This week we celebrate Pentecost! The story of Acts 2 is vibrant with images and sounds – a dramatic depiction of the Spirit’s coming. Each year we hear the words, imagine their vividness and chaos, and give thanks for the gift of the Spirit. We ask what does this gift mean for our lives today. What does it mean that the Spirit of all creation, the Spirit that gives and sustains life, is part of our life? In preparation of this Sunday’s celebration, I hope you will take a moment to read Jan Richardson’s poem, “What the Fire Gives: A Blessing for Pentecost”. I pray we all experience the “completeness” from “what the fire gives.”

A Blessing for Pentecost Day

You had thought that fire
only consumed,
only devoured,
only took for itself,
leaving merely ash
and memory
of something
you had believed,
if not permanent,
would be long enough,
enduring enough,
to be nearly

So when you felt
the scorch on your lips,
the searing in your heart,
you could not
at first believe
that flame could be
so generous,
that when it came to you—
you, in your sackcloth
and sorrow—
it did not come
to consume,
to take still more
than everything.

What surprised you most
were not the syllables
that spilled from
your scalded,
astonished mouth—
though that was miracle
to have words
burn through
what had been numb,
to find your tongue
aflame with a language
you did not know
you knew—

no, what came
as greatest gift
was to be so heard
in the place
of your deepest
to be so seen
within the blazing,
to be met
with such completeness
by what the fire gives.

—Jan Richardson
from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons