Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Trinity is Not a Straight Line Rev. Dr. Barbara Billey, Priest ARCWP Heart of Compassion Faith Community, Windsor, Ontario, Canada (06 June 20)


A bat infects a rat with Covid-19, a virus more powerful than any oppressive political leader, grips us in exile from one another through self or imposed isolation. We are unable to touch people whom we love. We are taken from jobs that provide financial security. We are unable to pray and socialize in ways that nourish us. The simple and meaningful gesture of a handshake, a hug or kiss put our lives in peril.
During our Covid-19 pandemic, I appreciate more fully the plight of the Israelites of Hebrew Scripture. As they leave Egypt and cross the barren desert for forty years, they are led by Shekhinah, the Divine Feminine Presence of God. Shekhinah, the Hebrew Word for dwelling or settling, denotes the Divine Feminine in our midst. She first appears in the Book of Genesis, especially present at certain times and in certain situations of dire hardship and exile. Shekhinah is associated with the wind and the Spirit of Wisdom Sophia, the equivalent of the Holy Spirit in our Christian tradition. Might they have sung as we have today, "(Sing) Wandering and lost in this desert, we behold Your mystery and might, Holy Presence that forms clouds of glory by day and a pillar of fire by night" (Exodus 13:21)?
The Israelites carry Shekhinah in their hearts and within the Ark of the Covenant. She is present during their worship, prayer and study of Hebrew scripture. When the Israelites finally arrive in the promised land, Shekhinah is there, too, including in their synagogues. She is woven into every aspect of their spiritual and religious lives.
"All natures, all forms, all creatures exist in and with one another," says the Savoir, one of his last teachings according to the Gospel of Mary (2:2). In the Gospel of John, Jesus assures his companions that after he leaves God will gift them with the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete - Advocate and Spirit of Truth. How?
"You'll know that I am in God, and you are in me and I am in you (John: 14: 20). Is this new language for the Holy Trinity? The Trinity in Jesus' knowing is not a straight line: Father, Son and Holy Spirit - two men and a dove.
For me, Jesus evokes the image that we are intimately interwoven; perhaps, three, Divine, dancing energies and three voices, as in a helix of DNA or a spiral (show Trinity Spiral and Trinity gesture). Thus, we have many ways to be in relationship with the Divine ... and we are part of this Trinity!
Again in the Gospel of Mary, Jesus teaches, "... and they will resolve again into their own roots (2:3)," In this Gospel, "roots" relates to "the good" or our own Divine nature. We see examples of this around the world with the current movement "Black Lives Matter". From an outrageous atrocity - the murder of a black man, George Floyd by a white police officer, we witness all races rising up in solidarity for "the good" on behalf of the unheard and the injustice of racism.
In these times of our exile by Covid-19, when Black Lives Matter and when all our lives matter, nothing seems like it once was and will likely never again be. We can rely on Shekhinah, knit within the configuration of the Trinity, as a stable force who sustains and connects, who gives clarity to be in right relationship, and who helps advocate for justice, even if this has to be at a safe distance from one another. She will dwell within each of us and together on our journey out of exile!
(Sing) Shekhinah, Shekhinah. Your power enfolds us, surrounds and upholds us. Shekhinah, Shekhinah.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFPCzeMo6o8



Thursday, June 4, 2020

Music for Trinity Sunday- MMOJ- Musician- Linda Lee Miller

Theme: “Trinity: Image of the Community that is God”  by Desmond Tutu

Opening Song:   
“Gather Us In” Breaking Bread #303
Linda Lee-Miller YouTube

Gather Us In:  
Here in this place new light is streaming,
now is the darkness vanished away.
See in this space our fears and our dreaming,
brought here to you in the light of this day. 

Gather us in the lost and forsaken,
gather us in the blind and the lame;
Call to us now, and we shall awaken,
we shall arise at the sound of our name.

Not in the dark of buildings confining,
not in some heaven, light years away,
but here in this place the new light is shining,
now is the Kindom, now is the day.

Gather us in and hold us forever,
gather us in and make us your own;
Gather us in all peoples together,
fire of love in our flesh and our bone.

ALL:   Alleluia Jan Phillips




OFFERTORY

Song: Breath of the One Life
By Jan Novotka


Refrain:
Breath of the One Life,
blow through me,
flow though me,
Breath of Life.
Great Source of All That Is,
hidden within,
renews the face of the Earth.

