A new season in the Christian Liturgical Calendar will begin at the end of May. For many South Africans the first chills of winter are synonymous with the celebration of Pentecost, faith communities gathering on cold and dark nights, going to church and sharing soup after the evening prayer service. Pentecost conjures up images of the Holy Spirit as tongues of flames igniting passion and capability in the first Christian believers.
The Holy Spirit is described throughout the Christian Scriptures with language rich in life-giving and creative metaphors. No wonder that many Early Christian Creeds refer to the Holy Spirit as the Life-Giver. The Spirit is the Breath of God breathing life into all creation and affirming Christ’s resurrection power, even in the most desolate places. Therefore we can say that wherever there is new life – from the birth of a baby to the freshness of spring to actions for justice bringing about renewed relationships – there is the Spirit. It is therefore also fitting that we reflect on Creation, our relationship with the rest of the created world and our responsibilities as Earth keepers in the Pentecost season.
As Earth Keepers or eco-theologians, we often find that theologies fraught with dualisms – separating soul from body, mind from matter etc. – become barriers to restoring humanity’s connection to and respect for nature. Amidst these dualisms the Life-giver Spirit is the one that lovingly holds all Creation together. The Holy Spirit reminds us, that the same breath of God that sustains the woods, the sea, the animals, ignites passion in me. There is continuity between our biological lives and our spiritual lives.
In the same way the Spirit is also the community maker, binding the family of God into unity. But we also recognise that this community spreads wider than humanity, it encompasses all created things, binding them to God and each other. To help us in our reflection on the work of the Life-giving Spirit the Dutch-Reformed Church’s United Ministry for Service and Witness have compiled an Ecological Pentecost Liturgy and a series of sermons to be used in this year’s Pentecost services (and beyond). This resource is available in English and Afrikaans and is downloadable here, and in SAFCEI’s library. Please tell us if you find this resource helpful and share your stories of an Earth Keeping-inspired Pentecost with us.
by Juanita Greyvenstein, SAFCEI Eco-congregations coordinator South
Click here for the Pentecost Meditations 2015 Pentecost Meditations 1-11 (final)
Click here for the Pinkster Oordenkings 2015 Pinkster Oordenkings 1-11 (finaal)