Come Holy Spirit - Pentecost Sunday
News was given to Rabbi Moshe Leib that his best friend, the Rabbi of Berditchev, was seriously ill. On the Sabbath, Rabbi Leib said his friends name over and over in his prayers for a full recovery (which, by the way, is a wonderful way to pray for anyone in need). When he finished his prayers, Rabbi Leib put on a new pair of shoes which were made of Morocco leather. He laced them up tight and than began to dance. One of his disciples who was present said, "The power of God flowed forth from his dancing. Every step expressed profound mystery, and a strange, unearthly light filled the house where he was. Everyone who was there watching him saw the heavenly host join in his dance."
To be caught up in mystic dance is a deeply religious experience not only for Hasidic Jews but also for Sufi Muslims. Christians, for a variety of cultural reasons, do not usually include dancing among the "inspired" actions of devotion. As we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, we have to wonder about just how we would be affected if we were possessed by God's Spirit. In hundreds, if not thousands, of churches on this feast, Christians sing and pray, "Come, Holy Spirit." But this prayer usually carries an unspoken conditional clause, "but come in acceptable ways."
If we are unwilling to be "inspired" as was the saintly rabbi in the story, to allow the Spirit to move us as the Spirit desires, then should we really pray, "Come, Holy Spirit"? Each Pentecost we listen to the story of the first Christian Pentecost, when the Spirit of God caused the friends of Jesus to behave in a such a manner that the crowds thought them to be drunk. The purpose of this reflection is not to call for mass congregational dancing on Pentecost Sunday....I don't know about you but I am really good at tripping on linoleum as I am somewhat of a klutz...two broken hips thus far from falls.....Rather it is intended to challenge our awareness of what we are asking when we pray, "Come, Holy Spirit."
God certainly hears the prayers of those who are really serious about what they are requesting. Are we really serious about our petition for the Spirit of God--the Spirit of Fire, Truth and Justice, Love and Divine Madness to come into our well-ordered, respectable and Far West Texan lives? If we are dissatisfied with our daily lives, with their lackluster drabness, with their lack of passion and divine flavor, then like Rabbi Moshe Leib, let us pray with devotion to the Spirit of God. But before we begin such a faith filed prayer, perhaps we should look around and ask ourselves the question, "Am I ready - really ready - for the Holy Spirit to respond to my prayers?"
Maybe that is why Annie Dillard once said: "On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside of the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies' straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews."
Wouldn't you think twice about coming in the doors of St. Paul's if someone was there, with a crash helmet to hand you. “Sometimes,” the person might whisper to you, “the Spirit gets a little rowdy in here.”
Wouldn't we be shocked and stunned if our lay readers, acolytes and Eucharistic ministers suddenly began speaking in tongues, or collapsed around the altar slain in the Spirit?
Wouldn't it be a sobering experience for me, if, as I was vesting for the Eucharist, I also tied on a rope, like the high priests of Israel did before entering the Holy of Holies, just in case I suddenly expired because of my unworthiness or our close proximity to the jealous and dangerous Holy?
What the disciples discovered that first Pentecost, what Annie Dillard is pointing out is a simple truism: it is daylight-madness to expect to interact with the Living God, and get away unscathed.
- JUNE 13 -
Our Book study focusing on The Wisdom Jesus by Cynthia Bourgeault begins one week from tonight. It will be held on Thursday nights beginning on June 13 and ending on July 18th. It will be held in the Casita in Alpine (510 N. 2nd St.) at 6:30 in the evening. Our own David Mainz will be the facilitator. We have extra copies of the book at the church.
Psalm 104: 24-34, 35b
John 14: 8-17, (25-27)
John 14.23-29: An Adequate Peace?
Art and Faith
How would you illustrate any of that - what "the advocate" looks or feels like, what peace (either the world's or Jesus') looks like? The illustration below, titled "In the Dale" includes the text of John 14:27: "My peace I give you..." In this work, "peace" seems associated with land and house, with calm waters, with neutral colors.
John Maxted. In the Dale.
John 14.23-29 is part of what is usually called Jesus' "Farewell Discourse." He says to the disciples that though he himself is leaving, he is leaving an advocate with them. An advocate who will teach them and remind them. Jesus also promises to leave "peace" with them. He says it may not look like the world imagines peace to be, but it will, indeed, be peace.
Is that your image of peace? The world's peace? Or Christ's peace? Is this an adequate peace? What if this is not contemporary to us but is a vintage print from the first half of the 20th century? Would this seem a more-than-adequate peace for people who have survived a World War or the Great Depression? How do we talk about what Christ's peace looks like?
