PENTECOST SUNDAY HOMILY - 2018
In the mystery of giving & forgiving, for it to happen there has to be two poles. There has to be a giver and a receiver or the gift is not given. God problem for all of history has been, How do you give away God? It seems although the gift is free and totally available, as a available as the breath in front of your mouth, as Jesus shows us in the scriptures today. God has had a hard time giving away God. Most of us are not interested, we’re interested in other things, money, power, success, good looks, and politics. We never get around to one thing we were created for, it seems. These theological concepts are boring and we don’t want to be bothered by them and most of us including myself will probably forget most of what I am trying to say, maybe before we even leave here. I don’t know but I want to give you something that will help you remember.
Sometimes graphics or images helps. Let me see if this helps. I don’t know if any of you have visited England? Anybody? If you ever have ridden on the subways of London or the big cities. Before the doors of the train open and you get out of the subway, they say, “Mind the Gap!” When the doors open it is written in big letters in front of every door, “Mind the Gap.” It means that there is 3 inches between the end of the subway train car and the sidewalk. They don’t want you to fall or your child to fall in the crack, that little hole. So they remind you that there is a space in between.
Now I could say that in teaching you about the Holy Spirit what I am telling you is to “Mind the Gap.” Because what the HS does is fill the gap of everything. Pause. Now, first you got to be aware that there is a gap, there is a space. We don’t recognize that God is available as the breath in front of our mouth. That God is as available as Fire descending from heaven, or wind blowing through the room & messing with your hair. We always allow God by our own silliness and stupidity to be distant. To be elsewhere. We always try to find a Gap between ourselves and our neighbor. Between ourselves and almost everything really. Therefore we feel quite lonely and isolated in this world. Without the HS frankly, you’re not connected. We are not connected to anything of anybody. We live an isolated life.
Yet, That desire in all of you that wants to keep connecting, connecting, relating, communing, That’s the Holy Spirit within You! Pause
I’m going to give you another image. The other metaphor that came to me is that Holy Spirit is like a sparkplug. This is the science of a sparkplug. There is two terminals and a gap between them. If there is enough voltage coming into the one terminal from the source. The source we will call your “Inner Source”, your inner sparkplug, The HS. You already got, the Holy Spirit is dwelling within every one of you in that is here now, equally, always and forever. That is really what we are celebrating today. Flames of fires as is sometimes called. But until you position the other terminal the spark does not happen. You have got to Say & Desire, “Come Holy Spirit, I need you, I want you! Fill the gap!” The gap is always there. Largely created by your mind, largely created by your cold heart, if your heart is cold, I hope it isn’t. Largely created by your anger and your fear. All your judgements and resentments, those just leave the gap real big.
But in the science of a sparkplug the source is connected, and the voltage wants somewhere to go. The Holy Spirit just wants somewhere to go. But you have to provide the other terminal. God cannot give unless there is a receiver, and that is you, us. We were created in this world together with the Holy Spirit to fill the gaps between everything. To mind the gap, to recognize first of all that it is there, and you were given the grace, the gift, the power, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to overcome the gap. We will always and usually experience this as a tiny spark. Not overwhelming, it doesn’t demand your attention. You wonder if even these tongues of fire that descended on the disciples at the first Pentecost, if they noticed it, I hope they did. I don’t think most of the time we notice the little spark. Saying, “You know you could mind the gap with this receptionist, in the checkout line at Walmart. You could mind the gap with the person who is walking down the street and doesn’t look very happy. Just why don’t I trust myself and just give them a little gratuitous and unnecessary smile. That doesn’t take much work. But all of those little actions are overcoming the gap that we allow to be there open day after day. Sisters and Brothers soon we will find ourselves at the end of our lives just surrounded by gaps. We haven’t connected with anybody or anything. We never loved a tree, a frog, a dog, a sunset, or sunrise, or the wind. And that would be the meaning of sin. To slowly cut yourself off for all connection from all relationship from all delight, from all wonder, from all awe. Let’s be honest, a lot of people do. A lot of faces look very unhappy, very disconnected,
Sisters and brothers, you are presumed to be the children of the Holy Spirit. You are presumed to be the people who have allowed the spark, and it is within you. It isn’t above you, it isn’t beyond you, and it is as available as the breath that is one inch in front of your lips. That is why God gives the Holy Spirit by breathing upon them, Saying, “Here it is, Here it is!” Can you breathe in what I breathed out? Suddenly as you grow on the journey of faith that you’ll see that breath is the very air, it is everywhere! All the time and you can’t live one minute without it. Isn’t it amazing that the thing that is most essential, the thing that is invisible to most people is the one thing that is everywhere, all the time, and free. The Holy Spirit has been given to you and me FREE. This day is called the birthday of the Church. The birthday in which we began to trust that we could live in communion, that we could overcome the gaps, between races, religions, genders and school violence. PAUSE, You listen to our politics and you say it is impossible because even the guys who call themselves the leaders don’t seem to overcome the gap. If they haven’t overcome the gap, how can they possibly lead anything or anybody anywhere? So we are going to have to take on the job ourselves. We are going to have the job of taking little opportunities, little days, little places with little smiles and acts of gratuitous love. To mend the gap.