I try to make it part of my Sabbath practice not to blog on Sundays. But before today’s feast is officially over, I wanted to sneak in and share a Pentecost podcast for your listening pleasure.
Thanks to the gracious invitation of my friend Mihee Kim-Kort (whose blog at First Day Walking is hosting a beautiful series on The Meaning of Children), I got to dip my toes into the world of podcasting.
And once I got over the deep-seated fear of listening to my own voice, it was actually fun. I got to ramble about finding God in chaos, making sense of conflict in churches, and trying not to lose my temper with the kids before dinner every night.
Here’s a snippet of my reflection on the holy fire of Pentecost at Mihee’s podcast, This Everyday Holy: Ordinary Living in the Lectionary.
I just finished reading Kaethe Schwehn’s memoir Tailings. The book weaves together a turning point in her own life as a young adult with the story of Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat center high in the Cascade Mountains in Washington State.
At one point Kaethe is describing the way the community at Holden deals with contentious issues – even seemingly small conflicts – through their process of consensus building. And she writes:
“One of the first directors of the village…declared that the gospel lives through controversy. I think what he meant by this is that the work of Jesus, the political work, rarely gets done from a place of complicity or active passivity. I think he meant that the gospel is mysterious and contentious and if we get to a place where we think we understand it, we are likely to be in trouble. I think he meant that sometimes truth is found in the space where two ideas create enough friction against each other to make a kind of fire.
The kind of fire that, as we understand it here in the wilderness, is necessary for new growth.”
I love her image of fire-from-friction. I keep coming back to it – as I think about Pentecost, as I try to listen to the horrible news of the world as of late.
Because this is still our hard and holy work today. Dealing with fire and friction and tension and truth.
Learning to speak new languages. Learning to speak each other’s languages. Learning to let the Spirit burst into the rooms where we hide ourselves and blow wild wind around all the plans we had so carefully made.
Because God keeps showing up. This is the whole point of the season of Easter, and the whole purpose of Pentecost – that God keeps showing up.
Despite our closed doors. Despite our fearful hearts. Despite this maddening and frustrating work of figuring out how to live together in the world – as church or as family, as spouses or parents, as friends or strangers or enemies.
The Spirit rushes in and roars through, fills our mouths and sets us on fire.
And we start speaking in strange ways we never imagined…
Click over to This Everyday Holy to listen to the whole podcast! And let me know: are you a regular podcast listener? What are your favorites?