Homilies by Rev. Andrew Collis unless indicated otherwise.
‘The fullness of love’
At yesterday’s art class there was much activity, and much of it came towards the end of the session together. One participant said, “I’m drawing on what’s happening around me”. Completing one work after another in quick succession, he was becoming more and more open to the spirit of creativity in and through others. More than that, we were making portraits of each other – a creativity that entailed placing ourselves in each other’s hands. Trust.
The Holy Spirit comes constantly from the ever-
During last week’s half-
The challenge of Pentecost, I think, is to really attend to this fullness of love – and not simply huff and puff about supernatural miracles or about our own preferences and prejudices.
What the early apostles heard sounded like a strong wind and Christ breathed upon the eleven in hiding. The Spirit was not inflating, says another commentator, not inflating egos, that is, but incarnating.
The Jewish Pentecost (or Shavuot) is a celebration of the fruitfulness of the land, blessed by the sun, rain and “breath” of God. It is also a celebration of God’s giving Torah to a newly liberated people – fifty days after the Passover, fifty days after the Exodus. In the Christian community, we celebrate how the Spirit or “wind” of God has “in-
The early apostles, “air-
As Jesus went about, blessed by the Spirit at his anointing, so we do not float, huff or puff, but walk, run, limp, wheel, crawl or sit, and give the light of Christ our personal refraction. The Church now, as then, is full of its blessed self when it longs and labours within God’s good creation to bring forth fruits of holiness not hollowness, substance not emptiness.
The work of the Spirit is “incarnation” or visibility, or the revelation in each of our lives that the mysterious God desires to make manifest.
“Life in the Holy Spirit is life where Jesus is alive in the company of others … [It entails] something like our lungs expanding to cope with a new atmosphere … the fullness of love” (Rowan Williams).
Attending to this fullness of love is a simple and demanding task. The Spirit transforms crowds into communities, says Peter Steele. Sounds simple. The spiritual writer, Richard Rohr, says it’s not difficult to discern a person of the Spirit. A child can tell very quickly, he says, if someone is a person of the Spirit: kind, generous, willing the good, open to friendship, curious, good-
And Patrick O’Sullivan, in a little book entitled Prayer and Relationships (now available from St Lydia’s Library), writes about discerning the “will of God for me” from ungodly “spirits at work inside me”. O’Sullivan draws up two lists: Signs of the Good Spirit and Signs of the Bad Spirit. “The way of the Bad Spirit is to lead us away from relationships; the way of the Good Spirit is to lead us more deeply into relationships,” he says.
We’re invited to complete the homily today by reading through these lists – we can do that in pairs (some reading the Signs of the Good Spirit and some reading the Signs of the Bad Spirit) – and then sharing something insightful or striking here at the altar-
Let us be open, together, to the Spirit …
Signs of the Good Spirit
Signs of the Bad Spirit