Pentecost Insights on Laundry Day
We celebrated the feast of Pentecost this past Sunday. It’s the Birthday of the Church and one of my favorite celebrations. Without the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, we would most likely never have heard the Good News of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. His followers were just plain too scared to tell what they had witnessed.
At Pentecost, the Lord’s promise that He would ask the Father to send an Advocate to us, one who would continue to teach us what we need to know, was fulfilled. We entered the age of the Holy Spirit, an age that continues to our day.
I was musing on the wonders of the coming of the Spirit and the importance of the event yesterday while doing laundry and caring for my 14 month old grandson. (Yes, he’s a beautiful child and a rare delight!) I’d had a conversation on Sunday with a non-Catholic friend who had really never heard of Pentecost in her religious experience. We had talked about the coming of the Holy Spirit, the timing of the feast in relation to Easter and the effect of the Spirit’s coming on the early Christian community. I’m always surprised to find again that people are not aware of the story of the Church and the many twists and turns of its history. There is so often a sense that all was clear and settled from the start. The Acts of the Apostles makes it clear that the first followers of The Way were feeling their way and responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit just as we must today.
My grandson loves to fold clothes. Up until a week ago, he simply stood by the davenport (sofa, couch) and pulled the clothes off as fast as he could. Once they were all on the floor, he’d hand them to me as fast as he could. Then I’d pick all of them up and we’d repeat the process, with a few more actually getting folded at each repetition! Last week he discovered that he no longer needs to hold a big person’s hand to walk or even run. So now he grabs an article of clothing from the stack and takes off racing across the room with it, dropping it at some point along his way.
He was laughing happily and carrying a handkerchief when suddenly he stopped. Several of us, including the child, have had colds, including runny noses. He’s been fascinated by the blowing of noses that has been occurring around the household. He put the handkerchief to his nose and made a loud blowing sound through his lips. He was so proud of himself. He was certain he’d figured out how to make that amazing noise that all of us had been making. In fact, he was so delighted, that he raced back to the davenport, grabbed a shirt and repeated the feat. Then a sock… Then a pair of pants… Each time he simply beamed with delight and laughed uproariously.
It struck me, as I watched and laughed with him, that we are blessed that the gifts of the Holy Spirit continue to be poured out among us, with the Spirit continuing to teach us in our day too. As we learn so much more in the worlds of science, math, psychology, anthropology and all the other realms of human knowledge, it is truly a blessing that the Holy Spirit is with us, enlightening our hearts so we can see the Lord’s hand in all of creation in ever more wondrous ways. Imagine how sad it would be if we were forever condemned to the level of understanding of a small child who believes that blowing his nose requires use of his mouth! It’s a fine step on the way to understanding of the real way to perform the task, but only a step. With the grace of the Holy Spirit, we too move forward in our journey, growing up a little more each day and each generation, to see the wonders the Lord has wrought for us.
Happy Birthday, Church.