A trinity of liturgical observances, each rather more difficult to define than Christmas or Easter, have appeared on the church calendar these past few weeks – Pentecost two Sundays ago, followed by Trinity Sunday and today’s Corpus Christi. Together they represent that part of theology that mostly doesn’t come up at dinner parties – thanks be to God. Is the Holy Spirit male or female? How can God be one and three parts at the same time? Is transubstantiation real? Why does any of that matter? becomes my follow-up question.
During this long season of Sundays after Pentecost, which conveniently coincides with the lazier days of summer, I suggest that you allow yourself to become passively receptive to the Holy Spirit. Don’t ask any hard questions. Just sit and open your heart. We can’t command the Holy Spirit to come into our lives, any more than we can prove that bread and wine are other than representatives of Christ’s body and blood, or demand that God stop loving us. But we can issue the invitation.
Come, Holy Spirit, our souls inspire, and lighten with celestial fire.
Enable with perpetual light, the dullness of our blinded sight.
Contemplatives talk about “resting in God”, a kind of letting go that seems difficult for a lot of people, but have you ever had the experience of sitting back, getting out of the middle of a problem and having the solution become apparent? Solutions and ideas often come to me in that half-awake state, just before getting up in the morning. I think the Holy Spirit finds its way to us more easily when we’re quiet, speaking to us and sharpening our sight when we open the door. If we were to bumper-stickerize this, it might read:
Holy Spirit Happens
If I was to summarize the Trinity – and I know the world has been waiting for this – it might be thus:
God requires praise. Jesus requires action. The Holy Spirit requires passivity.
Summer’s freedom just might give you more opportunities to entertain. Extend an invitation to the Holy Spirit and then relax and enjoy your guest. For me, nothing is more conducive to that state of passive receptivity than chant. Hold on, I think someone is at the door.