Dear friends, 

Pentecost is the Feast Day for The Spirit of Life and we’ll be celebrating in style today ~ including with a very special festive cake!   But before we get to the cake, we’ll be gathered

in our “upper room” ....the sanctuary where we gather each week not in fear, but in eager anticipation of how the Spirit will speak to and through each of us as we pray together.   And, often we are surprised!   I was surprised when Jan Richardson’s latest Pentecost poem, “This Grace That Scorches Us,” arrived this past week.  The title caught me off guard and quite honestly generated some of the ‘fear’ that I no longer associate with my spiritual journey. But, there it was!  Before I even got to the poem, the title stopped me dead in my tracks and I wondered: “In what way might I be ‘scorched’?” It did not seem ‘inviting’!  It was, however, intriguing....and well worth setting aside my ‘fear of the burn’ to read and reflect on her thoughts. We share Jan’s poem with you below: 

This Grace That Scorches Us
A Blessing for Pentecost Day

Here’s one thing
you must understand
about this blessing:
it is not
for you alone.

It is stubborn
about this;
do not even try
to lay hold of it
if you are by yourself,
thinking you can carry it
on your own.

To bear this blessing,
you must first take yourself
to a place where everyone
does not look like you
or think like you,
a place where they do not
believe precisely as you believe,
where their thoughts
and ideas and gestures
are not exact echoes
of your own.

Bring your sorrow. Bring your grief.
Bring your fear. Bring your weariness,
your pain, your disgust at how broken
the world is, how fractured,
how fragmented
by its fighting, its wars,
its hungers, its penchant for power,
its ceaseless repetition
of the history it refuses
to rise above.

I will not tell you
this blessing will fix all that.

But in the place
where you have gathered,
Lay aside your inability
to be surprised,
your resistance to what you
do not understand.

See then whether this blessing
turns to flame on your tongue,
sets you to speaking
what you cannot fathom

or opens your ear
to a language
beyond your imagining
that comes as a knowing
in your bones
a clarity
in your heart
that tells you

this is the reason
we were made,
for this ache
that finally opens us,

for this struggle, this grace
that scorches us
toward one another
and into
the blazing day.
                         © Jan Richardson.

The line “we were made, for this ache that finally open us,” is a very ‘grounding’ line for me. Yes, we really were made to “feel the burn” of one another’s burdens. My ‘fear’ was understandable, for it is a tremendous burden to see, to feel, to connect to the brokenness in ourselves and one another....and the brokenness of our world. The fire of Pentecost is meant to set our hearts burning for one another, for peace, for understanding...despite differences, for justice, for dialogue, for caring and giving, for listening, for silence when it is called for, and for speaking when “it” must be said. We are not called to “sit in the hot spot”....but rather to ‘spill out into the streets’ blazing!!

As a community, members and guests of The Spirit of Life, find support and hope in the journey through time and body to deepen our spiritual lives, and work together to transcend our limitations and grow in faith. Our liturgies are not “cluttered’ with non-inclusive language and messages that discount the dignity of all people. Rather, we are radically simple in embodying the “good news” of Jesus Christ... “uncluttered” by messages caught in the moral time warp so present in more traditional Catholic liturgies. At the Spirit of life... the call of women to ordained priesthood is affirmed...the sacredness of all loving relationships is honored and celebrated, and as Jesus did, we welcome ALL to the Table!   If you are seeking a Catholic community where you do not need to mentally/silently “insert” inclusive language into your prayer at Mass, or lament that your children are hearing non-loving messages about people whose sexual orientation is other than heterosexual, or feel that your “voice” is not heard.....we invite you to come and experience life in our community. We are an inclusive and interactive community, where everyone has a “voice.”  We are truly a people of “justice & Joy.”

May your heart be “ablaze” today with the love of and for our God and all the people of our world.

with burning blessings,

Jean & Ron