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The Church of the Holy Trinity

From the Priest in Charge Perch

Alleluia!  Christ is risen!

As we enter the Easter Season, we find we have Fifty Days to prepare ourselves to celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  Gee, we only had Forty Days to prepare for Holy Week and Resurrection.  I wonder why we might need extra time to “get the Spirit?”

Perhaps the reason is that it takes us extra time to process the meaning of resurrection for our lives.  The women who found the empty tomb fled in fear and didn’t tell anyone, despite the orders of the mysterious man in the white robe who seemed to be delivering a message to them from Jesus.  I wonder how long it was before they DID tell the disciples and Peter and others, as well, that Jesus was going before them to Galilee?  What did it all mean?  Would things just go back to “normal?” 

Jesus’ crucifixion was thought to be the end of the matter, in the minds of the local power brokers who were now feeling much more secure in his absence.  How would they react to the good news?  And what would the disciples do?  What would be on the agenda of that meeting to come in Galilee?  There were a lot of unanswered questions:  a sure sign of the continuing presence of Jesus, who was always in the habit of stirring things up.

Or maybe the extra time was for them to fasten their seatbelts and find the grab-handles to brace themselves for the bumpy ride ahead when the Holy Spirit came on the scene.

You know, I always wondered why people would refer to the Spirit as “The Comforter.”  Seems bogus to me.  After all, the Spirit is like the wind which blows where it will and no one knows whence it comes or where it will go.  Doesn’t sound very comforting to me.

These Forty Days will be full of stories of what lay ahead of the disciples—and all of us—in the Post-resurrection world.  Far from a return to the status quo, things would never be quite the same again.  Jesus would appear on the road, to one person in a garden, to the disciples gathered, at the workplace, inside, outside; you never quite knew where to expect him next!

Almost every time he popped up, there was talk of this new wind blowing:  The Holy Spirit which was to come.

Forty Days after Easter, Jesus ascended to heaven.  And then when things once again looked bleak, the Holy Spirit descended with tongues of fire, confusing some and bringing crystal clarity to others.

I wonder which side of that coin will be ours.  Confusion or Clarity?  One thing is certain:  The Holy Spirit is working in and through us now.  It cannot be controlled, only co-missioned (as Bishop Douglas would say.)  It cannot be seen, only discerned.  It cannot be stopped, but it can be grieved.  Like Jesus, who went ahead of the first disciples, it will run out in front of us.

So perhaps we should spend the next Fifty Days on the treadmill, getting into condition for what lies before us.  Resurrected life has just begun to set in and already we are off to the races.

The Rev. Dana Campbell