In March of this past year, I shared with you my fretting over my art project—the collages of the 6 peace doves–tied to my theological musings about the movement of grace and the unhindered surprise of the Spirit. I wanted the peace doves to be the Holy Spirit but they sat pretty, too static to express the “flowing, shimmering, gusting, blazing, cascading” sense I had of the spirit. I proceeded to write about both grace and the Holy Spirit as “an ever-recurring mystery. It is mobility, not stability, that underlies and supports the matter-ing that we are and which surrounds us.” My next piece would be an attempt to make visual the dynamism of the Spirit, that ever-moving and transforming force that we liken to wind, water and fire.
I’ve finished it. Of course my efforts have fallen short but when I finally got some long-awaited inspiration, it became a collage of prayer and play, and eventually I had to stop somewhere. I include a cellphone photo here, at a second remove from the project. And with it, a reflection based on the scriptural charge in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians ( I Thess 5) “Do not stifle the Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit and the Invitation to the dance.
She is among us, Sophia, Shekina—
She plays here in our midst,
elbowing spaciousness into our crowded fears.
Will you deny her the delight?
Always be joyful, pray continually,
Give thanks whatever happens.
The dance of union, of new creation goes on
And we are awhirl in it, carried in it, borne up on it—
The singing wind, the lilting song
that led Dominic, Joyful Friar,
Along the Gospel path.
Will you join in the song? Will you try a new step?
Are you fearful, are you dreary, dragging, benumbed?
Sure it has all been said, nothing new under the sun?
Ah, do not stifle the Spirit—she burns and she sizzles
With Divine dreams, she comes to light in us a new fire,
To strengthen the weak, to encourage the weary,
To shake us awake! To limber us up!
To kindle our hearts! To lead us in laughter!
To twinkle in our eyes, to be hope for a new day.