Today is the day the world celebrates as Pentecost. Though we Quakers have a mild taboo against celebrating particular days, I do often celebrate them, privately, because all the direction and structure of my life is acknowledged in these particular days, and I am affirmed through celebrating a shared knowledge and purpose with those of the past. “Hello Peter; hello David; we are just some centuries apart, but our inward life, our knowledge and love of God, is the same.”
There have been and are others who like me have known life’s fulfillment through having been given to know the Inward Christ, have sought to dwell in the house of the Lord forever, and are committed to proclaiming the Kingdom. Some, like Peter and David, were also given words and tasks that we who follow in time can rally around and rejoice in, for they come from the pure human heart that knows its Creator’s greatest gift, the Presence of His Son, Christ Jesus.
I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved; Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope; Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance (Acts 2:25-28).
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The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre-
To be redeemed from fire by fire.
Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.
T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets