What do all of those things have in common? Ah, my Sunday night. Kyle and I went to this church my friend Mary had told me about called Augustana Lutheran. Sunday nights they have their Jazz/Gospel Service. It was Pentecost Sunday and sitting in this hot church, listening to jazz & gospel (some much more jazz than gospel) and hearing about the surprise of Pentecost was interesting, refreshing.
The Reverend spoke of how every year the men who came to the Pentecost festival knew what to expect and then this one year it was different. It was surprising. Some blamed in one the wine - but it was only 9am and Peter responded that 9am was too early for drinking to be involved (note he did not say it was impossible or even unlikely, just too early, what kind of parties did they have in biblical times?). Anyway in the sermon this moved to discussion on the uncertainty of life and expectations, to God's surprises. And how the holy spirit came and the young men then had visions and the older men dreams and that it did not matter if they would see the dreams completed in their life times, but that there were these dreams. The one spirit brought the one message and through the use of language was able to communicate to everyone at once, inclusively. The spirit communicated the power of God to change lives and so to change the earth.
Something I found interesting was the big picture perspective that was shared. Rev. Bill talked about how the pouring out of the spirit was essentially the return of Jesus in a different form which enabled us to embrace more of life and creation. He said that we get to see, with new technologies for example, more of the cosmos, we get to embrace something so much larger that God too embraces. A God who loves the world, the cosmos and all that are in them.
So after church we went to this place called the Blue Monk for dinner where I had this absolutely amazing Black bean soup with creme fraiche and cilantro. As I am eating my really good soup this man comes and sits at the table outside the window. He starts taking all the cigarette butts out of the ash tray and smoking their remnants - of which there is little. And he gets increasingly amped up - starts talking to himself, louder and more quickly and starts rocking and shifting, fidgeting. And I started thinking of mental illness. The pain of untreated mental illness. And how many people probably don't even know that they are "mentally ill" by which I mean that by living without many resources they do not get to know there is a different life out there - or were resources available there could be.
And then I thought of how God so loves the cosmos and all within them and yet here I am, surely blessed and struggling with my own very deep sadness and I scared of others who suffer with mental illnesses. Scared and not helping. Retreating to a shell.
On the day of Pentecost the holy spirit, the one spirit, came and brought the one message and it was inclusive. It was not exclusive to any. Why am I?
10 months ago