Breath of the One Life,
blow through me,
flow though me,
Breath of Life.
Conscious awareness
stillness within,
renews the face of the Earth.

Breath of the One Life,
blow through me,
flow though me,
Breath of Life.
Love and compassion,
life deep within,



“We are Holy, Holy, Holy”

We are Holy, holy, holy.
We are holy, holy, holy.
We are holy, holy, holy.
We are whole.
 (Repeat refrain with You are holy, I am holy,…)



Communion  Hymn


God, beyond our dreams, you have stirred in us a memory,
You have placed your powerful spirit in the hearts of humankind.

Refrain: All around us, we have known you;
All creation lives to hold you,
In our living and our dying
We are bringing you to birth.

God, beyond all names, you have made us in your image,
We are like you, we reflect you, we are woman, we are man.

Refrain

God, beyond all words, all creation tells your story,
You have shaken with our laughter, you have trembled with our tears.

Refrain

God, beyond all time, you are laboring within us;
We are moving, we are changing, in your spirit ever new.
Refrain

God of tender care, you have cradled us in goodness,
You have mothered us in wholeness, you have loved us into birth.

Refrain 


Closing Song: “Spirit Is a Moving” by Carey Landry #447
Linda Lee-Miller on piano YouTube.

“The Spirit Is A-Moving”
 
The Spirit is a movin’ all over, all over this land
The Spirit is a movin’ all over, all over this land!

People are gathering, the church is born; 
the Spirit is a blowing on a world reborn.

The Spirit is a movin’ all over, all over this land
The Spirit is a movin’ all over, all over this land!                             

Filled with the Spirit, we are sent to serve,
We are called out together, we are called to work.

The Spirit is a movin’ all over, all over this land
The Spirit is a movin’ all over, all over this land!                             

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy, Trinity Sunday, June 6, 2020, Presiders: Dotty Shugrue ARCWP and Joan Pesce, Music Minister Linda Lee Miller


Theme: “Trinity: Image of the Community that is God”  by Desmond Tutu

Welcome and Gathering

Presider 1:  Welcome to our Zoom liturgy at Mary Mother of Jesus, an inclusive Catholic Community, where all are welcome.  At these difficult times, it is now more important than ever to gather together to support one another as “companions on this journey”, a journey of the unknown.  For “wherever two or more of you are gathered in my Name, there is love.”

Presider 2: We invite you to pray the liturgy and respond where it says, All.  All participants will be muted during the liturgy except for the presiders and readers. During the shared homily we ask you to raise your hand if you would like to contribute and unmute yourself. Please have bread and wine/juice in front of you as we pray our Eucharistic prayer.

Let us begin now with our gathering song:

Opening Song:   
“Gather Us In” Breaking Bread #303
Linda Lee-MisKa YouTube


Here in this place new light is streaming,
now is the darkness vanished away.
See in this space our fears and our dreaming,
brought here to you in the light of this day. 

Gather us in the lost and forsaken,
gather us in the blind and the lame;
Call to us now, and we shall awaken,
we shall arise at the sound of our name.

Not in the dark of buildings confining,
not in some heaven, light years away,
but here in this place the new light is shining,
now is the Kindom, now is the day.

Gather us in and hold us forever,
gather us in and make us your own;
Gather us in all peoples together,
fire of love in our flesh and our bone.





Opening Prayer

We gather today as Christian Community to celebrate the mystery of Eucharist, we gather with heavy hearts.  Our country is in turmoil.  The Covid virus is still resulting in deaths.  Our brothers and sisters are living in fear as they struggle to keep safe.

We are witnessing Americans who are driven to the streets in massive demonstration.  We recognize that the environment of hate being born today is deeply rooted in the very fabric of our society. We look for leadership. We need leadership to come together with a unified response to heal the deep wounds of our country.

As people of faith we believe in our collective power, to send Spirit Divine to heal our broken country, our broken world.   And together we say

ALL:  So be it!

Transformation Prayer

The suffering being experienced by the people of the world is greater than ever before in our lifetimes. We commit ourselves to do whatever we can to contribute to the slowing down of the spread of the virus.  We commit ourselves to do whatever we can, in any way we can, to comfort the sick and their families.

ALL:  Transform us O Holy One

Gloria

Presider:  Glory to the Spirit of Life, to the Holy One who surrounds us, who lives within us, whose Sacred Word is shared by us in our world.

