Friday, May 21

Pentecost in Ordinary Times

This Sunday will mark the Christian feast of Pentecost. Celebrated since the 3rd Century, Pentecost commemorates the decent of the Holy Spirit onto the Apostles as tongues of flames. Pentecost - from the Greek word for fifty days - falls fifty days, or the seventh Sunday, after Easter.

I'm not sure why, but the coming of Pentecost has reminded me, more than any other Christian celebration this year, that our lives are cyclical, and the seasons come and go as if we were simply turning a giant wheel. I suppose its that there is something found in Pentecost, flaming tongues not withstanding, that is... its ending. After this the church falls into ordinary time. Ordinary time is what happens when God isn't being born as a baby or walking out of a grave or lighting our heads on fire. No, those things aren't ordinary.

Ordinarily we go about our daily lives and, unless we are looking for something divine, we probably won't notice anything miraculous at all. Ordinary is what happens when we arrive at work every day, do our jobs and then return home to fix dinner, read books and go to bed. Life takes place in the ordinary. While we celebrate these feasts as a way to remember that God is out there and the Divine has moved in unbelievable ways, I find that I am called to remember that the Divine is always present. Always nudging us in subtle ordinary ways. If there is one thing that I draw from the bizarre story told in the second chapter of Acts it is that we all speak different languages. We all experience the world in different ways. Life is certainly not one fits all, and if the story of Pentecost is to be believed, God isn't either.

I might be alone when I say this, but I have never heard a burning bush speak my name, or had a blinding light tell me to change. I have plenty of things that I am unsure of, but what makes me love and seek the Divine are the constant reminders of the generosity and mysteries of life. The poet reading their work, cheap wine at a not- so-fine restaurant, art in the gallery, and musicians in the park. The inspiring novel read at the bus stop amid gas fumes and the drawn faces of the passersby. I have done a lot of things that I regret, but they are also why I cling to the mercy of God's grace. I'm pretty sure that most people can learn mercy with out screwing up as much as I have, but I don't think I could have come to love God in any other way. At times my life has seemed insurmountable, but I mount up every ordinary morning and ride.


Amy said...

This post really moved me. I have a "burning bush" in my garden and, no, it hasn't spoken to me. But there are many, many other entities that do speak to me. You are much younger than me but I discern wisdom in you.

Your post about the bus driver struck me too - it's the everyday ordinary "shaft of enlightenment" that propels us. Where?

Can we find God's grace in comments to our blogs? Maybe. All I can say is that you touched me. Thank you.

Robin said...

Katy, I appreciate your expressions. I still struggle now that my ordinary has become unordinary. I struggle to recognize the change in ordinary and I struggle to then let go of some ordinary to simplify. Therein lies God's grace in my life - sustaining me even when I need to define even the ordinary. I had an overwhelming experience this week when I went through moments of feeling lonely and then later felt in a 'clear' place and knew God was with me; I was not alone and had a sense of perfect peace. Perhaps a Pentecost experience; perhaps an ordinary experience because I know God's sustaining love. Thanks for stirring my thoughts.

The Bug said...

"Life is certainly not one fits all, and if the story of Pentecost is to be believed, God isn't either." - That's it exactly!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

What a great post! I'm so glad you visited my blog and I discovered you. I'll be bellying up here often, thank you. Your faith in the loveliness of life, whether we choose to call it God or not, is beautiful and accessible to all.