An Epiphany at Pentecost

I had an Epiphany on Pentecost.

My “ah-ha!” moment occurred during Fr. Matt’s sermon.  Now, I’ve heard many sermons on Pentecost.  They’ve all focused on things like the birth of the Church, the arrival of the Holy Spirit, the empowerment of the disciples and the like.

But Fr. Matt pointed out something I’d never considered before: Pentecost happened during a meeting.  

meeting-808754_1280 image from geralt on pixabay.com

Well, I about fell out of the loft chuckling.  A meeting! Known to so many of us as that great interrupter-of-productivity, that drainer-of-energy, that breaker-of-plans.  There’s not a soul on the planet who hasn’t, at one time or another, prayed for an excuse to avoid sitting in a meeting. Aw, shucks, I’ll have to miss the meeting, I have to bathe my cat / have a root canal / go to my niece’s dance recital.

It wasn’t just the meeting idea, though, that brought about my Epiphany.  It was the realization that yes, there IS power in group intention, and I’m seeing it coming out of the spiritual closet after hiding out for a while.

The apostles had been sequestered for some days after Jesus’ ascension, wondering what the heck was going to happen next.  They’d already seen incredible miracles.  But…what next?  They were hanging out in the upper room, praying, talking, eating, and yes, meeting.

mosaic-409427_1280 photo from music4life on pixabay.com

Paul, in Acts, tells us of the arrival of the Holy Spirit.  Call it a Hollywood moment or not, but clearly something happened.  Whether it was an arrival of God in the Holy Spirit, or whether it was an awakening of God / Spirit within is something I’ll leave up to theologians to quibble over.  But something stirred, woke up, brought, quickened, sparked SPIRIT inside of everyone there.

And I wonder what their shared intention had to do with it.  They were there, in community, together, all focused on receiving whatever direction they were to receive.  They were focused on surrender, to following whatever the path was.  I don’t doubt they were frightened and probably quite clueless.

What next?  And then, something happened.  Whether you call that something the Holy Ghost, Spirit, or whatever – something Divine that was greater than any one of them brought them all together in shared intention and empowered them.

Acts tells us that they went out among the people that very day, preaching and baptizing thousands.  Was it their shared experience – their meeting – that enabled them to lean upon each other spiritually, enhance the spiritual strength of the whole, and thereby be in a position to receive this incredible gift?

One way or another, consciousness rises.  Sooner or later, humanity realizes that God is indeed in each of us.  When we read the story of Pentecost, we should remember that this is what the story is about; that relying on Spirit – God – within ourselves gives us strength to do that which we would not otherwise do.  Joining with others to focus intention, prayer and awareness raises this consciousness as a whole.  I believe this is a path for humanity that we need to follow.  We are a wonderful collection of unique, individual souls with a glorious diversity of gifts and personalities.  At our core, we are all expressing God, for we are all made in the image and likeness of God from the very being of God.

The color of Pentecost is red.  This is the same color as the root chakra in Hindu and yogic traditions .  (If you’re not familiar with chakras, they are energy centers in the subtle body; a quick internet search will give you an overview.)  Each chakra is important.  The root chakra is one of energy and empowerment, and well suited to Pentecost.  For without the energy, empowerment, and passion of the Spirit that was awakened during that Pentecost meeting, the story of Jesus would never had made it out of the upper room.

Be the Match

I type the word “Match” as a working title for this post and the dating website comes to mind.  Finding the right match can change your life! Today, I received a phone call that, if a particular match is right, could indeed change someone’s life. And no, it has nothing to do with dating.

A few years ago, I had registered with the National Marrow Donor Registry.  I have some knowledge of bone marrow transplants, and knew quite a few transplant recipients when I was working in the field of oncological social work.  I also knew some patients who needed (but never received) a transplant because no suitable donor could be found.

I finally got more information and contacted the Registry at www.BeTheMatch.org.  Even though I knew the basics of the transplant process, I read up on the procedure.  I knew that I would always have the chance to remove myself from the Registry if I so wished, and if I were contacted as a potential donor, I could still opt out.  Yes, it’s more involved than donating blood, but the process of getting on the Registry is easy.

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I knew when I signed up that I might be contacted, and today I received a call informing me that I had been identified as a possible donor match for a lady with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.  (I’ve read that about half of one percent of people who register are identified as a possible match; even fewer of those become donors.)  One can be a possible match and still not be a donor because of a number of reasons, so I don’t know where this journey will lead.  What’s important is the best possible outcome for the 70-ish year old lady for whom I am a potential match, and if that’s me, then I’m in. Early 70’s? She’s young, and has a lot left to do in life! I don’t know her, but I want to help her.  I’m betting there are people who love her, and that she loves and wants to stick around for.

So, the next step for me is a repeat cheek swab test, and if her doctor determines I’m still a possible match, we follow up with blood tests, physical exam, etc. for further screening.  I also know that my own journey, even if I do wind up being a donor, will be nothing compared to hers.

I see the time commitment and discomfort as a small price to pay for someone else to gain life.  I feel very, very humbled. In spite of the small percentage of matches found among those who register, I wasn’t too surprised to get the call.  Maybe it’s because so many of my ancestors had very large families, I know I share DNA with a lot of people! (And who knows, I may share no DNA at all with the possible recipient.)

Or perhaps it’s because each year, when the Registry contacts me to confirm or update my contact information, I prayerfully consider and renew my commitment.  I say yes.  Yes to God, yes to whatever is in store, knowing that whether I ever serve as a donor or not, my being available brings more hope to people who will be searching for a match.

Find out more about being on the National Marrow Donor Registry at www.BeTheMatch.org.