As I was preparing to write this reflection, something jumped out at me that I had not noticed before. The psalm that we sing this week is the same one that we sing after we hear the “Creation Story” at the Easter Vigil. “Lord, send forth your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.” Coincidence, I wondered? Probably not.
For as long as there have been people, there has been a need for the Holy Spirit; a need that God has met throughout our history. In the Old Testament we hear stories of the Spirit at work in the life of Joseph in the book of Genesis, the lives of Moses, David, Solomon and many others. These prominent people in the story of our salvation were all connected to God in a way that allowed their greatest gifts to be used in the carrying out of God’s plan. Does that mean that these people were perfect in how they lived and how they treated others and thus worthy to be used by God? Quite the contrary; they were a lot like the apostles of Jesus’ time and a lot like you and I. They struggled with life at times and didn’t always get it right with God or with community. Yet God saw in them something he could use; through all their weakness and human frailty, God looked at them and said: “I can work with that.” God says the same thing to us today. All we are asked to do is be open to where God is calling us.
In the Second Reading Saint Paul tells us that “there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit” and, “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” We may not be aware of it, but God can use us wherever we are in life to bring renewal to something or someone. For proof of this, just look to how our church began on that first Pentecost. God took those first disciples, who were not well educated; not well travelled; had a history of bailing out when times got tough and were now cowering in fear in a locked upper room, and used them to be the foundation of the world wide Christian church. God took all their fears and their past failings and transformed them into something positive and good through the Holy Spirit. What fears or past failings may be stopping us from leaving our rooms and bringing God’s message to the world? Do we trust God enough to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and open to the criticism or judgment we may encounter if we accept this mission?
We are the means by which God will “renew the face of the earth”. We need to have faith in the fact that God will continue to send the Holy Spirit, as promised, to be with us in our work to make disciples of all whom we meet. Easy? No. Doable? Absolutely. Oh, almost forgot. Happy Birthday, Church!
~Mark Mahoney, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish