Spirit-Wind

Judy widswept (3)I am not a fan of the wind. I’m not talking about the more romantic notion of a gentle breeze on a summer’s day that brings relief from the heat or whispers through overhead branches. No, I’m talking about the kind of wind that rearranges carefully arranged hairstyles, that wraps the laundry around the clothesline, that dumps plumes of red dust on my car and my windows, that sets off the sensor lights at the front door, which in turn sets off the dogs, that roars up and down the side of our house and whistles through cracks and crannies – you get the idea.

I am not a fan of the wind, but I have to stop and consider the reality that wind is a strong metaphor for the Spirit of God. The coming of the spirit was accompanied by a sound like the rush of a violent wind.

Some years ago, I attended a retreat at Queenscliff. It was winter and the weather was stormy. When I ventured out, I did so with lots of layers – hat, coat, scarf, gloves. On one occasion, I rugged up to go outside to walk the labyrinth. The wind was roaring, chilling my face, biting my nose and ears.

Chartres labyrinth

Chartres labyrinth

If you’ve ever walked a labyrinth, you’ll know that it twists and turns back on itself as you make your way into the centre, so one moment the wind was full into my face, the next it was pushing me from behind. At first, I persevered – I ducked my head, buttoned my coat up higher, held onto my hat and tried to keep my scarf up around the lower part of my face. But, there came a point where I decided it was too much, I would give it up rather than fight the wind and that’s when I heard very clearly, not a voice from heaven, but in my spirit, ‘turn your face into the wind’.

My first response was, ‘I don’t think so’, but the sense of the message was so strong that I eventually lifted my head, took off my hat and let the wind blow. That’s when I remembered that one metaphor for the Spirit of God is wind. God is in the wind.

Later, I walked the beach in this wild weather. The water was choppy and grains of sand stung my face, both kicked up by the wind. The tide was coming in and as I walked, the breaking waves washed away my footprints. At the time, there were a number of things happening in my experience which I knew would bring turmoil and change that I didn’t want it. But walking in the wind – first the labyrinth and then the beach, reassured me that the Spirit is in the wind. Together, we would weather the coming storms.

On the day of Pentecost, the first sign of what was happening was the sound like the rush of a violent wind. The inclusion of the word, ‘violent’ in this description tells us that it wasn’t a comforting sound.

When the Spirit comes, the experience is not always comfortable. Sometimes, a violent wind rearranges our carefully arranged lives, chills our faces and strikes fear into our hearts. Sometimes we are confused and amazed and perplexed so that we want to deny movement of the Spirit. We may even want to simply say ‘no’, or to explain it away.

Pentecost invites us to open ourselves to the holy in-breathing of the Spirit of life in whatever way the Spirit comes. Despite my dislike of the wind, I want to be ready to give my ‘yes’.

Pentecost Prayer

Spirit…
energy of the dance…
promise in the water…
rush in the wind…
rhythm in the word…
poetry of the faith…
silence in the horror…
patience in the waiting…
question in the wonder…
curve on the horizon…
brightness in the sun…
speed in the light…
life in the resurrection…

Come Spirit…
be it all…
and bring us into renewal once more…

~ written by Roddy Hamilton, and posted on Mucky Paws 

Photo taken at Faith and Fabric exhibition at Brunswick Uniting Church on 09 November 2014

I took this photo at Faith and Fabric exhibition at Brunswick Uniting Church on 09 November 2014

 

 

That They May be One

‘That they may be one’; this is the prayer Jesus prayed for those who would believe in him long after he was gone. It’a a prayer that continues to reverberate as Christ believers still behave in ways that undermine the unity of the Christian church and thus, the credibility of the idea that God is at work in the world.

Inspired by a retreat that I attended last month, which introduced me to the idea of Quantum Entanglement I’ve been challenged and excited by the lectionary readings in recent weeks with their emphasis on how our relationships with each other have the power to change our surroundings and indeed, the world.

When we observe the other with love, particularly that prickly, unlikeable other; that has the power to make a statement to the watching world about discipleship: quantum entanglement. When we love our enemy and pray for our persecutor; that has the power to push back the darkness inherent in enmity: quantum entanglement.

When we desist from labelling the clean and unclean, that has the power to change perceptions and the history of the church: quantum entanglement.

Whenever the church, empowered by the Spirit of God, allows that its many expressions and diversity of views are one under God, observers catch a glimpse of God in Christ. This, in turn, enables something of the love of God to break through: quantum entanglement.

