|Pen and Ink Reflections||
My wife Penny and I met at theological college. It was certainly not love at first sight. I was quite introverted, not trying to give away much of who I was, and Penny – well, Penny was very nervous and came across as a terrible caricature of an English middle-class blue stocking type of woman: think, those of you who can remember back that far, of Joyce Grenfell in the old St Trinian’s films. Our college was overwhelmingly full of men, with this being only the second year a handful of women had been admitted. So, when I met Penny in the first hour or so after arriving, I thought: ‘well, if this is how the women are here, I am simply not going to survive!’ I guess that was one factor in our initial relationship: sheer survival in an age and culture still trying to come to terms with the equality of women as a whole, never mind wider gender diversity. It was an earlier reminder that, if Penny and I were to minister, it would be as salt. We would be adding fresh flavour to both the Church and the wider world, seeking to provide healing or simply preservation for some of us, and, from time to time, perhaps irritating others into whose wounds we might be placed to aid healing. Maybe some will have views on how well, or otherwise, we have done that so far. Our hope and prayer is, in the words of Jesus in our Gospel reading today, that we, with others, will never lose out saltiness…
Ghost no more
This question shows my age, but do some of us remember when the Holy Spirit was typically known as ‘the Holy Ghost’? How words change. For ‘Holy Ghost’ used to be very traditional. ‘Ghost’ indeed derives from the Old English word gast. It means ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’, and is the equivalent of the Latin word spiritus. Similar words are found in other Germanic influenced languages, such as geest in Dutch and geist in German (from which we also have the influential compound word Zeitgeist’, meaning spirit of the time, or generation). Today however, most people would relate the word ‘ghost’ to something that goes bump in the night, or something very insubstantial. So, in recent decades, Christians have made a shift from ‘Holy Ghost’ to ‘Holy Spirit’. In doing so, we have rediscovered much of what ‘Holy Ghost’ used to represent in centuries past, and have also encountered that mystery afresh. Yet do ghostly perspectives of the Holy Spirit still limit our own lives and understandings, and certainly many aspects of wider Christian Faith?...
sermons and reflections from Penny Jones & Josephine Inkpin, a married Anglican clergy couple serving with the Uniting Church in Sydney