May 20, 2018
Once again we find encouragement in Acts of Apostles: “ I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions. Your old men will dream dreams.”(Acts 2:17)
One Spirit, enlightening all people, across all ages. A cause for Pentecost celebration and again the source of our challenge. To speak out. To have a vision. To dream.
We live in strange times, when truth has become do-itself fantasy, violence has become a value, and the people who should speak out close their eyes, turn off their brains, and turn their backs in silence.
A fellow blogger, whom I greatly respect, Joris Heise (https://jorisheise.wordpress.com/about/), said it so clearly a few days ago:
“So much distrust, anger and hatred rise like weeds from our ignorance of one another. We see someone whom we don’t know – and who might look or talk different – and, too often, because our instinct is to fear what is different, to become uncomfortable with what is strange, we turn off the love of God. On the other hand, someone who follows Jesus – and who tries to be Jesus in our present world – sees another person of whatever kind as someone loved by God, and kept in existence by our loving Creator…..the love that God has for our world is within—inside ourselves, our conscience, and our mind, waiting to emerge. Only the habit of prejudice, the failure to grow up, an environmental culture of caution and fear – these keep us from feeling and expressing the love of God for our neighbor.”
So yes… in our prophetic witness, in our visions, and in our dreams the Spirit beckons. We are indeed human beings, made in the image and likeness of God. We have dignity. We have self-worth. We are multicultural brothers and sisters…not immigrant “animals,” as a Western head of state said last week. (First step down the road to genocide? It began that way once before.)
The signs of the times should be prophetic eye-openers.
Extreme Israeli violence against Palestinian protestors on the day the U.S. Embassy was opened In Jerusalem? At least sixty dead and thousands wounded. Many children and young people. Justified because the Palestinians are terrorists?
Meanwhile, some 40 miles away there was Pastor Robert Jeffress, one of President Trump’s closest evangelical advisers. He offered a prayerful reflection at the U.S. Embassy ceremonies in Jerusalem. Pastor Jeffress has strong religious convictions. Can one reconcile them with the message of Jesus? Or with historical American values? According to the Reverend, “God sends good people to Hell. Not only do religions like Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism — not only do they lead people away from God, they lead people to an eternity of separation from God in Hell.”
In my own RCC tradition, the signs of the times are historic. On Friday, May 18, every Roman Catholic bishop from Chile offered his resignation because of sex abuse and the cover-up scandal. Indeed, the biggest shakeup in the Catholic Church’s long-running sex abuse saga. At the end of an emergency summit with Pope Francis in Rome, all thirty-one active bishops and three retired bishops signed a document offering to resign and putting their fate in the hands of the pope.
And that same Friday, as I was writing this reflection, nine students and one teacher were killed at Santa Fe High School in Galveston County, South of Houston. Since 2000, there have been 213 school shootings in the USA. The highest number in other countries (Australia, Canada, Germany, and South Africa) 5.
Challenges abound. The Spirit has not abandoned us. It appears however that a lot of believers have abandoned the Spirit.
Warm regards this Pentecost.
Thanks for traveling with me!
I am not running away from the challenge. This week end, however, I am again stepping away from my blog for a while. Going on a kind of R&R retreat with my wife. A time to relax and escape to a quiet place. Time to reflect. Lots of thoughts going through my aging head; and I enjoyed a busy year, still teaching three classes a week. I hope to log in again towards the end of June. Another Voice is not gone. Just dreaming dreams.