There are many great theologians piling thought onto thought through Church history. but remember the Spirit that we celebrate the coming of at Pentecost moves as it will. What does that mean, well simply that you don't need to be famous or work in an ivory tower counting the number of angels on a pin head to have great theological insights. Take my dentist for example. It turns out she is a bit of a theologian. Not only does she have a good grasp of the Maximus mouse stories, but she gets the Holy Spirit and Pentecost How do I know? Well she was the one who gave me the key to the sermon this week.
Sitting in the dentist chair, my mouth occupied with things metal, and my gums occupied with things anaesthetic, I discovered my dentists view of just how the Holy Spirit works.' There's one word that sums up the Holy Spirit,' she said,' removing what felt like a ten foot metal spanner from my mouth. twisting a metal screw on the filling mould, she said one word.......
Persistence: that's the key. I drifted off thinking about that word persistence. Yes maybe she was right. The disciples in a room wondering what came next after the ups and downs of being with Jesus, seeing him die, discovering the empty tomb, seeing Jesus once more in one sense or another and then waiting in a locked room once more. Waiting, wondering, persisting and perseverance all seemed to be the lot of a follower of Jesus back then.
Surely it's the same to day even when you're not at the dentist. Following Jesus in 2016 is about looking to Jesus and discovering how to live. Then the wondering for the disciples is interrupted according to Luke in Acts by a sound like a wind, a sight like tongues of fire resting on everyone. Maybe we begin to see what following god is like. It is to include everyone.
But maybe when it comes to how the holy Spirit works, John's version of the coming of the Holy Spirit helps us too these days.
Remember he says I 'll send an advocate to help you. What does this advocate look like? Difficult to say. Thousands if not millions of words have been written on the subject over the centuries since before the Spirit was accepted as part of the Trinitarian nature of God.
Look said my dentist, as if to a small child, this persistence is what living with the Holy Spirit is all about. One the one hand the Holy spirit is God's big dispenser of hugs and comforts to each of us and on the other, he or she makes sure that God know just how we are feeling at any time she or he is hugging us. A great big hugging advocate is how my dentist described the holy Spirit that day as she wielded her high speed drill in my mouth. Thank God for the persistent holy Spirit I thought as I lay there stock still trying to ignore just how near the soft tissue of my gums was to the squeaky noise emitting metal probe. Thank God for a steady persistent hand I thought too.
The theme for the Pentecost sermon was suddenly in my head. No need for large theological tomes this week or quaint little stories or quotations from Disney films or even poems.
The only reference needed is my dentist. Oh and a lot of bunting and birthday cake with which the Kid's kirk can celebrate the birthday of the Church: Pentecost.
Happy persistent Pentecost everyone.