With the ring of death still in my ears I am thinking of my grandchildren and great grandchildren. What kind of Earth are we leaving them? I am no scientist but the best of the scientist say the time has come when there may be no turning back. It seems to me that the message for humanity and society is simply this: Time is running out. Government officials and top climate scientists say the world will need to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times. Climate change is anthropogenic – caused by human beings, some much more than others. We as people of the Earth live the consequences of that change: the acidification of oceans and decline of many species in them, the slow disappearance of island nations such as the Maldives, increased flooding, drought, crop failure leading to food-price increases and famine. Then how about the increasingly turbulent weather, Sandy, then a typhoon in the Philippines and heat waves that kills elderly people by the tens of thousands. Does humanity have the capacity to admit the problem; can we name it, and then systematically aggressively address the problem? I not sure it may just be the hot weather today and more for tomorrow. I may be a little out of my mind. There may not be a problem after all. Our press would tell us the truth if they knew it, or would they? I was thinking if the island of Japan was going underwater what would happen, or if we lost half a mile of East Coast shoreline. How about lower Manhattan lost to ocean. Seventh floor water front property, what a sale that would be. Ocean view and diving board from my fourth floor apartment, water taxies to down town. Just think about it, new immigrants from the Canal towns of Europe, with new opportunities for them, their boats, and their labor, a true New, New York. It is just to hot I can’t go on.
The readings to day were very long, and in some ways it was hard for me to stay awake and find meaning. Yet there must be something in these as a set. Fist Old Testament Ezekiel, then Romans, and then a reading from John. As Fr. Marshall pointed out in his sermon that Ezekiel is one heck of a Priest. A tad out there, but still a very spiritual man, what seemed to Ezekiel as dried up bones, God’s eye had a different view. What seems to us as dead and dried up God may use for a great cause. Then the first line of the Gospel of John, “To set the mind on flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace”. Now that seems simple, look to the spirit and all will be well, or will it? Death will still be part of the human deal, but the difference is if one dwells in the spirit of Christ then that person will be raised. But what about now, John writes that a person in the spirit is also one who is living a life of fullness.
Then we hear a very long story of Lazarus of Bethany, this could be a zombie story, the kind of popular TV or movie. Here is this guy that is called back to life and comes out of the grave, with all the white gauze wrapping. He has only been in the grave for four days so the gauze is new and so his family has to unbind him. It is remarkable to me is no one faints nor none of the teenage girls run off screaming. One other thing about this story that is strange to me is that thru out the whole story it seems as if Jesus was giving a Sunday school class. Just think about it, he asks a question and then Martha gives an answer that seems like it is from the catechism. She said I know my brother will arise in the final day then Jesus says ‘I am the way and the life” Then she says “Don’t remove the stone, there is a stench because he has been dead four days” Jesus retorts “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” and the lesson is over.
I have not taken on the hard theological question of how much do I believe in the power of the triune God and to be more specific, how much do I believe in the work of the Holy Spirit? I have pondered these questions. The Pentecostals friends of ours have no problem with the Holy Spirit. For them the Holy Spirit baptizes and gives gifts of tongues. They call on the Holy Spirit to safeguard them by a protective area around them. The Holy Spirit is a part of their every day talk as if they were talking about someone at work or school. An active spirit in the world and their world, when they are moved it is the Holy Spirit. When they have an insight, it is the Holy Spirit.
Now I can give the Catechism answer, the “Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity, God at work in the world and in the Church even now”. Can that hard to find parking place that just pops up, be the working of the Holy Spirit? The Catechism asks the question, “How do we recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives”? Want the answer? Here it is straight from the BCP “We recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit when we confess Jesus Christ as Lord and are brought into love and harmony with God, with ourselves, with our neighbors, and with all creation”. Now that’s a lot different form the outward signs that the Pentecostals talk about, bless their hearts. I am growing closer to them as the Holy Spirit moves in me and I see the Holy Spirit move in other people around me. I am not ready to say this story about dry bones coming together and Lazarus is a zombie story or the next great TV show, but has moved me to wonder.