Sunday, June 4, 2017

Upper Room Homily by Lynn Kinlan, ARCWP

Upper Room Book of the Gospels - Image used with permission of artist: Mary Southard, CSJ

Lynn Kinlan, ARCWP, will be ordained a deacon on July 8, 2017 in Albany, NY. Today she co-presided with Kim Panaro, ARCWP, in the Upper Room's Pentecost liturgy. Lynn's homily starter is below along with the antiphon used between the two readings: "Come Spirit, Wild One" by Joyce Rupp from her new book, Prayer Seeds.

Lynn's homily starter:

Thank you to all who have lit a candle and thereby declared, “I have a gift, a talent, a ministry, given by the Spirit to share with others. As the first reading suggests, she distributes gifts as she wills, not always as we expect.

Looking at today’s gospel, it seems that the men and women hiding in the Upper Room weren’t ready for the Wild One. They were grief stricken, trembling, hiding out; it was only earlier that morning that they learned from Mary of Magdala that Jesus is risen and they were scared and confused. This was not exactly a “Thy Will Be Done” kind of moment. Anyone of us who has ever lost someone special, felt shame; anyone who has ever felt tricked by life’s twists and turns can identify with the prickly, raw and wounded feeling in that Upper Room. And then, in the midst of sadness:

“Peace be with you.”  Jesus appears.
He doesn’t say, “where were you when I needed you?”
Or, “didn’t you learn anything while we traipsed all over the place these last several years?”
Not even, “I told you so.”

“Peace be with you.” and Jesus breathes the first breath of the Spirit to a post-crucifixion, Pentecostal people. And thousands will be baptized that day by the reinvigorated, Spirited apostles. The Spirit is definitely on a run. Unquenchable as ever, she remains on the run, having lit these candles before us today.

And then the Coming of the Spirit moves on into the lines about forgiving and retaining sin  which were likely added later by someone other than John. why? What’s the connection? Perhaps, these lines, speak to how the gathering was stuck at that moment --- it is tough for us humans to move as quickly as the Spirit from shame to welcome, from feeling abandoned by Jesus to feeling the peace of Christ. Maybe a part of them feels ashamed for not believing enough; maybe they feel  unworthy or scared of the Wild One Spirit.

So, Jesus, having exemplified forgiveness in his greeting also mentions how sin hangs around longer than we’d like. This is what happens when we can’t forgive ourselves for the past. But sometimes, there are two parties to trespass and forgiveness – the one seeking forgiveness and the aggrieved one who can choose to forgive or not. If forgiveness is withheld, both parties are knotted up, and wronged, left hurting. That leaves precious space for the Spirit to work. Jesus must have felt a tad impatient with these friends of many years – stop the regret, give up the shame. There is work to do, we have wild gifts to share!

Peace in our world as in the Upper Room that day, comes with acting as Jesus does, sharing the Wild One in all her candlelight glory in our times and in our place.

Antiphon: Pentecost Prayer by Joyce Rupp
Group 1:  Spirit, Wild One,
      Come whirling into my soul space,
      gather what remains in disarray,
      lift up what is neglected.

All:  Come Spirit, Wild One

Group 2:  Spirit, Wild One,
                  send forth what wants to hold back,
                  impassion what hesitates,
                  heal what remains wounded.

All: Come Spirit, Wild One

Group 1:  Spirit, Wild One,
       breathe large gusts in me,
   sweep through my being,
   drench me with hope.

All: Come Spirit, Wild One

Group 2:  Spirit, Wild One,
              soften my resistance,
 wrap your love around me,
 until I welcome you fully
All: Come Spirit, Wild One

These are the inspired words of Joyce Rupp, disciple of Jesus and we affirm them by saying:  Amen.

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