Pentecost, When All Heaven Breaks Loose

Sergei Korovin, “To the Pentecost” (1902)

Spiritual Sunday

Today for Pentecost Sunday I post a poem by Ken Sehested, director of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of America. Ken is one of the pastors of the Circle of Mercy congregation in Asheville, North Carolina, a church steadfastly dedicated to the cause of peace.

Sehested reminds us, as Christians frequently need reminding, that we should be focused on this world, not the next one. Through the intervention of the Holy Spirit, our ‘advocate with the Father,” we have each of us access to God. Or put another way, through the Pentecostal moment humankind discovered that we all carry God within us. We have only to open ourselves to Him/Her/It.

Pentecostal Passion

By Ken Sehested

Pentecostal power has little to do with
exaggerated religious emotion. But
such power, when granted,
has everything to do
with passion, with conviction.
It’s not your mind that
you lose—it’s your heart,
which falls head-over-heels
in love with the vision of dry bones
re-sinewed and aspired to life.

When such power erupts, they
probably will call you crazy.
“Have you lost your mind?!”
Yes, we will say, because
these days the mind has
become acclimated to a culture
of war; has become inured to
the ravages of poverty in a culture
of obesity; has become numb
to ecological wreckage.

When Pentecostal power erupts, all
heaven’s gonna’ break loose.
The boundaries will be compromised;
barriers will be broken; and
borders will be breached.
Economies of privilege will be fractured
and the politics of enmity will be impeached.
The revenge of the Beloved is the
reversal of Babel’s bequest.

“I will pour out my Spirit,”
says the LORD: Poured out
not for escape to another
world beyond the sky but
here, amid the dust. Poured out
not on disembodied spirits but
“upon all flesh.” It is to the
agony of abandonment that Heaven
is aroused. Queer the One Who
fashions a future for the disfavored.

The groaning of creation is both
an ache and an assurance. We
dare not insulate ourselves from
the one, lest we be deafened to
the other. Birth is at work.
Though the labor is prolonged,
provision is tendered.
Pentecostal power is the wherewithal
by which we wager our lives on
the surety of this promise.

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