ALL:  Glory to the Spirit of Life, who offers us peace; peace in our hearts, peace in our thoughts, peace with one another as we reach out to one another and ask for blessing. 

Presider:  Glory to the Spirit of Life, who cares for the health workers, postal workers, store clerks, garbage collectors and all who serve our special needs in numerous ways.

ALL:  Glory to the Spirit of Life, who sent Jesus who teaches us how to live the Gospels, who brings hope and healing to all those in need. 

Presider:  O Holy One, you are one with us.  We are strong in our faith and will live life in hope and faithfulness to you, to be Church committed to the message of the Gospels.
We depend upon the ever-present Spirit to walk with us as we journey in the present and rejoice in the life before us.  

ALL:  Glory to the Spirit of Life, Amen

LITURGY OF THE WORD

First Reading: Exodus 34:2-6, 8-9 (the Inclusive Bible)

Reader:  Mary Al Gagnon

Yahweh said to Moses: “Come up onto Mount Sinai at dawn, and wait for me there on top of the mountain.  Bring no one with you.  No one is to be anywhere on the mountain, and not even the flocks or herds are to graze near the mountain.”
So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets similar to the first two that Moses had smashed out of anger at the Israelites, and early in the morning, he climbed Mount Sinai carrying the two new stone tablets as Yahweh had commanded.  Then Yahweh came down in a cloud. And stood before Moses to proclaim the divine Name, I AM. And YHWH passed before Moses proclaiming, “I Am!  I am God, YHWH, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abundant in kindness and faithfulness…Immediately Moses fell to the ground in worship. 

These are the inspired writings from the Israelites as written in the second book of the Torah.  And the people say:

ALL:  SO BE IT!

Psalm:  33

 Response: They are happy whose God is the Creator, the people God has
                   Chosen

For the word of the Creator is faithful, and all God’s works are to be trusted. 
The Creator loves justice and right and fills the earth with love. 
By the Creator’s word the heavens were made, by the breath of God’s mouth all the stars. 
The Creator spoke and it came to be commanded, it sprang into existence.

Response:  They are happy whose God is the Creator, the people God has
                   Chosen


The Creator looks on those who stand in reverence,
On those who hope in God’s love,
To rescue their souls from death,
To keep them alive in famine. 
Our soul is waiting for god, our help and our shield. 
May your faithful love be upon us, O God, as we place our hope in you.

Response:  They are happy whose God is the Creator, the people God has
                   Chosen

Second Reading:  Adapted from Mathew Fox on Julian of Norwich:
the Motherhood of God

Reader:  Joan Pesce

A time of pandemic is a time for bringing back feminine energies. No theologian in the West has more thoroughly developed the rich theme of the motherhood of ‘God than has Julian of Norwich. “Just as God is truly Father,” she writes, “so also God is truly our Mother.” For her, the recovery of God as mother is also the recovery of divine wisdom---the theme we saw earlier when treating of cosmic consciousness: The deep Wisdom of the Trinity is our Mother. In her we are all enclosed.  She connects divine motherhood with panentheism in an explicit way once again when she says that God is “our true Mother in whom we are endlessly carried and out of whom we will never come.”  Here we have an image of the cosmos as God’s womb. Being enclosed is as we have seen, an essential image of the maternal side of God.  Julian says: “As the body is clothed in cloth and the muscles and the heart in the chest, so are we enclosed in the Goodness of God.” She relates the motherhood of God to a deepening awareness of God as Creator and lover of all nature: “

God is the true Father and Mother of Nature, and all natures that are made to flow out of God to work the divine will/shall be restored and brought again into God. The motherhood of God is a welcome thing on God’s part. Julian assures us. Divinity does not consider motherhood a burden to bear for “God feels great delight to be our Mother.” To recover the motherhood of God is to recover compassion: Compassion is a kind and gentle property that belongs to a Motherhood in tender love. Compassion protects, increases our sensitivity, gives life, and heals.

A motherhood-of-God theology is not mere trifling kudo handed out to keep feminists’ content. It confronts the basic issue of letting go of the one-sided God of patriarchy and learning more about the God whose image we are.

