Last Tuesday, while speaking at the Guinness and God event at Civic, Canberra, Archbishop Mark encouraged the audience (of mostly youngsters) to grow beyond the traditional good boy/good girl Christianity. He quoted James Cowen from his book “Journey to the Inner Mountain" in observing that we are “grown tired of [Christianity’s] entrenched moralism, its desire to mould people into some kind of polite entity devoid of the essence of poetry and extreme life”.
There is a danger for all of us to become just polite entities for many reasons. The disciples too had the same dilemma, soon after the death of Jesus. It was out of fear and uncertainty they faced in their life at that time. They lost the leader and the vision. They couldn’t see anything but darkness in front of them. So they just wanted to be polite and ordinary Jews or citizens. Except Thomas, none even dared to go out.
There was need for something extraordinary - something that comes from the breaking of the threshold of grace. The grace of the resurrection bought that to them. The resurrected Christ allowed that grace to stay with them and that was the Pentecost. The grace of God - Holy Spirit – came to them and set them on fire. They became extra-ordinary men and women.
We live in similar salvific times, where we expect the breaking of threshold of grace for a new Pentecost for many reasons, Archbishop Mark suggests I think. We need individuals who find the poetry and extreme life in the grace of God, in Holy Spirit for the Next Big Thing in the Church. We had St Francis of Assisi or St Anthony of Desert, when times demanded such outpouring of Spirit in the Church in the past. Let the Pentecost challenge all of us to respond to such big grace in our personal lives to live a life of poetry and extreme life in the Spirit.