‘Life can be such a grind – don’t you find? Things can feel like such a battle – an uphill struggle. How I long for the burden to be lightened and lifted!’
Does that describe your experience? Is that how you have found church life to be at times – I know I have – it’s my ‘job’ after all! No one likes pushing water uphill but if we’re honest, we do more of it than we should. Why? Well, we know that the water is really important, and we want to take it places and share it.
And why is it that other things just seem to happen so naturally, so gracefully? The door seems to open before we’ve knocked – as if someone knew we were coming…
As we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit this Pentecost Sunday, we have an opportunity to reflect on how we can move from the cycle of grind to the cycle of grace.
In the cycle of grind we begin with the need to achieve, which gives us a (false) sense of significance, which then in turn, sustains us and finally, if we succeed through all your own efforts, we might have a chance to feel accepted or ‘good’.
However, in the cycle of grace we begin from a place of being loved and accepted. That love and acceptance sustains us and enables us and its out of this that we feel a true sense of our own worth and significance. With that affirmation we are then able to achieve very special things….
And all this, beloved in Christ, is the work of the Holy Spirit.
To begin with knowing we are loved by God in Christ – unconditionally, and that when we fall short or fail, God’s love never does, is true freedom. Moreover, we are set free to serve God without all the clutter and muddle of our mixed agendas, identity crises and a whole heap of other very unattractive baggage. Truly, ‘the Spirit lives to set us free….’
This Sunday, I want to reflect some more on the cycle of grace, and how in and through Holy Communion, we experience the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Yes, we share in the living presence of Christ but in Holy Communion we are also in communion with the Holy Spirit. Thomas Aquinas, the great 12th century Doctor of the Church, put it like this:
The Holy Communion (Eucharist) is the Sacrament of Love; It signifies Love, It produces love.
The Eucharist is the consummation of the whole spiritual life.
Veni, Sancte Spiritus