Years of superficial reading and barely- listened- to homilies led me to believe that Pentecost was a one- off happening accompanied by severe wind gusts and dangerous looking licks of fire sitting perilously close to heads of hair. There was an extroverted kind of feel to it – all that going out and preaching to people one doesn’t even know! The introvert in me crept into toe-curling shyness. It wasn’t exactly an informed, theological understanding of the wonder that was the first Pentecost.
Eventually a closer and more prayerful reading of the Acts of the Apostles told me that after Jesus’ resurrection his disciple’s initial fear and trepidation was replaced by confidence and assurance. The writer endeavoured to capture in words and images those experiences of being empowered by a deeply felt sense of the holy, the sacred. The excitement, the possibilities, the wonder of it all tumbled around inside them like a fire seeking an outlet, like a swirling wind ready to split open their hearts.
So off they went – introverts and extroverts alike, all gifted by the Spirit of God, ready to share the Good News in whatever way they were called. Some travelled to other countries, some wrote, some preached, some went back to fishing or tax gathering or whatever it was that they did to support their families. But life could never be the same again. Whatever they did, wherever they went, they showed in word and action that Jesus lived on in them.
Two thousand years on there’s a phrase in the Pentecost story that grips me; ‘each one heard them speaking their own language’. Now the language we speak today could be called multi-media and if we are to honour the Spirit fire that burns in us and the Spirit wind that blows in us, then we need to speak that language too.
So we click our way through Facebook and Twitter, we bookmark sites that take us all around the world and read blogs that can tell us more than we ever needed to know about people and their everyday life. And sometimes we wonder how we are to recognise the Spirit of God amidst the dissension, confusion and outright irrelevance that swirls around us.
Blogs and websites written from a religious perspective are an easy access forum for voicing differing and often very personal aspects of religion and Christianity. While I couldn’t be called a blogger in the strict sense of the word I regularly write about aspects of spirituality from a lay-woman’s viewpoint. Like most religious bloggers, I write from an inner space, what I hope is a God-space, which I try to keep as an authentic voice. More scholarly presentations I leave to others.
Writing on this website and in a few weeks crossing over to what I hope will be a ‘new-look’ site complete with pictures, is my Pentecost voice and it’s admirably suited to an introvert. I write, aiming to reach into the heart of the world, hoping occasionally to cast fire upon the face of the earth.
What’s your Pentecost voice?
Click here to download full article in Word (3rd Sunday Year A Come Follow Me)