Sunday, June 08, 2014

The Holy Spirit as Inclusive Community


"The Holy Spirit Arrives" by Doug Blanchard.

With today being Pentecost Sunday, I thought I'd share artist Doug Blanchard's beautiful image, above, along with the following inspiring quote from author Gary David Comstock. Each expression, in its own way, explores the idea of the Holy Spirit as inclusive community.

If God is understood as the mutuality and reciprocity in our relationships and Jesus is our saving one another from loneliness, despair, abuse, and neglect, the Holy Spirit is the community that includes and encourages each person to share her or his gifts. The "holy" or "whole" spirit – the creative and saving power of God set among us – is inclusive community. . . . Such community does not expect to make all alike, to flatten difference. It promises to be shared by the particular needs and differences of its members, not to shape and reduce them to similarity. Such community promises welcome and nourishment for all who want and need to share their lives.

In the church this unconditional welcome and nourishment are formalized and passed along as the sacraments of baptism and the meal. To be sure, these practices have been so particularized along denominational lines as to be exclusive; but their original and potential purpose to welcome, share, and nourish one another deserve to be reclaimed if we are to build inclusive communities in which people lead meaningful lives.

– Gary David Comstock
Excerpted from Gay Theology Without Apology
pp. 138-139

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Tongues and Souls on Fire
A Prayer for Pentecost
Gospel Leadership
The Spirit of Pentecost is Very Much Present and Active in the Church of Minneapolis/St. Paul
Strange Tongues
Paul Lakeland on the Church as a Model of Divine Mutuality
Compassion, Christian Community, and Homosexuality

Image: A winged woman literally lights up a crowd in "The Holy Spirit Arrives" from Doug Blanchard's series The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision. The painting is a modern version of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came to Jesus’ disciples like tongues of fire and inspired them to speak in new ways and in other languages. The series presents a liberating new vision of Jesus’ final days set in a contemporary city

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