Monday, June 1, 2009
Walking in our neighborhood park, I see again the signs of spring: there are plugs of dirt all over, aftereffects of aerating the soil. You have to loosen the dirt, to poke holes through the layers of thatch in order to keep the grass healthy and growing. Soil that is not properly aerated will not absorb water because it becomes too compacted. The thick dead grass weaves together over the surface and keeps the nourishing rain from reaching the roots.
In the fabric of our life together, we can become like compacted soil. We grow rigid with the passage of too much time and too settled habits, crushing underneath like cement the path of our routine. Our work is to make space for the water of life, to cut away all that has grown shallow and dead, and get beyond the choked-off surface of things.
It’s much easier to keep things as they are, to smile and float along on the surface of relationships without daring to go deeper. And yet without a conscious choice to do something about it, our church services and our interactions never get beyond that tight, shallow surface of dead grass. It takes honesty and authenticity to cut away the pretension and get deeper to the heart of things. Without this work, we will eventually die off, with no room to receive.
The work of Pentecost is the work of God’s Spirit coming to us, like wind, fire, or the sharp metal blades of an aerator, to move away what is killing us, to help us grow and somehow in the process of change, once again to let us breathe.