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She Flies On

Sister Doreen’s Reflections

Jesus said;: “And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses … to the ends of the world.” (Acts 1:8) … and Peter quotes from Joel … “and I will pour out my spirit on all flesh …”

Pentecost – The name comes from the Greek word pentekoste which means fiftieth, the fiftieth  day.

Celebrating Pentecost is, in a very real way, recommitting ourselves to our mission in the world. I found myself spending time reflecting on what that means in our world today. It’s a world that seems to be so confused, so angry, so isolated and individualistic, so unsure of itself. At the same time, it is a world that is so beautiful, so vibrant, and so aware of our needs and connections with each other.

One of Diana Butler Bass’ favourite quotes is “All People are God’s People”, and for me this is the clear message of Pentecost. She goes on to say about Pentecost that “ it is the message that now there is the birth of a new humanity, a new creation, where God will pour out God’s spirit upon all people – the whole of human nature. It is the world’s baptism in holy fire … across the world and through the cosmos, remaking the universe and restoring the oneness of all creation.”

Effortlessly, Love flows from God into humanity, like a bird who rivers the air without moving her wings. Thus we move into God’s world, one in body and soul, though outwardly separate in form. As the Source strikes the note, humanity sings – the Holy Spirit is our harpist. And all strings which are touched by Love must sound. (St. Mechtild of Magdeburg 1207 – 1287)

The divisions, the bigotry, the selfishness, the injustice, the ingratitude, the hatred, the wars, and we could add so much more to this growing sense of need, all of this and so much more seems to be taken up at Pentecost and created into a new creation where all people are the children of God. We are called to become God’s eyes, and hands, and hearts, and wisdom, and justice on earth. We are called to see God in everyone, every beggar, every saint, every sinner, every prisoner, every refugee, every homeless, and yes, in you and in me!

Pentecost is the great commission and it is also a great celebration of our unity in diversity! We are all a collection of unique and varied individuals, all of us moving in different directions, and all of us looking after out own individual needs and desires. We all come from diverse backgrounds, have different talents and perspectives, and each  of us contribute something special to this world. Together we are like a great and marvelous jigsaw puzzle – each one of us an essential piece to the puzzle. That is the beauty of our differences – our unity in diversity.

To celebrate this at Pentecost – our call to that great commission and our unity in diversity results in something far greater than the sum of its parts. There is a tremendous strength, a tremendous completeness when we all come together – our wisdom, our compassion, our resilience: this is crucial to the common good.

Pentecost above all is a call to the Spirit of unity and understanding. It is a call to work for systemic change, a challenge that can leave us feeling overwhelmed. Pentecost is the gift of new fire to instead use our energies to identify what needs to change in our lives, in our communities, in our world. Pentecost is the challenge to remain connected and to see the struggles of others and this can be the spark, the fire, that brings about the energy needed for change. It is the fire that comes from God, that hope as a transforming force that we do not control.

Lord, you give the great commission: “Heal the sick and preach the word.” Lest the church neglect its mission and the gospel go unheard, help us witness to your purpose with renewed integrity: With the Spirit’s gifts empower us for the work of ministry. ( see hymn # 433 in Common Praise).

I share a beautiful hymn to the Holy Spirit – #656 in Common Praise written by Bishop Gordon Light as a prayer to end this reflection:


She comes sailing on the wind, her wings flashing in the sun, on a journey just begun, she flies on.
And in the passage of her flight, her song rings out through the night, full of laughter, full of light, she flies on.

Silent waters rocking on the morning of our birth, Like an empty cradle waiting to be filled,
And from the heart of God the Spirit moved upon the earth, like a mother breathing life into her child.

Many were the dreamers whose eyes were given sight when the Spirit filled their dreams with life and form. Deserts turned to gardens, broken hearts found new delight,  and then down the ages still she flew on.

To a gentle girl in Galilee a gentle breeze she came, a whisper softly calling in the dark
The promise of a child of peace whose reign would never end, Mary sang the Spirit song within her heart.

Flying to the river, she waited circling high, as he rose up from the water, she swept down from the sky,
and she carried him away in her embrace.

Long after the deep darkness that fell upon the world,
after dawn returned in flame of rising sun, The Spirit touched the earth again, again her wings unfurled,
bringing life in wind and fire as she flew on.

She comes sailing on the wind, her wings flashing in the sun, on a journey just begun, she flies on.
And in the passage of her flight, her song rings out through the night, full of laughter, full of light, she flies on.