Genesis 11.1-9: Talk and Tools
You might even have been able to hear them singing as they were building:
Art and Faith
The more we get together, together, together
The more we get together the happier we'll be
But not everyone was happier with everybody getting together to build a tower to heaven. So language was confused (Genesis 11:1-9). No one could understand each other any more and building slowed. Slowed. And ultimately stopped. The tower was left to the ravages of time as surely as Ozymandias' vast and trunkless legs. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair! Perhaps the tower builders didn't know the story of Adam and Eve, whose lives were changed when they sought to be like God. Perhaps they knew but believed that their story would be different.
Perhaps that's just human nature - to want to leave works and legacies and reminders that you walked the earth. That you were here. Pieter Bruegel saw the tendency in 16th-century Antwerp (Belgium). He paired the commercial development and urban sprawl of Antwerp with the Biblical story of the tower of Babel.
The artist was commissioned to create several documentary paintings of the construction of a canal in Antwerp, so he put his learnings about construction to work in this large composition (approximately 45" x 61"). On the tower you'll see workers pulling boards up by ropes, horses pulling sleds piled with bags of something, workshops for creating building materials and tools, stonecarvers picking away at rock, ladders leaning against walls and boards spanning chasms.
The tower is based at least in part on the Colosseum in Rome, which at the time Bruegel painted was an abandoned and weed-covered ruin. Bruegel was making the point that what the Romans considered a masterpiece of engineering and architecture was now nothing to brag about. Perhaps the same fate awaited Antwerp's great plans for building and expansion.
Pieter Bruegel. Tower of Babel. 1563. Vienna: Kunsthistoriches Museum.
Google Art Project allows a really close zoom onto the details of this painting.
At the lower left, Nimrod has come to check the progress of his tower. Some of the stone cutters have stopped their work, bowing down to the king. One of the cutters has abandoned his tools on top of the stone on which he was working. But he has left the handle of the hammer and several of the spikes facing toward us. All we have to do is walk into the picture, pick up our tools, and help build this remarkable tower.
Should we? Should we have walked in and picked up those tools if we were in the Biblical story? Should we have done that if we lived in Bruegel's 16th-century Antwerp? What about now? Should we pick up those tools and go to work with people we may not understand? Human language is never unconfused. The miracle of Pentecost isn't one of speech. It's one of hearing: each one heard their own language (Acts 2:6). The Holy Spirit facilitated hearing. The problem of communication remains.
Why, This Gathering Place? (Pentecost ponderings)
In the one place,they waited and prayed and with hushed voices,wondered
Why, this gathering place?
Gather together and wait.”
That is what
they had come
together to do -
filled the room
from the One
and now presence
had moved them
from deepest grief
to bewildering joy -
“Believe in God,
believe also in me.”
Why were they
still in this place?
Why were they waiting?
The puzzle pieces
“Whoever has seen me
has seen the Father.”
All that they
while with him
were suddenly answered
in ways that were
unimaginable to them.
The Holy Spirit
rested upon them
as tongues of fire.
They were not consumed
but their lives would be
within each one
gathered in this place.
REMOVE YOUR SANDALS!
The door is now opened!
The wait is now over!
“Go and tell others!”
YES, LET US ALL GO AND TELL OTHERS!
6th - Thursday - Ini Kopuria, Founder of the Melanesian Brotherhood, 1945
7th - Friday - The Pioneers of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, 1890
8th - Tuesday - Roland Allen, Mission Strategist, 1947
9th - Pentecost Sunday - WEAR RED
9:00 - Bishop's Committee
10:30 - The Holy Eucharist
9th - Sunday - Columba, Abbot of Iona, 597
10th - Monday - Ephrem of Edessa, Syria, Deacon, 373
12th - 7:00 - Concert by Dara Roberts
12th - Wednesday - Enmegahbowh, Priest and Missionary, 1902
13th - 6:30 - Book Study in the Casita
The Wisdom Jesus
13th - Thursday - Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Apologist and Writer, 1936
14th - Friday - Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea, 379
15th - Saturday - Evelyn Underhill, 1941
16th - Trinity Sunday
9:15 - Bible Study
10:30 - The Holy Eucharist
16th - Sunday - George Berkeley, 1753, and Joseph Butler, 1752, Bishops and Theologians
June 17th - July 3rd
Susan and Fr. Mike's Anniversary Tour
18th - Tuesday - Bernard Mizeki, Catechist and Martyr in Mashonaland, 1896
19th - Wednesday - Adelaide Teague Case, Teacher, 1948
20th - 6:30 - Book Study in the Casita
The Wisdom Jesus
22nd - 9:30-Noon - Order of St. Luke
Big Bend Regional Medical Center, Alpine
22nd - Saturday - Alban, First Martyr of Britain, c. 304
23rd - Second Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 7
9:15 - Bible Study
10:30 - Morning Prayer led by Allison Scott
24th - Monday - THE NATIVITY OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST
25th - Tuesday - James Weldon Johnson, Poet, 1938
26th - Wednesday - Isabel Florence Hapgood, Ecumenist and Journalist, 1929
20th - 6:30 - Book Study in the Casita
The Wisdom Jesus
27th - Thursday -Cornelius Hill, Priest and Chief among the Oneida, 1907
28th - Friday - Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, c. 202
29th - Saturday - SAINT PETER AND SAINT PAUL, APOSTLES
30th - Third Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 8
Marfa Ministerial Alliance 5th Sunday Worship
First Presbyterian, Marfa
No worship at St. Paul's.
