Monday, June 20, 2005

a fellowship that exceeds our capacity to define it

In a sermon delivered on the Day of Pentecost at the Memorial Church at Harvard, Peter Gomes offers these words on the work of the Holy Spirit:

"We should remember, you and I, that we are members of a fellowship that exceeds our capacity to define it. Since the sixteenth century we Protestants have boasted of what we are not, and to whom we do not belong. A religion of protest is essentially a negative, denying religion. Having cut ourselves off from anything beyond our own circle, we have been tempted to make our own circle the object of our worship. It is a dangerous, heretical, even sinful elevation of the particular to the universal, and it is further a denial of the explicit will of God as expressed in Jesus, that we should all be one. Pentecost reminds us that the gift of understanding, that gift that transcends logic and diversity, is the gift of the spirit of unity: union with God and his most perfect will, union with our sisters and brothers everywhere, in all times and in all places, with whom we share and hear in our own tongues the mighty works of God. Such a spirit as this gave birth to our Holy Church and yet sustains it. Such a spirit is its only true and godly hope, and such a spirit, the spirit of understanding, fellowship and grace, is what we seek to express and share as we gather around the Lord's Holy Table."

Peter Gomes, Sermons: Holy Wisdom For Daily Living, page 101.


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