Pentecost 2011

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Virtually every verse in the Bible, beginning with the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters, and culminating with the vision of heaven and earth passing into eternity, in one manner or another inspires the heights of passion and awe. To be sure, there is a most prayerful comfort in the words; and the lyric grandeur of the Psalms literally begs the heart to beat in meditation. Still, this quiet beauty unearths deep, raw emotions. It really cannot be otherwise. Every verse, after all, recounts neither more nor less than the fall of man and the revelation of God to men, by which God rescues men from their own, tragic history. If that is not the wellspring of passion and awe, then nothing can be, as indeed even lifeless stones cry out for the coming of Our Lord.

The story of our fall and redemption is so very passionate and awe inspiring, from the heroic Cry of Joshua before Jericho to the tormented Cry of Dereliction by Our Lord on His Cross, because our fall from grace and redemption into glory really matters. Each and every one of us matters. We each matter, regardless of our station in life. We each matter, regardless of how far we have fallen into sin. We each matter, regardless of the fact that we are from dust and must return to dust. It is fitting then that the scene at Pentecost should excite the senses: we hear the sound of Heaven as if the mighty wind; we see the Holy Ghost as many cloven tongues of fire; we feel the thunderous commotion, as the multitude from the farthest reaches of the world hear in their tongues the wonderful works of God. By the grace of Our Father, and in virtue of His Son, heaven then and forever more has descended to man, not in the sense of becoming a lesser heaven than previously, but in virtue of men becoming the Sons of the Father in Christ Jesus. As Sons of the Father, our real home is in heaven with God. Therefore, so long as we remain on the earth, if we are to be Sons of the Father, then heaven must remain intimately near, able to be heard, seen, and felt, in the sheer frenzy of Pentecost, as much as in the recurrent joy of receiving the Blessed Body and Blood of Our Lord in Holy Communion. To know that we are Sons of the Father, and that heaven is our real home, indeed is earth shattering, because God is great and He wishes for all men to live greatly inside Himself. Christ Jesus tells each and every one of us that we should be perfect as Our Father in heaven is perfect. Because each and every one of us matters to God, as if He had created no one or nothing else upon which to shower the fullness of His love, He gives us Himself as the Holy Ghost, by which we may pick ourselves up when we stumble and press forward toward this perfection. This is why the foreigners at Pentecost hear of the wonderful works of God as if spoken within their native tongues: In God, there are simply no strangers; and among the faithful in Christ, no one man is more or less to be valued as a Son of the Father, than his brother or sister.

Recall how fallen men presumed to reach the very heights of heaven by their own measure and on their own terms, rather than wait faithfully for God to bring heaven unto them in His own manner and time. They innately sensed their own greatness; but in their wickedness, they then confused themselves with God and sought to exhibit their divinity by constructing the Tower of Babel by one accord. We know the result: hubris smashing upon the rocks of madness, from which these men separated into different tongues. Now, in the Pentecost event, God has closed the loop that began with the Tower of Babel. Again, all men are assembled in one accord; but in this instance, they do not presume to ascend unto heaven, but receive with open hearts the gift of heaven descending unto them. They come as strangers but leave as brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. More than sensing their own greatness, they know intimately that each and every one of them is a Son of the Father and that there is no greater dignity and joy than to share this reality with their fellow men. Such awareness is in itself worthy of the immense passion and awe that heralds the descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost. We should see in the mighty wind, the cloven tongues of fire, and the coming together of strangers just how much God values each and every one of us. Indeed, God shows that He wants no man to be a stranger to His love or to one another.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Published by Michael Sean Erickson

I write, act, and produce films in Los Angeles. Everything else is conjecture.

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