"Suddenly a sound like a violent wind filled the house where they were sitting…"—Acts 2:2
"We do not know how to pray…, but the Spirit intercedes in us with sighs too deep for words…"—Romans 8:26
In this activist denomination the Holy Spirit is often imagined as a divine wrecking ball, smashing oppression and clearing the debris of injustice. Or a piercing eyeball revealing the nakedness of emperors, and lending us courage when we name the fraud and get in a heap of trouble. Or God's match lighting a fire under us, a roaring engine of mission, a blazer of trails that lead to who-knows-where, impelling us onto the road.
And She is. All that. Energy, thunder, movement. And more.
But the thing about the Spirit is that she's versatile, multi-faceted, with a rather long job description. Lucky for us, who are multi-faceted too, she does more than rush around causing holy havoc and pushing us out of our comfort zones.
Sometimes she restrains us. Sometimes she hushes. Sometimes she works from the inside out. She's an activist, yes, but inside action is her specialty, too. She's a sweetness. A gardener. A visiting nurse. Sometimes she knows we need comfort. Sometimes she is comfort itself.
Here's an ancient prayer you might like if this is you—exhausted in need of rest, parched in need of rain, sad in need of solace, motherless in need of a Mother.
Come, Holy Spirit, come,
send from God your shining light.
Come, Mother of the poor,
giver of gifts, light of all hearts.
Best of consolers,
sweet guest, soul's refreshment:
In toil, rest,
coolness in heat, solace in sorrow.
Blessed Light, illumine us.
Without your shining
nothing in us stays innocent.
Wash our stains,
water our dryness, mend our wounds.
Bend the rigid,
melt the frozen, welcome the stray.
Give to us who trust in you
your manifold gifts.
Give us virtue's reward,
salvation's healing, and gladness evermore.
Stillspeaking Small Group Discussion
Mary Luti is a long time seminary educator and pastor, author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles, and founding member of The Daughters of Abraham, a national network of interfaith women’s book groups.