Holy Spirit! Good words for everyday, and
particularly for church good words for every time we gather.
Holy Spirit! Think what that might mean in your terms, however you
understand things spiritual.
puts “wind beneath your wings”? These may be words of a secular
song, but they're Bible words too: wind is a primary way of imagining
Spirit. Wind and fire. Powerful things: can be destructive,
definitely disturbing, also essential for life.
we put “Holy Spirit” in our own terms, in relation to our own
experience, we probably think support. Support in the sense of
advocacy, solidarity from others. We think encouragement – giving
courage. Energy. Inspiration. Also we think peace. Spirit of
peace, and the peace of understanding. Being at peace.
Holy Spirit, we need you right now. For Holy Spirit also connects
with things like wisdom and insight, everything we need to make good
decisions. Trusting the Holy Spirit means trusting these qualities.
That's what we've been doing over the years, from the very beginning
of this parish, indeed of the two parishes that formed it –
Whangaroa Methodist Circuit and Kerikeri Presbyterian Parish.
Stories could be told about moments of decision: the first mission;
the first church in Kaeo, the second and the third, different
locations and finally Memorial building. The Little and Jolly Church
in 1940 and in the early 50's buying the land on the corner of
Kerikeri Road and Butler Road. I remember Robin McDiarmid saying to
me when I visited to talk about the proposed sale of the property,
what a good thing the choice was made to buy there and not on Cannon
Drive. Rezoned commercial 50 years later and therefore very
of decision over the years have involved making steps in faith.
Which, to me, means investigating, listening, considering options,
working it through together, praying (putting it all into the bigger
picture), and, most of all, holding on to the vision of the whole
point of being church. To work with Christ to grow
kingdom-ways here on earth.
the Holy Spirit that prods us to look to the future, work with a
vision, and not just lean on the certainties of the past. And it's
the Holy Spirit that makes us “we”, not just “I” as in I
think or I know. The two crucial bits to being church.
the reading we heard Peter quote from the book of the prophet Joel.
Powerful stuff. Ancient as can be (around 2,500 years ago), and
totally relevant to now. The real hope lies in being community.
Community in which all facets contribute. Not top down rule by
those with the power and influence, or the money, or those with the
assumed best age or colour or gender. But something contributed to
the future by everyone. God is aiming for Spirit as part of
everyone and recognised as such.
about the different groupings that are mentioned in the reading:
and daughters, that is, each generation following on. They are to
get on and take responsibility, and be allowed responsibility, to
plan for the future.
people, in all their precociousness and impulsiveness, seeing what
the future might be. And the rest of us taking them seriously.
people dreaming dreams, and the rest of us taking time to listen to
them. For dreams carry much from past experience, including
treasures not to be lost.
there's no social or economic division here – the working poor
have Spirit as well, those on the social underside, struggling.
Listen to what the Spirit says as it comes through them.
more thing. I said that it's spirit that changes us from a
collection of “I”s – individuals as if in separate boxes –
into “we”, as in community. Community is individuals in
relationship with one another. In fact my favourite substitute word
for spiritual is “relational”. The building of relationships.
In a word, unifying. Not
unity as something fixed and static, which can only happen by being
forced on us, as in uniformity. But ongoing unifying, which
happens by working
together, and working to
relate well to one another: our
work as church community, which needs also to be the work of the
wider community, if it is to be healthy and well in its spirit.
we have been saying in
recent weeks, this
is core mission for our new building – a place for the spirit to
move, for God's Spirit to
speak to people's spirits just as they are. A place to
unify the diverse peoples of Kerikeri.