The Wide Space of the Spirit

Pentecost is probably my favorite day of the year.  My Journey peeps joke that I say that when every single Christian holiday comes around, but seriously, Pentecost is my favorite.  I will not waste an hour of your time rambling as to why.  As it’s Monday, I thought I’d pass along a true Moltmannian metaphor that explains it well:  The Spirit of Life gives us ROOM.  Room to live, and to breathe, and to love, and to find meaning.  The Spirit is the very force of life that makes life worth living.

“When the heart expands, we can stretch our limbs and feel the new vitality everywhere, then life unfolds in us.  But it needs a living space in which it can develop.  Life in the Spirit is a life in the ‘broad place where there is no cramping’ (Job 36:16).  So in the new life we experience the Spirit as a ‘broad place’- as the free space for our freedom, as the living space for our lives, as the horizon inviting us to discover life.  ‘The broad place’ is the most hidden and most silent presence of God’s Spirit in us and round about us.  But how else could ‘life in the Spirit’ be understood, if the Spirit were not the space ‘in’ which this life can grow and unfurl?  We explore the depths of this space through the trust of the heart.  We search out the length of this space through extravagant hope.  We discover the breadth of this space through the torrents of love which we receive and give.  God’s Spirit encompasses us from all sides and wherever we are (Psalm 139).  Christ’s Spirit is our immanent power to live- God’s Spirit is our transcendent space for living.”  -The Spirit of Life, p.178-179

Too often we have wrongfully believed that spiritual things are “otherworldly,” that they take us away from our physical present lives and move us into some cloudy atmosphere of abstraction.  The Spirit of God is not an abstraction.  She is not some force that distracts us from our “real lives” by transporting us into another more “spiritual” one.  The Spirit of God given to us at Pentecost is the force for life which makes us recognize where our feet are standing, and pay attention to what our eyes are seeing, and awaken to what our hearts are feeling.  And this feeling of being fully awakened to our present and rich reality very truly transforms us, because it gives us space to breathe so deeply that everything becomes possible.  Love becomes possible, and justice, and peace, and forgiveness.  We don’t feel cramped for space and choked for air, because we are surrounded by the Spirit of God that breathes upon us the very force of life.  When transformation happens in any and every way for us, it is because somewhere deep within us we have, even if only for a moment, believed this to be true, and felt it to be true, and acted knowing it is true.  And when we act from that place, the whole world can change.  When we act from that place, we claim that the whole world IS changing, even now, and we are called to be part of it.

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