a vision of unity in diversity, of movement and flow instead of static power. In the story of the tower of Babel, God opposed the desire of the powerful for uniformity and scattered the people, confusing and multiplying the languages. At Pentecost, those present are engulfed by the Spirit and begin to speak other languages- but they are languages understood by the many cultural groups present that day, all speaking of the wonderful works of God.

This is a transformative moment of new birth for the early Jesus community. As +George Browning says, even though the story tells of different languages speaking a common message, “it is not so much what the ear hears, but what the eye sees and the heart expresses. Described by Paul as ʹfruitsʹ the Spirit is made manifest in “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-controlʺ.”[1]

The metaphors for the Spirit used in scripture are all dynamic; like fire, water, breath, cloud, wind…a dove. Movement is a central theme, showing up our habits of making idols of not only things like statues and buildings, but also ideologies, institutions, doctrine, and the Bible itself. In contrast, the Spirit ‘blows where it wills’ and in this time of social change and challenges within the Church, we are called to be people who have eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart to perceive where She is moving.

The Spirit calls us each day anew to be ourselves and co-creators of the kingdom of God. In our services across the weekend, we will have the opportunity to be reminded of our membership in the order of the baptised, and of our own particular call to ministry in our communities. In recognising the power of Pentecost, and to commit ourselves anew to the work to which we are uniquely called, there will be the opportunity provided to receive an anointing after communion.

May we all know the peace of the Spirit and the joy of a life being transformed by this insistent, dynamic presence.

Grace and peace,


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