Unity is not easy; it takes effort, but the power of unity is more than we can know or understand – it’s a power to change the world: quantum entanglement.

that they may be one

Break Our Hardened Hearts

broken_heart1Complicit, guilty

association condemns:

break our hardened hearts

 

self-immolateTimWinton_Love Makes a Way

verb (i) (self-immolated, self-immolating)
to commit suicide by dousing oneself with petrol and then setting oneself on fire, especially as a political protest.

complicity 

noun (plural complicities)
1.  the state of being an accomplice; partnership in wrongdoing.

Sean Kelly,  in his article, A despicable press conferencewrites:

One of the strengths of humanity is its ability to adapt to new conditions. The downside of this is our tendency to accustom ourselves to new patterns very quickly. The argument that this is how Australia’s asylum seeker policy is meant to work – the deliberate exercise of cruelty in order to prevent potentially disastrous decisions – is no longer shocking.

Perhaps we will feel that way about self-immolation, soon.

All of the above weighs heavily on my heart and mind after the news of a second asylum seeker, driven to desperation by Australian asylum seeker policy, has set herself alight in Nauru. I accept a certain level of complicity; the government of the day is subject to the people and I am one of the people.

This morning, we are beset by politicians trying to sell the federal budget, which was handed down last night, and at the same time, dismiss any suggestion of culpability in this latest tragedy. Questions are asked and side-stepped; interviewers move on. I find myself trying to hold on to the horror and the outrage and even my sense of guilt, but it fades as the next news item vies for attention. It bothers me that my heart is hardening, that the shock is wearing off, that I might yet become used to stories of self-immolation, and excuse myself of complicity.

How to raise again the value of ‘the currency of mercy’?

To have mercy is to have a broken heart … in order to be merciful, we must know how desperately we need mercy … we are a people who are empty

This statement from the Sisters of Mercy of South America speaks to our need. Let our hearts be broken over this.

 

 

Brand New Consciousness

A simple question:

‘Do you want to be made well?

No easy answer.

 ∼

Walls already built

Reasons why we can’t or won’t

That’s the way it is.

Yet, invitation:

‘Stand up, take your mat and walk’

Brand new consciousness.

New Consciousness


Inspired by  the Gospel of John 5:1-9

Thanks for Listening

I met him last week on the steps on The Royal Women’s Hospital. He was coming up, while I was going down. He spoke to me. I hesitated, he stopped.

‘Do you work here?’ he asked.

‘No,’ I said, stopping too.

‘What do you do then?’

‘I’m a minister of religion,’ I told him. A mistake.

He immediately pounced; began to tell me about experiences he’d had, religious and otherwise. About his girlfriend’s experiences, how young she was and his need for someone with more knowledge.

It was raining. I had an umbrella, but he was getting wet. I angled my brollie in an attempt to shelter him a little. He didn’t seem to notice and talked on, asking me questions but leaving me no time to answer. He didn’t need answers.

He had a theory, a conspiracy theory. Inwardly, I groaned, but none-the-less decided I would hear him out. A mega-virus with the capacity to wipe us all out. He had a sample of it with him and he held up a small esky. He should get going. He was taking it inside and he looked up at the hospital.

‘This is the Women’s,’ he said. ‘I’m at the wrong entrance. I’m going to the Melbourne.’

He laughed and turned away from me. Continuing down the steps towards the street corner and my car, I heard him call out. I turned to see him waving at me.

‘Thanks,’ he said, ‘thanks for listening!’

Sometimes, it doesn’t take much to show mercy.

silentlisten2

Image found at: http://annatrundle.com/silentlisten

The Voice

International Womens DayHappy International Women’s Day!

Today, I’m waiting on the arrival of a third grandchild (perhaps a second grand-daughter) who’s now two days overdue. With this imminent arrival constantly on my mind, I’ve watched again this video, put out by 1 Million Women, who have transformed John Farnham’s much-loved song, ‘You’re the Voice’ into ‘a powerful anthem from women for climate action and hope’.

What has most moved me in the viewing is the variations on the theme:

  • You’re the Voice
  • I’m the Voice
  • We’re the Voice

… together with the multitude of faces depicting:

  • the well-known and the unknown
  • the long-lived and the unborn
  • racial diversity

Here’s to a world where my grandchildren, both the boy(s) and the girl(s), will raise their voices together in unity, for They’re the Voice!

They’re the Voice, You’re the Voice, We’re the Voice, I’m the Voice!

Watch 1 Million Women’s Video here