On Pentecost we sang that beautiful Taizé chant, Veni Sancte Spiritus, or, “Come Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is always present and always available to us, but we only seem to be able to interact with the Holy Spirit by invitation. We thank God; we praise God; we offer our love; and we invite the Holy Spirit into our hearts, our lives, and our relationships.
I suppose this isn’t really all that mysterious. After all, we invite the people we love into our lives. Think about how a truly loving relationship, be it a friendship or a marriage, develops: first we invite the person to do something together. After little steps of getting to know each other, we choose, or invite one another to go deeper. In some cases, we eventually choose to make a commitment. However a relationship develops, we have to be open to the other, invite them more deeply into our life, and risk vulnerability and trust. That same process of invitation that leads to relationship is at work in the church.
The Holy Spirit works in community and in relationships to guide us and teach us and to give us strength and courage. The Holy Spirit works through people, and often not the people we expect. One of the most important values of inviting new people into our community and congregation is to open us to new encounters with the Holy Spirit. We hope that we have much to offer the people who come to our church, but we also know that God will work through them. And so, invitation becomes a basic practice of spiritual growth for Christian community. Not only do we pray for the Holy Spirit, we pray for new people to come among us, to surprise and delight and challenge us as God continues the work of transformation through the communion of the Holy Spirit.
Come Holy Spirit.
Yours in Christ,