Here is who we prayed for in church
Any changes, please let us know.
Justin, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael, our Presiding Bishop, Michael, our Bishop and Michael, our Vicar….In the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we remember to Pray for La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico. In our Diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for Church of the Holy Mount, Ruidoso, St. Matthias', Carrizozo, St. Anne's, Glencoe, Holy Trinity, Raton, St. Michael's, Tucumcari… We Also pray for St. James, Alpine, St. Stephens, Ft. Stockton, Santa Inez, Terlingua, Chapel of St. Mary & St. Joseph, Lajitas, and the Marfa and Alpine Ministerial Alliances…. For Connor Travis and the ministry of Young Life
For Our Leaders
For Donald, our president, Greg our Governor, Manny our mayor-elect and the mayors and city managers of our surrounding communities…. our elected officials in Washington and all who exercise authority at any level of government. For all who struggle to make a more just society…
For the World
…for peace, that the Spirit will inspire human hearts to turn from violence, and work together to defeat the common enemies of disease, ignorance and poverty….For refugees and displaced persons, that God will guide to safety all who have fled violence and persecution, and help them find welcome in new communities…, for all who live and work in places of war and violence, For women and men and children who have been victims of sexual assault and sexual exploitation… for those whose lives have been turned upside down by various disasters: that God will help them rebuild their lives, give them strength to face their challenges and touch the hearts of many to assist them…,for all those in the military, especially those who come home broken in body, mind, and spirit …may the hearts of those reporting the news be drawn to what is true and right telling the truth in the most helpful way
For St. Paul’s
Bless the people and guide the ministries of this congregation to live out our mission to be a welcoming, prayerful, caring community actively sharing the love of God. Unite us ever more closely with you and with one another; and use our words and actions to draw others into the joy of the life you share with your Father and with your people, in the bond of the Holy Spirit
St. Paul’s Prayer List
Betty, Bill & Gail, Patty, Holly, D'Ette, Merit and the Fowlkes family, James, Shere, Kevin and Jay, Lesly, Lila, Linda King, Melodie, Mimi, Pat & Mary, the Vana Family… FOR Jeanie Olivas, Vijaya, Frank, Larry, Jack Risen, Kathryn Anschutuz, Sue Ellen Kelly, Brian Hutchins who have cancer… FOR David and Catherine in the midst of chemotherapy, …for Michael Simpson, Dale and Lee Ann, FOR Helen Bates, Gene, and Rucker who are in Hospice care….. for James and Brian Neal, Jacob, Linda & David, for Jenny, Megan and Elizabeth, for David who has MSA, Lloyd
Those who have died
Roy H. Carey, Jr, the victims of the Virginia Beach shooting: Laquita C. Brown, Ryan Keith Cox, Tara Welch Gallagher, Mary Louise Gayle, Alexander Mikhail Gusev, Joshua O. Hardy, Michelle Langer, Katherine A. Nixon, Richard H. Nettleton, Christopher Kelly Rapp, Herbert Snelling, Robert Williams
Grant to us all that is in accordance with your will, dear Jesus, and accomplish your salvation among us; for you are risen from the dead and dwell in majesty with your Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
O God, Creator of all thats is -
of seas and clouds, rains and rivers,
grass and trees, insects and fish,
humans, animals, birds and reptiles,
of all life connected, sharing this one earth -
we are aware that our way of living
is profoundly affecting the earth's climate,
that many people are in danger of flood and drought,
that some are greatly impoverished,
and the whole fabric of life is in danger.
to those who make international policies,
give wisdom and courage;
to those who direct industry and commerce,
give a concern for the common good;
to those who struggle for justice,
give strength and hope;
and to us all
give the grace and strength to change our ways
for the good of all that lives
and for your glory.
GOOD NEWS & THANK YOU
Many Thanks to Buddy Knight who built the wall and is building the chalk holder, Carolyn Macartney and her apprentice, Britt Mazurek made the wall come alive!
Thank you to people participating in the discussion about intercessory prayer either in person or on-line.
SEEING YOU SUNDAY