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Pentecost – The Spark of God

Sister Doreen’s Reflections

I share a poem by Joyce Rupp:

“Spark of God! Spirit of life!
I remember and celebrate your dwelling within me.
Divine Fire, you never waver in your faithful presence.
Amid the seasons of life, you are my illumination.
Ever-present Light, the spark of your inspiration is with me every moment.
Eternal Joy, the dancing flames of your joy are reflected in my happiness
And in the many ways I delight in life.
Spirit of God, your fiery presence gives me passion for life and mission.
Blazing Love, the radiant glow of your compassion, fills me with kindness and understanding.
Purifying Flame, your refining fire transforms me as I experience life’s sorrows, pain, and discouragement.
Radiant Presence, your steady flame of unconditional love kindles my faithful and enduring relationships.
Luminous One, you breathe love into me at my birthing and your love will be with me as I breathe my last.
Thank you for being a shining Spark of life within me.”

Joyce’s poem really made me ponder “Spark of God, Spark of Life”. It actually took me to the Ezekiel scripture reading (Ezekiel 37: 1-14) and the seeming dream, or nightmare really, of being in the midst of a whole valley of dry bones and of seeing what happens when the spirit – or the breath – or the spark of God enters into the bones!

This was, and still is, a dramatic image of what God can and will do through the spirit to bring to life a community that considers itself dead, the spirit can enter into the social order and re-energize and remotivate its recovery. When an individual or a community allows the spirit to begin the work (the hard work and the acceptance of the cost, everything we have and are) of transformation and change – they can begin to become a resurrection people – a shalom people bringing health, wholeness, justice and freedom – there the dry bones begin to live.

All of us have bones lying around! Sometimes it is wise to be totally realistic about a situation, even when, or especially when, we are frightened, or feeling guilty, or overwhelmed by tasks facing us. in every situation in our lives God is trying to say something to us. Part of our vocation is to presume that this is so and to listen. That task can be very difficult, but it is necessary to turn the dry bones into living bones, and into transforming and healing communities of people.

God often communicates by asking questions (Listen, can these bones live?) Can I do this task? Can this relationship become a healing and life-giving one? Can this community become a transforming and life-giving community where people are nurtured, set free, and loved into becoming the people that God means them to be? By asking questions, the spirit challenges us and calls us to struggle with situations to become resurrection people.  Can these dry bones live?

Joan’s comments about the spark of God, took me back to the 1960’s when the song called “It only takes a spark to get a fire going” or it was also called “Pass it on” – I share that song with you.

It Only Takes A Spark
by Kurt Kaiser (1969)

It only takes a spark, to get a fire going (going)
And soon all those around, can warm up in glowing (
That’s how it is with God’s love (
Once you’ve experienced it You spread his love to everyone;
You want to pass it on (
pass it on, pass it on)

What a wondrous time is spring, when all the trees are budding (budding)
The birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming (
That’s how it is with God’s love (
A–hh!) Once you’ve experienced it
You want to sing, it’s fresh like spring You want to pass it on (
pass it on, pass it on)

I wish for you my friend, this happiness that I have found (I have found)
You can depend on him, it matters not where you are bound (
you are bound)
I’ll shout it from the mountain top (
A–hh!) I want the world to know, the Lord of love has come to me
I want to pass it on (
pass it on, pass it on)

Our human gifts and initiatives are needed, to get that spark going. One of the great ingredients at every level of human experience is obedience, the willingness to step out in risk and trust. Can the dry bones live? Can we breath new life into the community of God, here in this place, here in this world of ours?

What if we, who have received the spark of God in our baptism and said yes to the working of the spirit in our lives, are the difference between the way the world is now and the coming of peace on earth. What if we are the difference between darkness pervading the world or light coming into the world? Are we saying ‘yes’ to the spark of God? The spark of Life? The answer to these questions is what Pentecost is all about.

Bishop Tutu wrote: “Each of us is precious in an individual, special way. This God breathes the divine breath (the Spirit) incessantly into me, into this clod of earth, to make me a living being. God upholds me from moment to moment …”

This is the free gift of Pentecost. It is all an offer, free of charge. All I need is to be open and responsive and to give up all that I am and have into God’s hands, and all will be given. We become not spectators of our Lord’s life but actually we become the Body of Christ on earth.

As Teresa of Avila said:

“Christ has no body now but yours, no hands by yours, no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion must look out on the world.
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless us now.

Can these dry bones live?