Where do we find ourselves on this Pentecost day? It is likely that many of us find ourselves locked into our inner rooms of fear, doubt and uncertainty like Jesus’ disciples. They were locked behind closed doors because of their fears. It is obvious that they feared the wrath of the Jewish leaders who plotted against Jesus. Elizabeth Johnson also points out that they had plenty of reason to be afraid of Jesus—Peter had denied him thrice and all but the Beloved Disciple had run away abandoning Jesus.
Pentecost is in part about letting go of our fears. If we are younger and locked into the struggles of the first half of life, we may fear for our jobs, our future, our IRAs and our families. Where are we? Where are we going? Is it going to work out the way we have planned it? If we are older, our fears may have shifted. Our friends have heart attacks or get cancer and die. The fear of death stars us in the face. We fear debilitating illness and the usual ravages of aging. We fear for our dwindling retirement funds. We fear for the well being of our spouses and our children. We all in one way or another fear dying to self. We lock the doors for security.
We may have locked and barred the door. We may have thrown away they key but fortunately, the locked doors of our hearts do not stop Jesus. He just comes on in. He keeps showing up just like he did in the Gospels after the crucifixion and resurrection. He does not berate us for the times we have abandoned him. Rather he speaks a blessing of shalom peace—total well being grounded in the infinite mercy of grace. He challenges us to lay aside all our fears and to go forth from our locked rooms to proclaim this very peace and his forgiveness. He invites us to die to our fears so we can rise to new life in Him.
Jesus breathes on us just as God breathed on creation flaring forth. He breathes the Spirit of new, resurrected life and hope. How many times he has told us to “Be not afraid.” Now we know that our fears have no foundation. Jesus invites us to enter the Spirit adventure of the second half of our lives. The breath of the Spirit of the Risen Christ empowers us to unlock the doors and live in trust and hope. He calls us to venture boldly among the leaders who would silence us and to live and proclaim Gospel values—peace, love, joy, hope, forgiveness. The Gospel message we first live, hopefully without words, may sound like babble to the world around us but babble of God’s goodness we will.
We now know that only by letting go and letting God will we become all that we are meant to be—sons and daughters created in the very image and likeness of the merciful and loving Creator God.
Come, Holy Spirit!