Today we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit upon those gathered in the upper room – even though the doors were locked – and our Risen Lord appeared to them.
When we are open to inviting the Holy Spirit to be a part of our lives, amazing things can happen. Every year, this day brings this paragraph from C. S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” to mind:
Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.
Today, we are not only a different Church than we were 2000 years ago; we’re a different Church than we were last year, and even different than we were 6 months ago! The conronavirus pandemic changed our lives in ways that we’re still dealing with (and will need to deal with as we move forward), and all the work that was manifested throughout world organization to find a vaccine has seemed to once again deteriorate into division as a war rages between a superpower and its neighbor, as well as the the struggle between gun rights, the right to life, and the reception of the Eucharist starts to bring forth the perspective that all human constructs are flawed, and drives home the words of Scripture:
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. (Luke 1:51)
The song “My Soul Rejoices” by The Dameans speaks these words in a new way: “He confused the proud within their thoughts.” And once again proves that God’s ways are not our ways.
Two years ago when the pandemic shut down the world, I saw a sign in front of a Church that was so appropriate for not just our pandemic, but for what we need to do each and every week: “Church has left the building!”
Let us continue to do likewise, and rebuild the Church just like St. Francis of Assisi started, and as the Holy Spirit continues to make all things new!