Cost of Pentecost

Dear Sor Juana,

Pentecost is around the corner and no doubt this would have a special festival for your sisters in the convent. A promise fulfilled, infusing a community with courage, language and confidence to go from their comfort zone to foreign lands, arriving at the biblical seven weeks after Easter. For the Jewish community it is a the Feast of Weeks, Shavuot a harvest festival fifty days commemorating the gift of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Both religious observances reaping from what was sown in days of dark and despair.

We all have our own little Pentecosts where we have waited for the arrival, and therefore confirmation, of a promise made at a time where the chance of it being kept seemed, at best, remote.

The promises we make to one another, some taking the form of vows or pledges are laced with anticipation; a humble effort to take care ahead of time what is present in the moment. What we look forward to, may come with a wild wind, in words we can’t quite decipher immediately or perhaps in a form we don’t immediately recognise. Just as the Dark One may be camouflaged by the light, so might the light be so blinding we have to spend time allowing our eyes to adjust.

Each little Pentecost invites us to hear new words and ways with new ears and hearts. With the rattling of the windows and doors we are invited to stop shaking with fear, to say our yes to the invitation that is being extended as our part in enabling a promise to be fulfilled.   Pentecost happens in community; the ekklesia; the assembly – it is not an experience of an individual – something to remember when there appears to be so many soloists in their practice of being church these days! Being in a community of sojourners as you were in the convent Sor Juana would have brought its challenges, but I suspect it was also a place to find solace, and a spirit of belonging to something bigger than your own singular vessel.

The little pentecosts I experience in the community of family, friends, fellow pilgrims and work mates are a series of call and responses leading me on.  The cost: to be in community and not be seduced to being a soloist. Even when I might be the only person walking the path, none of us walk alone.



Unless the eye catch fire, 
The God will not be seen. 
Unless the ear catch fire 
The God will not be heard. 
Unless the tongue catch fire 
The God will not be named. 
Unless the heart catch fire, 
The God will not be loved. 
Unless the mind catch fire, 
The God will not be known.

William Blake

2 thoughts on “Cost of Pentecost

  1. Pauline Small

    Oh I was sitting her thinking about Pentecost and wondering what surprise it would bring. It always does. (Once I caught alight from the gas flame, and it singed my hair!) So here is your beautiful blog, and much to think about as I mull over the fading connection to the church. Thanks.



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