"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words."
(Romans 8:26, NRSV)
The rhythm of parish life is the result of many forces, currents, and events. One of those sublime days when everything seems to flow and synchronize together was this past Sunday of the Feast of Pentecost. The combining energies of more than one kind of music, the lessons, the framing provided by those extra events, and the seasonings of some serendipitous inventions -- think “Oscar Meyer” -- made for one of our brightest days.
Maybe especially because of the other concerns of Adelaide's memorial and Dick and Diane's marriage service and how they bracketed our Pentecost observance, church was FUN!
So it was interesting to read these words from St. Paul in the twilight of all the weekend's events and to reflect on them from the sagging and fatigue that a nearly constant 72 hours will cause.
The "sighs too deep" did one thing in particular; they made room for immense gratitude! I am so very grateful for so many things that I cannot possibly name them all here, but I am going to call on the Spirit one more time and prayerfully try.
For the way that Ann, Douglas and MG marshaled their hearts' energies to honor their mother and to make room for so many others to join them in so doing, I am grateful.
For the way that Jill, Anna and others stepped up to provide hospitality to all our weekend's guests, I am grateful.
For the way that Dan J. and Jim presented the organ's new voices, I am grateful.
For the way that Dick S. served as field engineer for the construction of the new handicap ramp into the parish house kitchen, I am grateful.
For the way that Dan M. and the Gloria Deo choir and others graced our worship Sunday morning, I am grateful.
For the way Tim and Brian "ombudsmanned" Adelaide's memorial service, I am grateful.
For the "appropriate" way our Flower Guild adorned the church and parish house in Adelaide's memory and for Dick C. and Diane's wedding, I am grateful.
For the way Genia and Paul dressed our chancel for worship from Easter white to Pentecost red back to white again all within 24 hrs, I am grateful.
For the way so many of you -- your names will be known in time -- are responding to the various and important invitations to serve as members of our choir, our vestry, or as deacon, I am grateful.
For the way EVERYBODY has been stepping up or over or on or in to help this place and its people "stay on purpose" and keep becoming more than it was a day, a week, a month, a year, and an age ago, I am grateful.
That's the thing about this Spirit and the sighing it urges; for sure from within our strength and perhaps even more so from within our weakness we are becoming more than our own prayers can name for us. And we can trust what we are becoming. ". . . because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." (v. 8:27b) And because of Pentecost we are those saints.