Poem for Pentecost: “Flame” by C.D. Wright

What was the first Pentecost like?  Frightening?  Enlightening?  Exciting? We can read all about it in Acts, but I wonder … how would someone have described it in the moment?

Perhaps something like the last three lines of this poem…

“The tongue (of flame, perhaps?) … the eyes… the burn…”

Anyway, the poem seems to dart or hop, quickly drawing the reader’s attention from one sensation or object to another.

I imagine the first Pentecost would have been like that for the observers, and maybe even for the disciples.  Sights, sounds, and sensations were coming at them all at once. I think it would have been disorienting.

Do you think of the Holy Spirit as a disorienting force?  So often we speak of God as providing a path, or a light, or some kind of guidance.  (All those ideas are in Scripture.)  But also in Scripture is the idea that God’s presence, the presence of the Spirit, will shake us up, temporarily, and then reorient us as God wills.


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