Tag Archives: Pentecost

Promises to tomorrow #22 Darkness & Light

A crevice can be an echo chamber; a crack, a place where light gets in; a hole, a container full and empty simultaneously; a sink, expectant, flirtatious. In the dark underground a seed makes its way to the surface to finally reveal all the effort and cell dividing and multiplying activity that has taken place away from the human eye. Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean nothing is happening.

There is panic on the planet, a madman on Pennsylvania Avenue, a bomber with a jacket of explosives, children toting guns in the tropics. There is abundant love and endless random, and strategic acts, of kindness bursting up through concrete and clay. There are lamps being trimmed and hopes coming to life, impactful conversations matched with impactful actions doing good. The scales are tipping, as the vessels for change take on their new forms, mediated by technology and human touch in equal measure. Nothing will replace the kind word or the hug. And just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean nothing is happening behind closed doors, new love is growing and blessed unrest is flexing, Aslan is on the move.

This day, of all days in the Christian calendar, the feast of Pentecost, where all the languages can be heard and understood, where the feminine spirit rises and descends into hearts and minds. While they gathered as Jews in the upper room to celebrate Shavuot – a harvest of all the fruits of all the labour, bringing home divine knowledge – new wisdom. The wisdom of nature to remind us in the dark and with anxiety harvest is possible once out of that dark and anxiety light and energy is transformational. Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean nothing is happening the flickering spark grows and a gentle glowing flame comes to rest inside each of us, fuelling us up for the transformational work ahead. Into our being this energy takes hold – explained as the inner flame of the Sufi – this is the light of all light inside of us, visible to a higher power and our guide to decision making – what will bring more light, more love, more goodness. It is all the same light regardless of tradition or even if you are bereft of tradition we all know the look and feel of goodness, wisdom and light. We have collective genius. We are unstoppable. We have been feeling our way in the dark.

My promise to the future is to seek to trust the dark and underground spaces to do their work, to come into the light and feel with warmth and wisdom and remember sometimes it takes fifty days before there is visibility.


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