Monday, June 5, 2006

STRINGFELLOW ON PENTECOST

NOT PRIVATE BUT PUBLIC. "...As a matter of history and theology, the biblical happening most pertinent to the baptism of the Spirit is, manifestly, Pentecost. The scene is not private but quite public; it is not individualistic but notorious, not idiosyncratic but scandalous; and onlookers are said to behold Pentecost as provocative and controversial; it appears to have been an offense to the ruling authorities."

TRANSCENDING DISTINCTIONS. "Central in the experience of the power of the Holy Spirit among the disciples, both commonly and severally, is a transcendence of worldly distinction (as race, age, sex, class, occupation, nationality, language, tongue) that anticipates the eschatological consummation of the whole of fallen creation in the Kingdom of God."

RESTORING ORIGINAL PERSONHOOD. "Simultaneously, in Pentecost, each person receives the renewal of human gifts and capabilities, the restoration, as it were, of one's original personhood, a reconciliation with and within self in utterly intimate detail happening within the environment of each person's reconciliation with the rest of humanity and the whole of created life throughout time."

PERSONAL AND COSMIC. "These same aspects of Pentecost--the most intensely personal and the cosmic and ultimate--become, ever after, the marks of authentic and credible conversion of the baptism of the Spirit. When a person nowadays can be said to be baptized of the Holy Spirit, it means that the person is, verily, incorporated into the experience of Pentecost."

Quotes are from A Keeper of the Word: Selected Writings of William Stringfellow edited by Bill Wylie Kellerman, Eerdmans, 1994

1 comment:

  1. Dear John,

    I love the fact that Pentecost is such a public day in the life of the church. I remember being incredibly angry at Annual Conference at Purdue a few years ago when we "celebrated" Pentecost by dropping a few balloons on ourselves in the auditorium and sang and clapped. It was all about us. And nothing at all about the "public." This Pentecost -- at both worship services -- we began inside behind closed doors (like the first Pentecost) and ended the worship service outside (just like the first Pentecost, too). At the end of the 10:45 worship service as we had folks gather outside we had waiting many of our neighbors there to share their gifts. One neighbor had prepared lunch and cake for everyone. Two more had massage chairs set up and were offering massages. Another had the photographs of the young people around our block who had been taking photos through a class he is offering on display. Children from our neighborhood (who are also in the congregation) were running around blowing bubbles and sharing bubble makers with others. It was a Pentecost Festival -- that I hope, served as a reminder of the giftedness we find all around us -- all the time.

    Mike

    ReplyDelete

Your tasteful comments and/or questions are welcome. Posts are moderated only to reduce a few instances of incivility.