Julian tells us what constitutes the work of motherhood when she says:
A mother’s service is nearest, readiest and surest.” And she attributes motherhood ultimately to Divinity when she adds: This office no one person has the ability or knows how to or will ever do fully but God alone. Divinity alone knows the work of motherhood. Notice that her understanding of motherhood centers not on an “exalted” position but on work and service---this signifies a decisively non-sentimental understanding of motherhood.

ALL:   Alleluia Jan Phillips

The Gospel: 

Reader:  Elena Garcia

Introduction:  In the past hundred years a number of new works from the first century have been discovered in the desert sands of Egypt, the markets of Cairo, and the libraries of ancient monasteries.  The Thunder: Perfect Mind Testament is one of these books.  There is a familiar yet different “feel” of this reading.  On this Trinity Sunday it provides us with a perspective on the complexities on the One we call God.

A reading from A New, New Testament: The Thunder:  Perfect Mind Testament vs. 10 – 12, 20 – 26, 30 - 33

I am the mind and the rest, I am the learning from my search and the discovery of those seeking me and the command of those who ask about me and the power of powers and in my understanding of the angels who were sent on my word
And the Gods in God, according to my design and spirits of men who exist with me and the women who live in me

I am the coming together and the falling apart and I am the enduring and the disintegration
I am down in the dirt and they come up to me
I am judgement and acquittal and I myself am without sin, and the root of sin is from within me

I appear to be lust but inside is self-control
I am what anyone can hear but no one can say and I am a mute that does not speak and my words are endless

Hear me in tenderness, learn from me in roughness
I am she who shouts out and I am thrown down on the ground
I am the one who prepares the bread and my mind within 
I am the knowledge of my name. I am she who shouts out and I am she who listened

Since what is your inside is your outside and the one who shapes your outside is the one who shapes your inside
And what you see on the outside, you see revealed on the inside
It is your clothing

Hear me, audience, and learn from my words, you who know me.
I am what everyone can hear and no one can say
I am the name of the sound and the sound of the name
I am the sign of writing and disclosure of difference

These are inspired words.  And the people say:

All:  SO BE IT!


HOMILY STARTER: Dotty Shugrue ARCWP

And how do you experience the “Triune God”.   

Profession of Faith

We believe in our Creator who has not forgotten us, and is ever and always present with us.

We believe in Jesus, the Word incarnate, who journeyed on the earth, blessing the sick, making whole the broken, healing many, instilling faith in his followers so that they insure his legacy till the end of time.

We believe in Christ, the everlasting Presence in our world in our universe.

We believe in the Spirit of Life, the breath of wisdom Sophia, who stays present and real to us during this great human struggle we face today.

We believe in the communion of saints, our heavenly friends who walk with us in love as we continue our life journey.

We believe in the partnership and equality of women and men in our Church and our world.  Here we live our prophetic call of Gospel equality.

General Intercessions

Presider:  We pray that the Holy One renew in our hearts our commitment to journey always in faith and hope as we reach out and support, comfort and love those closest to us, and all the needs of the citizens of the earth.

We pray for those persons who are protesting the injustices levied on our African-American brothers and sister, we pray that their pain and suffering will finally be heard.

We pray for the families who have lost loved ones because of Covid 19

We pray for all those “first line” Americans who directly care for the sick and dying and those who provide needed service to all of us during this time of distress.

We pray today with heavy hearts, we pray with deep sadness, we pray as we try so desperately to calm our fears and to find ways to support those in such horrific pain.

We pray for those individuals who intentionally disrupt peaceful protest to create chaos, for those who foster fear in a time where many are desperate for leadership and for healing.

Presider:  And together we say:  

ALL:  SO BE IT!

OFFERTORY

Song: Breath of the One Life
By Jan Novotka


Refrain:
Breath of the One Life,
blow through me,
flow though me,
Breath of Life.
Great Source of All That Is,
hidden within,
renews the face of the Earth.

Breath of the One Life,
blow through me,
flow though me,
Breath of Life.
Conscious awareness
stillness within,
renews the face of the Earth.

Breath of the One Life,
blow through me,
flow though me,
Breath of Life.
Love and compassion,
life deep within,


Invite Community to place their bread and cup of wine before them

Presiders: (raise the bread and the wine):  
Ever present Sacred Spirit, you who hold us in your loving hands, we offer these gifts of bread 
and wine as we celebrate your life with us. These gifts are made sacred through our faith.
We ask this in the name of Jesus our brother.  Amen

EUCHARISTIC PRAYER

*(The Eucharist Prayer is adapted from “The Prayer of Thanksgiving” which originates from the 1945 discovery of 52 documents, nearly all of them Christian, in Nag Hammadi, Egypt.  It can be found in A New NEW Testament edited by Hal Taussig)

Presider:  The Holy One is with you.
All:   Let us give thanks.  

Presider: We give thanks to you.  Every life and heart stretches toward you, O name untroubled, honoring the name of God, praised with the name Creator.  To everyone and everything comes the kindness of the Holy One and love and desire.

Presider:  And if there is sweet and simple teaching, it gifts us mind, word and knowledge; mind, that we may understand you; word, that we may interpret you; knowledge: that we may know you.  We rejoice and are enlightened by your knowledge; we rejoice that you have taught us about yourself.  We rejoice that in the body you have made us divine through your knowledge.

“We are Holy, Holy, Holy”

We are Holy, holy, holy.
We are holy, holy, holy.
We are holy, holy, holy.
We are whole.
 (Repeat refrain with You are holy, I am holy,…)

Presider: The thanksgiving of the human who reaches you is this alone; that we know you.  We have known you, O light of mind.  O light of life we have known you.  O womb of all that grows, we have known you.  O womb pregnant with the nature of Creator God, we have known you. O never-ending endurance of the Spirit of Life who gives birth, so we worship your goodness.  One wish we ask:  we wish to be protected in knowledge, One protection we desire; that we do not stumble in this life.  When they said these things in prayer, they welcomed one another, and they went to eat their holy food, which had no blood in it. 

Presider: (Please place your bread and your cup of wine before you)
Exegesis

In this sacrament of breaking bread and blessing wine, we pause and call upon Spirit Divine to bless this bread and wine which is made sacred through our faith.  We celebrate with one another as we remember Jesus walked this same earth we walk today.
During Jesus’s life on this earth he lived and died loving the poor, healing the sick and challenging the injustices within society.   Because of his ministry Jesus was feared by the authority of his day.

ALL:  On the evening of the Jewish Seder Jesus gathered with his close friends for a meal.  He reminded them of what He had taught them. He washed their feet as an act of love.

Jesus returned to his place at the table and spoke to his companions.  He lifted the Passover bread, and spoke the blessing, He broke the bread saying these words:

        “Take and eat, this is my very Self.  Do this in memory of Me.”

Jesus then lifted the cup filled with wine. He spoke the blessing and said:
“Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life for you and for everyone.  Whenever you do these things, remember Me.”

Presider:  Let us proclaim the mysteries of our faith.

ALL: We believe, we proclaim, we live as Jesus lives.

ALL:  For it is through learning to live as he lived,
And why he lived, and for whom he lived,
That we awaken to your Spirit within, moving us to celebrate life with you
life-giving Creator Spirit, At this time, and all time, and in all ways. 
Presider:  Let us pray in the manner that Jesus taught his companions to pray:

ALL:  O Holy One, you are within, around, and among us.
We celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come, your will be done,
unfolding from the depths within us.
Each day you give us all that we need.
You remind us of our limits, and we let go.
You support us in our power, and we act with courage. 
For you are the dwelling place within us,
The empowerment around us,
And the celebration among us,
now and forever.  Amen.
(adapted, Miriam Therese Winter, MMS)

(sing) Amen

Presider 1: Let us pray our communion prayer together.
All: What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives; as we share communion, we will become communion, both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge.

Presider 2: Please now receive Communion with the words “Receive the bread of life”. And “Receive the cup of sacred wine”
Presider:  As we celebrate the memory of Jesus in our sharing of Eucharist, we remember all those people in particular who walk with us in the search for the Divine.  We remember families we know and those we do not know who suffer because of the Covid virus.  We remember the communion of saints, and we celebrate all of life with thanksgiving.

Communion  Hymn


God, beyond our dreams, you have stirred in us a memory,
You have placed your powerful spirit in the hearts of humankind.

Refrain: All around us, we have known you;
All creation lives to hold you,
In our living and our dying
We are bringing you to birth.

God, beyond all names, you have made us in your image,
We are like you, we reflect you, we are woman, we are man.

Refrain

God, beyond all words, all creation tells your story,
You have shaken with our laughter, you have trembled with our tears.

Refrain

God, beyond all time, you are laboring within us;
We are moving, we are changing, in your spirit ever new.
Refrain

God of tender care, you have cradled us in goodness,
You have mothered us in wholeness, you have loved us into birth.

