The liturgy is the speech of God. The speech of God opens us up and closes us down, blesses and curses. God’s speech finishes and makes good what we start but cannot finish, and undoes what we have done falsely. The act of God creates a community and a life; it creates plurality, it sets all things in motion, and distinguishes every thing from every other thing. It creates the Church and gives it a speech and a work. It gives the Church the task of untying the world that ties itself up, and picking up and binding in again whatever the world has abandoned. God gives his speech to the world in the form of the Church: the Church is the action of God in the world. The Church interprets the world to itself and is God’s own compassionate act of world-analysis and -diagnosis. Theology serves this speech of God given to the Church. The doctrine of God who speaks and acts for us serves to secure our daily action and freedom of action against all that threatens to bring it to a close. Only the God of Jesus Christ will free us and drive out the forces that have colonised us. He will raise us from this merely illusory diversity and this premature unity, from this indistinguishable entity of the observer and the world he sets before him, that cannot be given its independence from him.
Christ is our pioneer. He has ascended to where we cannot go, to the right hand of the Father. His Spirit holds together the whole long train of the people of the Son. The whole procession, and all the people in it, us included, are made impregnable by his protection. He is making himself visible to the world – and in the first instance we are the means he employs to do so. The Son is making himself visible, but very gently, so that this time no one gets hurt, but so that everyone is drawn into the very slow procession at one end of which Jesus is ready to receive us. Christ is our pioneer. He has ascended to where we cannot go, to the right hand of the Father. He has gained entrance to the palace of the king, and has now made us part of the people of that king. They, or rather, we, stand in a line that stretches back through the door of the palace, outside across the courtyard and out into the world. This procession stretches all the way from there to here, where we are. We are part of the procession that stretches from the Son that loops around, and connects up, all the world. Our leader is at one end, we at the other. We do not see him, but for him this procession is united to him, part of him. His Spirit holds together the whole long train of the people of the Son. The whole procession, and all the people in it, us included, are made impregnable by his protection.
From today we are under the Son direct. We have his whole and undivided attention. All the powers we identified individually with his men in the Old Testament, are available to us. The Spirit is the combined forces of all these witnesses who now together make one single witness, and one invincible force. The Spirit is the Son and his army, united in one person. That army serves and distinguishes the Son, and has raised the Son from us. Now this force has been sent to us. The Spirit, with all this mighty army, has become our servant. The Spirit has raised a people for the king, and a king for a people. The Spirit is God, at work, securing, and serving, his people. We celebrate him today, at Pentecost. Continue reading “Pentecost”