|Pen and Ink Reflections||
‘The Body doesn’t lie’, they say. Well, certainly it can powerfully reveal and prompt us to the truth. Years ago, for example, I remember a yoga teacher asking me to curl up into the foetal position and give myself a hug, expressing my love for myself. But I simply couldn’t manage it. I took up position, but my arms just wouldn’t do it. Even when I actively exercised my mind to give myself the appearance of a hug, my body would not obey. For you cannot simply command love. It has to be received, acknowledged, and embodied. Or, to put it another way, love has to be breathed in and breathed out. All of this takes us to the heart of Jesus’ teaching about the commandments (in Mark 12.28-34), and to the core of the Biblical tradition…
(Jo) What an abundance of rich spiritual images we have in our liturgy today – all trying to capture just a hint of the richness of the Holy Spirit. I wonder which speaks most vividly to you – is it the fire, the wind, the breath, the dove, the tongues, the living bones? Or is it the breathing, the blowing, the swirling, the burning, the dancing, the prophesying? For somehow nouns are never enough for the Spirit – we need the verbs, the present participles that suggest movement, motion, dynamism. One thing is certain, without the Spirit, we as individuals and the church would be stuck – it is the Spirit that moves through our ‘stuckness’ and constantly invites us to the new.
We’re going to explore just a few of the pictures of the Spirit, acknowledging that no one image can ever come close to the fullness of this animating force of the divine. So, where to begin Penny?...
“He breathed on them and said, ’Receive the Holy Spirit’”
- Oh my: it’s to be hoped they were all at 1.5metres distance and wearing masks!...
I want to talk about being locked shut and about being breathed open. And I want to explore what it might mean, as Jackie will do today (as she comes to baptism as an adult), to begin again.
‘The doors of the house where the disciples met were locked for fear of the Jews’. Those early disciples were a pretty terrified bunch. Even as the possibility that Jesus could be alive was dawning on them, they remained uncertain, afraid of being arrested and killed. It seems to me likely that they met secretly for a long time. The texts of the New Testament compress what was probably a lengthy process, into the shorter units of symbolic time. But whether these things happened over a few hours and days, or many years hardly matters. What matters is that a change occurred and a new beginning became possible...
"No one will snatch them out of my hand"
- what a wonderful promise - and how appropriate as we come to baptise Eliza today. No one is ever going to be able to snatch this little one out of the hand of God. This is true for all of us, yet I wonder how often we pause to think about it and to register just how safe and held we truly are...