Refrain 

Closing Prayer

Presider:  Melt us into Oneness, O Holy One, so that a new creation might be born. Help us all embrace Your wisdom, embedded in our sacred planet.  Enable us to always live the reality of the Cosmic Christ in ourselves and all creation and even beyond.
Amen

O Holy One, we give thanks and praise for your living presence among us.

INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

Presider:  Together we raise our hands in a blessing of one another.

May the blessing of the Holy One hold you on your journey.
May the blessing of Spirit Life give all families peace.
May the blessing of Divine Mystery protect all those alone.
ALL:  Amen

Presider:  Go forth to be of service.

ALL: “Let the service continue”

Closing Song: “Spirit Is a Moving” by Carey Landry #447
Linda Lee-Miska on piano YouTube.

“The Spirit Is A-Moving”
 
The Spirit is a movin’ all over, all over this land
The Spirit is a movin’ all over, all over this land!

People are gathering, the church is born; 
the Spirit is a blowing on a world reborn.

The Spirit is a movin’ all over, all over this land
The Spirit is a movin’ all over, all over this land!                             

Filled with the Spirit, we are sent to serve,
We are called out together, we are called to work.

The Spirit is a movin’ all over, all over this land
The Spirit is a movin’ all over, all over this land!                             

Our Pentecost Fire by Rev. Dr. Barbara Billey, Priest ARCWP Heart of Compassion Faith Community, Windsor, Ontario, Canada (01 June 2020)


 “The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre-
To be redeemed from fire by fire.
Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.”
― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
T.S. Eliot wrote this poem after he converted to Christianity. For him, the Holy Spirit is the central fire that redeems humankind from the fires of hell. I'm not a proponent of the dualistic theology of heaven and hell; however, how do we make sense of a senseless hell that has taken place during the past week in the US where a black man, George Floyd is suffocated to death by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota? There's no solace in the irony that police officer, Derek Chauvin uses his knee to commit this atrocity; a praying position this is not.
Yesterday was Pentecost, a feast day for Christians around the world that is rooted in the tradition of the Israelites. Shavuot in Hebrew, Pentecost is a celebration of the gifts God gave his people in the Torah on Mount Sinai, which occurs fifty days after Passover, the day that marks their liberation from enslavement in Egypt by Pharaoh.
In Christian tradition, Pentecost occurs fifty days after Easter when we celebrate Jesus' resurrection from the dead. In Acts of the Apostles (2:1-11), a roaring wind fills the room where Jesus' companions are gathered. Tongues of fire descend upon their heads and each person is filled with the Holy Spirit, as well as the ability to speak and understand diverse languages. This is fluid fire that unleashes like a wild goose honking. Imagine sitting around a table for a meal with people from many nations. What a gift of radical hospitality given by Sophia Spirit!
In John's account of Pentecost (20:19-23), Jesus' companions are huddled in a room for fear of persecution by Jewish and Roman authorities. Jesus appears - fixed fire, a dove, an energy that harnesses their fears into calm. He says, "Peace be with you. As Creator God has sent me, so I send you" (v. 21). He gives them the gift of Spirit Sophia, to guide and to give them courage that they may continue His way of spreading the Good News: compassionately healing, teaching and justice-making.
In the Gospel of Mary, after Jesus appears to His companions, they weep greatly and cried out, "How shall we go the nations and proclaim the good news of the Child of Humanity? If they did not spare him, how will they spare us!" (5:2-3). Mary Magdalene gives the same reassurances as Jesus does: "Do not weep and be pained or doubt, for all His grace will be with you and shelter you" (5:5-6).
Are we not bombarded by fire right now? The murder of George Floyd is another suffocating assault during our Covid-19 pandemic that is incited by racism and violence. Many are in a hot mess of trauma and confusion that is accompanied by anger, grief and sadness. What can we do? How are we to be?
My mother was a wonderful listener and she also spoke, sometimes unsolicited, sound advice. Our conventional wisdom in times such as this is to lash out, to get revenge and to judge. To loot, burn and destroy. What is the Jesus way of justice? When I came to my mother with a concern or problem, she would often say, "When I don't know what to do I always pray to the Holy Spirit."
And T.S. Eliot, what does he say? "We only live, only suspire, consumed by either fire or fire.”