Thursday, March 14, 2013

Habemus Spiritus Sanctus

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.   Romans 8:14

The Catholics may be the one church which has a more complicated process for calling a new pastor than we Presbyterians! Yet, it is obvious that the election of Pope Francis I has brought joy, wonder, and excitement to so many of that faith. I join them in praying for the new Pope, especially that he might be guided by the life and witness of Francis of Assisi.

A Presbyterian for the long haul, I admit that there I am not likely to convert to Catholicism. Yet, it is part of my Christian heritage and tradition and I am especially attracted to the monastic movement. But in watching that historic event yesterday afternoon (my time), I was struck again by the power of making the sign of the cross and speaking the Trinitarian formula.

When they do so, they are constantly being reminded of the God who created us and all that is around us, the God who has entrusted that created order to our care, the God who must wonder (on most days) what in the world we are doing with the world.

They are reminded, every time they make the sign of the cross, of Jesus.  Not just the Jesus who is our best friend, the one who walks with us, the one we would must like to meet down at the pub. But the Jesus who is radical enough to believe that we can offer more compassion to the poor than we are, the one who dares us to see God in the most vulnerable around us, the one who challenges us to stop making Christianity the status quo and make it the upsetter-of-apple carts.

And they are continually whispering to themselves that the Holy Spirit is a part of everything. Not content to sit back and rest on her laurels of moving upon the face of the waters at Creation, she continues to move in our midst.  A dove, the Spirit pushes and pulls us towards the role of peacemakers; a flame, the Spirit keeps trying to light a fire under us and get us moving out of our comfort zones; a mighty wind, the Spirit would knock us off our self-imposed pedestals of grandeur and send us face first into the muck and mire of the world where we will work alongside Jesus in service to others; a whisper, the Spirit would sing us songs about the fresh, new ways of being God's people, so we can go out and sing them to others.

May we be reminded of the presence, the power, the peace of the Spirit in our midst this day.

© 2013 Thom M. Shuman

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