This week I am a little preoccupied. As I write this reflection it is Wednesday and my youngest grandson is a little over due and seems reluctant to be born. He is making his presence felt, especially for our poor daughter in law, Melanie, yet he is not yet here. As a family we are in this time of waiting, this time of anticipation. It seems to me that the world… and Christians in particular, are in a similar state. We believe in a God who is and was, and is to come. We believe that God has always been in existence, God came into the world as a human being – and we await his coming again. God is Mystery and this week we explore that mystery in the Trinity.
The week’s readings offer rich images of God – God who is somehow three, but one – God (and Wisdom) who create, Jesus the Christ who redeems, and the Spirit who guides us into all truth.
In Words for Worship we read “If God cannot be contained in one nature, which is one way of understanding the Trinity, then who are we to contain, control, or constrain our experience of God and our expression of that experience? Sadly, we know that the church has had a deal of experience in controlling people’s understanding of God but less experience in inviting people to express the understandings of God that they have received from the world around them and their own lives. How are we to be good stewards of what we have been given, our traditions and all that we have learnt from those who have gone before, and at the same time encourage and support new understandings of and new insights into the nature of God?”
What is Gods call for us at this time? What is Wisdom’s voice saying to us today?
The other morning a mobile phone rang disrupting a church service I was attending. It wasn’t the first time and I doubt it will be the last. I remember a particular funeral where one mans’ phone rang at least 3 times… Poor man had just received a new ‘phoe and couldn’t work out how to turn it off.
People talk on the phone while at a check out, and at the movies. The practice is so prevalent that there are announcements made at the beginning of movies and, even in church services, to “please turn off your mobile phones.” People text while driving and text while at the movies … or out to dinner, or visiting friends.
A Facebook post I read this week was particularly apt. Did you “ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our mobile phone? What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets? What if we flipped through it several times a day? What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
What if we used it to receive messages from the text? What if we treated it like we couldn’t live without it?
What if we gave it to Kids as gifts?
What if we used it when we travelled?
What if we used it in case of emergency?
This is something to make you go… “Hmm – where is my Bible?” Oh, and one more thing. Unlike our mobile phone, we don’t have to worry about our Bible being
Disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill. Makes you stop and think ‘where are my priorities? And no dropped calls! When Jesus died on the cross, he was thinking of you!
Incidentally, I have downloaded the bible onto my iPhone… Workwise I need to have my mobile phone with me… personally I need the word of God!
This week we have celebrated the feast of Ascension. Unfortunately this feast falls on a Thursday so our celebrations only occur at our retirement homes so, as a parish, we tend to skip it and miss its significance.
On the day of his ascension Jesus had completed his physical work on earth and passed on the baton to the disciples and, eventually, through their efforts, to us. The disciples were commissioned with the responsibility of sharing the good news with the poor, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, freeing the captives and caring for the homeless. We are also “sent out” to do the same.
You may reply… I am too young, too weak, too tired, too old, too poor – but those early disciples were all of those things – just like us!
One of my favorite Christian spirituality authors, Anthony de Mello. in his book “The Song of the Bird” He tells the following story which, I believe puts our role amd place in Gods kingdom into perspective.
On the street I saw a small girl cold and shivering in a thin dress, with little hope for a decent meal. I became angry and said to God ‘Why did you permit this?’
For a while god said nothing. That night he replied quite suddenly, ‘I certainly did something about it. I made you.’”
The feast of Ascension marks, not the end of Jesus work on earth, but his letting go and releasing of gifts so that we might carry it forward.
Love, Joy, Peace, Unity, Harmony, and Encouragement, these are just some of the gifts of the Spirit and indicators of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the midst of those who call upon the name of Jesus… those who live and serve under the banner of Christ.
Last week I spoke about love, in particular, Jesus’ commandment that we should love one another just as he loves us. This involves loving those who we find difficult to like, those who are different to us and even those who wrong us in some way. This is not necessarily an easy task but such is Jesus love for us! In any community love can smooth away the negative impact of differences and divergence – allowing for acceptance, unity and harmony, within our diversity.
In this weeks gospel Jesus pushes the boundaries of faith of his disciples telling them that he will soon leave them, and that they cannot come with him. He unsettles them with this news, which, to them seems to make little sense despite the fact that Jesus has been trying to tell them in so many different ways. Now he promises them a gift … 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. This peace is not necessarily the freedom from wars or differences but a peace and calm at the very center of our being. Such peace holds the possibility of “joy” despite uncertainty such as that faced by the disciples who really had little understanding of what Jesus was on about. “If you loved me,” he said, “you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.”
On Wednesday evening some of us spoke about the fact that we often forget to give encouragement to one another… seemingly taking the gifts of our brothers and sisters for granted. In my absence this weekend let me offer you all some words of encouragement.
The gift of “love” is strong in your midst! There is “harmony” and “unity” and a wonderful acceptance of differences and individuality. When I speak to others about “my” parish this is what I tell others… but perhaps I neglect to tell you. I see the power of the Holy Spirit in your midst and I pray that you might always know the peace and joy that Jesus has promised.
Love and Blessings