A story from my Pentecost sermon
As a young girl, as soon as I was of age I signed up for the cross country team. Why you may say. Initially, the physical challenge of running long distance was horrendous. It was painful - keeping those legs moving, catching breath - and the finish line seemed to be nowhere in sight.
One particular race is etched vividly in my memory to this day. It was the race that wove through the forest and along the Thames River in London. At one point I got tired as long distance races go. Rounding yet another corner I resigned that it was time to walk, not able to run anymore.
As the footsteps behind came closer, I waited for the breeze that was about to gust by as the person with more stamina sped ahead. But instead of racing past, the other runner stopped by my side. Coming alongside this worn out runner with words of comfort and encouragement. To my astonishment she said, "Keep going the finish line is just around the next corner. You are almost there."
Those legs revved to cross the finish line in a best ever finish of 4th place among many.
The finish line was literally just around the corner
It’s not about the ribbon or 4th place. It’s not so much about helping out the team with a good finish. What really stands out to this day was that person who instead of rushing by, came alongside, breathed life into me with a few words of encouragement to run the race.
This is how the Holy Spirit works in our lives. The Spirit of God known as the comforter and the encourager comes alongside of us and breathes into us all that has life. And all that has breath, praises the Lord. Alongside of us comes the spirit, giving breath to every cell of our body. Without breath we are nothing.
When God’s spirit acts, and it does, don’t doubt that, knees quiver, hearts race. And just as you try to catch your breath, breath is given.
Wait for it. There it is. Breathe.
From the Ascension sermon
After watching Jesus ascend into heaven, the apostles’ go to the upper room. In that upper room they wondering what Jesus’ ascension into heaven could mean. Where did Jesus go?
They hunker down to make sense of it all.
Have you ever hunkered down like the apostles?
Gone to that familiar spot. That urban trail where the daisies grow. Behind the refuge of a door that locks or at least blocks out interruptions. To a cabin nestled among the loons and birch. To a sanctuary.
When the world acts up yet again. When a concert of budding music goers turns into a target for violence. When profit is valued more than health. When people are treated as commodity.
You hunker down.
And press the mute button for a few minutes.
To hear the still small voice cutting through the noise.
When my children get too noisy, I often say to them,
"Sshh. Quiet down. Listen for a minute. What do you hear?"
Breath and heart, mommy.
You’ve hunkered down too, haven’t you?
It’s like devoted prayer. Centring us back to the love, life, and grace of God.
When your heart is pulled in many direction.
Sssh. Listen to the pulse beat. It’s a gift. It’s God.
When the stress, or hastiness or the hurtfulness takes your breath away.
Sssh. Listen to your breath. It’s a gift. It’s God.
Have you ever hunkered down to catch a glimpse of God with us.
If you haven’t, you are long over due.
Jesus comes to a world in need, in a breath, in a heart beat.
Offering an abiding peace and a love on top type of victory.
Working love in the very fabric of the world, in all and through all.
What possibility. What promise.
That’s a whole lot of breath, and hearts beating.
(If we’re bold) 7.5 billion to be precise.
Mother, wife and pastor.