Holy Spirit You Are Welcome Here

June 4, 2017

Today we celebrate the experience of the Holy Spirit. We recall the gifts and the fruits of the Spirit, but even more deeply, we gather to celebrate the experience. Whenever we welcome someone into our home there are usually a few things we do in preparation. First we clean up a little. Second, we make time to be present in the moment. We are not ones to welcome someone in and then say “see you later–I have other things to do”. When we are at our best at welcoming, we clear the space and most importantly the time. Just in the last two weeks, as I was preparing to welcome our new seminarian Deacon James into the rectory, there were many moments of preparation. First I needed to make sure his space was clean and ready. Doing this involved moving some of the things found there. In my daily routine, it has been so easy to just pile things in that room, in order to take care of them quickly when I am coming in from the garage. It was a time commitment to make the space and a little work to get it all ready, but it is a work I enjoyed. Updating lamps, putting new sheets on the bed and having the bathroom cleaned to create a welcoming space was a joy. All of this is just general hospitality.

The Lord invites us to do the same for the Holy Spirit. We are to make time and space to receive. We are to be welcoming. Another aspect of preparing for the arrival of Deacon James was to clear some shelf space in the cupboards, as well as in the refrigerator. It was making sure there was room for all he was bringing. How do we do the same for the Holy Spirit? When we make space, the Holy Spirit will fill it. When we make space, the Holy Spirit will be welcomed and feel at home. We are called in this week to make space in our lives for the Holy Spirit.

The other aspect of this day is a realization of the generosity of the Holy Spirit. The gifts we are given are meant to be shared freely with others. The Holy Spirit is generous. In a world that is litigious and always looking at copyrights and protection of one’s possessions, the Holy Spirit takes us far beyond that. The Spirit longs for us to share its gifts with others. We were sealed on the day of Confirmation to be missionaries. We are to be generous in our sharing of what we have received.

This weekend the band U2 is in town for a concert at Soldier Field. They are retracing their steps of 30 years ago when they released their renowned Joshua Tree album. One of the things that has amazed me in some of their recent releases of old songs is how they have been generous in sharing of their music, asking gospel choirs to sing and add to their performance. On a recent late night talk show, they performed one of their classic songs and at the finish of the song, the band stopped singing and let the gospel choir finish it. At its conclusion, I watched how the band applauded the members of the gospel choir and gave thanks for the way the choir took this song they wrote to a whole new level. Their generous spirit reminds me of how we are called to do the same. We are to allow God to do all the finishing of our words and actions. We are to let the Holy Spirit be the conclusion of our sentences and our gestures. It is a generous God who invites us to be Church and become Church. May we freely give what we receive, may we allow the crowning glory of our every sentence be that of God.

Holy Spirit, You are Welcome Here

Help Us to Make Space and Time in our Lives for You,

Help Us to be Inspired by Your Generosity

That We May Generously Share What We Have Received.

Reverend John J. Ouper