St Hilda’s Church, Danby

Michael hazelton

This was the experience of the disciples after the resurrection of Jesus. They seemed unable to tune in to the spirit of his new presence among them, but instead craved for the old, earthly Jesus to come back as before.

Eventually they were reduced to skulking around in a locked room in a backstreet in Jerusalem, paralysed by fear and uncertainty.

It was only when they received the Spirit of the resurrected Christ that they were able to break free from these constraints and to leave that room, alive with the Spirit who empowered them to live their lives as they actually were, and not as they had nostalgically dreamed of them.

In this sense, Pentecost is not an abstract theological mystery, a matter of theory to be debated among different denominations and traditions. At Pentecost, we are invited to accept the Spirit into our actual lives, into the heart of the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

In doing so, we do not, of course, remove the suffering which is intrinsic to human existence. Instead, we discover that, in the midst of our frustrations, unfulfilled dreams and inferiorities, life is still the place of many divine blessings, and that, empowered by that same Spirit who raised Jesus Christ from the dead, we are enabled to live life as it is, not as we would might wish it to be.