DiscipleChurch Family and Friends,
When you were growing up and you got upset about something, did people tell you — you should “count to 10” before reacting or before saying anything? Really, who wants to count when they’re mad! Besides, for me, some of my best “wit” is instantaneously generated when I am mad; it seems a shame to stifle such creativity.
Does this resonate with anyone else? I admit, I have had to learn (often the hard way) the wisdom in waiting — in taking in a deep breath — before reacting when I am mad. Since including the spiritual practice of Centering Prayer into my life, I have been able (at times) to welcome my breathing in that deep breath and counting to one, when I am upset or overwhelmed. Sometimes, I am able to breathe in that deep breath once, twice, even three times and feel a sense of calm come over me. Now granted, this calm sometimes only lasts a second but at other times, it lasts much longer.
What if, our breathing in that deep breath — that calming breath — was our breathing in the breath of God, afresh? A breathing in of the Holy Spirit. That in our breathing in and in our exhaling, we open ourselves to being reminded that the Holy Spirit is always with us, just as Jesus promised.
Could our breathing in of the Holy Spirit become our own personal Pentecost? A gift from God — the life giving inpouring of the Holy Spirit into our bodies reminding us that God does dwell within each of us. Over time and with lots of practice, might we begin to slow down our immediate response when we are angry and instead, breathe in deeply opening ourselves up to the work of the Holy Spirit? Perhaps, we could begin to welcome God into whatever situation or set of circumstances we are angry about? Then, is it possible, that our response to difficult circumstances might be different? Are we willing to allow ourselves to be changed by the Holy Spirit, if only for a moment?
This Sunday we will continue to explore Pentecost, welcoming the Holy Spirit, and possibilities of breathing in…. Put on your mud boots and grab your umbrella and join us at 7:20 a.m. in Wesley Hall for our community breakfast, then 8:30 a.m. in the Chapel, and followed at 9:30 a.m. in the Foundation building for discussion and formation.
When Pentecost Day arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound from heaven like the howling of a fierce wind filled the entire house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be individual flames of fire alighting on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak.
It was still the first day of the week. That evening, while the disciples were behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you don’t forgive them, they aren’t forgiven.”
Your sister in Christ,