“Spirit, lead me to a trust that has no borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior.”
(Lyric by Hillside United. See https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=CHAAFC6gjnw).
The mother of Jesus and his disciples, gathering in an upper room in Jerusalem to await a sign of forward momentum after the Lord’s return to the Father, might have prayed with similar fervor, not knowing where they were going or what might happen next but staying together in hope, waiting for a signal by fire.
Having “returned to the Father,” how would they continue experiencing the presence of the Lord abiding with them. Then, as promised by Jesus, the Paraclete performed the sanctifying deed. The Holy Spirit, “the Lord and Giver of Life, proceeding from the Father and the Son” was active in their hearts and enlightening their minds.
Today we sing Veni, Creator Spiritus, remembering Pentecost, but do we, too, hope our lot can be made new? Do we hope our closed windows are thrown open, or do we default to feeling merely safe together in a closed room?
The Holy Spirit is, we believe, a crosser of boundaries, a spiritual transgressor of human limits, not a dogmatic enforcer, but a mentor of creativity in Christ that God eventually will be all in all. No one except Jesus and the Father know for certain, but we guess by its nature that the Holy Spirit never instigates a retreat from change or different futures.
At his baptism by John in the Jordan River, Jesus felt the Spirit upon him to preach a new word, to make cripples walk, and to set the soul-imprisoned free. The Spirit initially led him into a desert solitude to sketch out for him His grand mission in the world to be marked by healing ministries, teaching, and being a meek and humble light of peace that conquers darkness. The Spirit led Jesus out from the safety of the synagogues to ply life’s rough waters among the unclean, to ride out storms with calm, and to keep creation churning relentlessly to the Father, whose Being Jesus knew as boundless.
As we sing Veni today, can we trust the Holy Spirit is transfiguring the tired realism of our daily hopelessness into optimistic visions and new dreams? Can we open the ears of our hearts to a new way of being community that is loving and loved as our fragile planet turns? Can we allow the Holy Spirit to translate our tired speech into a living language that unites us more deeply than the fragile ties of our separate tribes?
Jesus reveals the meaning of our lives in the Holy Spirit as a movement of expanding borders. The Holy Spirit opens the widest horizons of our lives’ meanings so as to gladden our hearts. The Lord is risen, and the Holy Spirit has been truly given. Alleluia.
Let us celebrate a “continuing Pentecost” (phrase of Canon Donald Allchin), let us lift up our hearts no matter our fears or quiet desperation: “Spirit, lead us where our trust is without borders, let us walk upon the waters, wherever You would call us. Take us deeper than our feet could ever wander, that our faith might be made stronger, in the presence of our Savior.”
By Jonathan Montaldo