Come Spirit, Come!

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”~John 14

The Spirit is wily in scriptures, connected with life, renewal, and peace but also fire, smoke and a violent wind. In our thanksgiving for baptism throughout Easter, we are reminded that Jesus calms and troubles the waters. Apparently, the Spirit too, can be both life-giving and a bit terrifying. Most of us would prefer the life-giving peaceful Spirit and yet perhaps these seemingly diametrical attributes are two sides of the same coin.

The Niedermaiers love having and hosting bonfires. Gathering around a campfire invites deep conversation and a relationship with a powerful element in the universe: fire. Here in Florida, we have also found that strategically locating a bonfire is about the only way to get the woody invasive vines that have taken up residence in our yard to die for good, leaving room for native species to take root and reestablish a foothold in the ecosystem. Huh! fire and death lead to a healthier ecosystem and life! To those invasive vines, that bonfire must be terrifying. But to the ecosystem and native species, that fire is life, renewal, and a better ecosystem/community.

I suspect that is how the people of God have experienced the Spirit working in their lives. When our habits, beliefs and systems are destructive and invasive, the Spirit shows up like a bright light blinding us (for example: Saul). When the Spirit has made room for new life, renewal, reconciliation, and community, those who were restricted, perishing and suffering, experienced the Spirit as life-giving and peaceful. Continued next page

Amidst the war in Ukraine, violence in Palestine, far too many deaths by gun violence and mass killings, and our continued political polarization, as a people of God this Pentecost season, we cry out Holy Spirit Come! And as much as we crave the life-giving, renewing, peaceful work of the Spirit we might also be uncomfortably surprised by what the Spirit has to burn up/off in and around us to do that work.

Come Holy Spirit, Come!

☩Pastor Kari