Homilies by Rev. Andrew Collis unless indicated otherwise.
‘Speak graciously and truthfully’
A Korean lecturer at United Theological College once told me the history of the Korean written language. That under Chinese rule for many years, Chinese characters were used by Koreans (mostly the upper-
Such stories call to mind others in which language is a source of conflict, difficulty, division or struggle. In the Book of Judges (chapter 12) we read that the Gileadites slaughtered 42,000 Ephraimites when the latter were unmasked as the “enemy” for pronouncing the word “Shibboleth” incorrectly as “Sibboleth”. In Acts 6 Greek-
In today’s text, it is remarkable that human language (one of the most salient and ambiguous characteristics of human nature) is used to symbolise the inbreaking reign of God. “They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as she enabled them.”
“Pentecost”, literally “50” days after Passover (the slaves freed from captivity in Egypt), was/is a Jewish feast at which Jews from all over the Empire gathered in Jerusalem. It was a feast (also called the Feast of the Harvest) to celebrate divine providence, in particular the provision of the Divine Law (including the Ten Commandments) at Mount Sinai God’s Word to unite, and enable loving relationships, a loving community.
Luke tells us that something happened in Jerusalem at Pentecost to cause a stir. Believers, still coming to terms with the absence of Jesus, were filled with his Spirit in such a way that they spoke and truly heard one another (a miracle) in spite of cultural divisions.
Pentecost, for Christians, has come to signify the birth of the Church, the beginnings of a new community of God’s people under the rule of Christ people from many cultures and nations. From Pentecost on, the Church grows in confidence worshipping God as the Trinity of Love interrupting the selfishness and the violence of the world in order to transform it. Luke’s story celebrates this by way of rich and colourful symbolism. Fire links this story to God’s fire on Mount Sinai. The new community of the Spirit celebrates, incorporates, and then transcends barriers of race, social stratification, economics, ethnicity and gender.
Here is an ancient image of the Church, perhaps the most ancient image: diversity without division, and unity without uniformity. The Orthodox icon, Descent of the Holy Spirit, shows this ancient image.
Pentecost, it is said, reverses the curse of the tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-
I mentioned last Sunday the careful work of Lyn Turnbull with regard to reporting on the tent embassy. You can read our report in the new SSH our efforts at gracious and truthful reporting ...
On Wednesday night the Wordplay poets met at the Woolpack to celebrate the work of our friend Cecile Pauly who passed away just a little over a year ago. We read some short poems we’d written in honour of Cecile, and we read some of Cecile’s poetry too. We remembered a person who cared about the world and the people around her, in and through her careful use of words words of acknowledgement and involvement, amusement and encouragement ...
“The unveiling of a new poem by Cecile Pauly and the careful way it was read aloud was an event. A sharing. A trust. An offering. An invitation to cherish the world, to love it towards wholeness and wellness. Cecile raised our expectations of language, of ourselves as poets and as people. What more can be asked of anyone?
“We knew that Cecile was unwell, but she was so often radiant. She didn’t often complain, hardly at all. Our recollections imagine her elegant, tall like an orchid; a smart dresser with sparkly eyes and beautiful skin. We see her quietly at work on a drawing or painting, enjoying Tai Chi in the Park, Sculptures by the Sea, a road-
“We hope she knows how much we cherish these visions; that we were never offended by her or disappointed in her (though sometimes she worried we might be); that we measure our courage and graciousness by way of her example; that we wish her no more pain, no shame at all, and nothing but joy” (SSH, June 2013).
Yesterday we heard the sad news of the passing of Anglican Bishop Rev. John MacIntyre, most recently the Bishop of Gippsland, formerly a much-
In an article published by the Latrobe Valley Express, John said: “As a priest, you’ve got to engage with what you think is important in the community, and it’s not up to [parishioners] to come up and tell you; you have to go out and find out what is important yourself ... If we are going to get to know each other and engage around the issues of life that really matter ... if it’s important to them, then it’s got to be important to you” (“Bishop’s strong progressive values” by Louis Nelson, Oct. 15, 2012).
The work of the Spirit in the world is life-
At Pentecost we rejoice that in the Spirit of Christ words are meaningful, that there is truth, embodied/material, that there is communication
Holy Communion. In the Spirit, human words, like the dry bones of Ezekiel 37, are re-
The kingly figure at the bottom of the icon is known as Kosmos and represents the worldly powers. Kosmos waits expectantly for the gifts of the Spirit, given not solely for the Church, but for the whole world, for the good of all ...
One thing we might do at Pentecost is to affirm and to celebrate those we notice within the Church and without taking great care to speak graciously and truthfully (John 1:14), which means also/always taking great care to speak creatively (John 1:3). The red streamers/ribbons on the altar-