John 20:19-23, Pentecost
Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
Lord, send your Spirit now more than ever, during this time when the earth stands to be disfigured by our indifference, by our willful disregard for the ancient rhythms of replenishment and renewal of our land. Renew the earth that is being defaced by our abdication of responsibility to cultivate and protect what you have entrusted to us. Refresh our resolve to work together (despite this recent US decision to leave the Paris climate agreement,) despite those who would rather disengage to follow their narrow and short-term interests than pursue the common and global good.
Lord, send us your Spirit. Now more than ever, when we have become so intoxicated with power. When we have become so desperate as to cling to violence and brute force and military power to solve our problems that are rooted more in social exclusion than in our unruliness and disorder. Renew our faith in those who would lead without all the bluster, especially now that we are so enamored of populist and simplistic solutions to the complex social problems of our time. Restore our trust in ourselves during this time when we are tempted to believe we are so weak only the tough and the forceful can deliver us from our mired condition.
Lord, send out your Spirit. Now more than ever, when our homelessness and hunger continue to haunt our children at night. Spread out your Spirit, now more than ever, when wealth and power seem to cluster only upward instead of diffusing to the peripheries of our communities. Recreate our resolve to share from our abundance. Renew our desires and stretch our dreams so that we can dream not just for our own but for those as well who live by the wayside, whose children should be in school, whose parents have to live in exile to find jobs that can feed and give shelter.
Lord, send us your Spirit. Now more than ever, when our language is shot and we are in a Babel of confusion not because our tongues are many, but because our tongues are tied and our words fraught with abuse and fakery. Guide us to a holy silence so that we can learn again to listen to each other, and we can listen for that still, small voice that is your voice in our heart. Only then perhaps can we learn again to speak to one another, and thus understand each other, the way people wondrously deciphered your disciples on Pentecost day.
Pentecost is the day we celebrate the “descent” of your Spirit upon us. Help us to see this day as our moment of being created again to roam a different sort of Eden, which is our world today. In this descent, we are given your life again, given a share of your power to lead our own selves and others back to God again.
Spirit of God, pardon us if we do not appreciate this gift of shared power always, aching as we sometimes are for the days when God stood apart from us, a mighty wind that could part the waters, a pillar of fire at night to guide our way in the wilderness, a strongman to smite the enemy.
Lord, send us your Spirit today more than ever. This Pentecost, help us to realize your strength in our strength, your life in our life. Enable us to believe once more that we can be strong for each other and that we are to be strong for each other. Help us to know in fear and trembling the power you have given us to forgive or not to forgive one another.
Lord, give us new eyes to discern your Spirit in action in the world. To see your Spirit moving in the world is to see our own selves moving in concert with your holy prodding in the world. We need only turn inward, not even heavenward, to plumb your presence in our lives.
Open then our minds and hearts and hands to receive this power descended from you. By this power of breath and fire, the power of your love, inspire us to renew the face of our land. Move us to lead your people in sobriety and true humility. Stir us up to share from our abundance, and sanctify enough silence for us to understand each other.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And you shall renew the face of the earth.