“When the Day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind.” —Acts 2:1-2.

“ … [Jesus] breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” —John 20:22.

Pentecost Banner St. Luke’s Episcopal Church North Little Rock

Pentecost Banner St. Luke’s Episcopal Church North Little Rock

Barbara Brown Taylor1 describes two versions of Pentecost: the gentle breeze in John, as Jesus breathes into the few disciples fearfully gathered on the night of his resurrection; and the violent wind of Pentecost that is described in Acts, as the Holy Spirit sweeps in, with tongues of fire hovering over at least a hundred people.

The disciples at the gentle wind Pentecost are commissioned to take the Spirit out into the world. The ministry assigned to the violent wind disciples is to seek to fan the Spirit already present in the world. Taylor challenges us in our congregations to emulate the disciples in both Pentecost stories: those of the gentle breeze and those of the violent wind. Both groups are commissioned to find that Holy Spirit within themselves and others, and take it out of their churches and into the world.

The same is true of the Sprit, the Christ, within us. We are called to connect to that Spirit within us and then go out and connect to the Christ in others. If we don’t, we are like the disciples in John’s scenario—locked up in a dark room for fear of losing what we have. Only when we connect our Spirit to the Christ in others do we know that peace, joy, and love that we are seeking. Our view of God also becomes larger as we become aware of the magnitude of God’s creation and love.

Barbara Brown Taylor, “God’s Breath” in Journal for Preachers, Pentecost 2003, pp. 37-40.

Happy Pentecost.


Wounded Healers

Ericson: Wounded Healers

“May our Lord Jesus Christ who walks on wounded feet, walk with you.

May our Lord Jesus Christ who serves with wounded hands, serve with you.

May our Lord Jesus Christ who loves with a wounded heart, love with you.

And may you see the face of Christ in everyone you meet.

And may the blessing of God the Father, God the Son,

and God the Holy Spirit be with you and remain with you always. Amen!”

—Borrowed from Assisting Priest Bill Ericson, Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, Gulf Shores, Alabama.

chapel c of p copy.jpg

It takes some time to realize how our own difficulties—or what Stuart Hoke would call our own darkness—can prepare us to minister to others as well as to connect to Christ. When our woundedness is redeemed and worked through, we are called to reach out to others who also have been wounded. It usually is not helpful or at all comforting to know this while we are being wounded, or while the wounds are still raw and open. But with time, our prayers can become to make it to the recovery room and to move from victim to survivor—and then eventually to become healers.

The scars do not go away, but are a reminder that we share these wounds with Christ and with the rest of a suffering world. I do eventually give this prayer to spiritual friends who are seeking answers to their unreasonable suffering. Over time, many will be able to connect their wounds to Christ. There are no easy answers; but it helps to realize that we are not alone, and that the God we are trying to connect to also knows about suffering. God suffers with us and beside us, and reaches out to us through God’s own wounds to offer connection and healing.

This wood and bronze sculpture by Gurdon Brewster is called Welcome Home and is in the Chapel of Saint Augustine of Hippo at the former Cathedral College of Preachers at the National Cathedral in Washington. For so many years this cross has been my image of the wounded Christ caring for us in our wounds and teaching us how to do the same.

We were so excited to learn that the College is being renovated and reopening to become a new educational center.


Stories when God shows up

“Like the unexpected call of a friend just when you need it most, grace arrives unannounced. A door opens. A path becomes clear. An answer presents itself. The right person walks into your life. These thousand silent streams, the movement of grace, weave through our lives, protecting, nurturing, supporting, transforming us from helpless to hopeful, giving us the tools to craft change, revealing a different future. Grace is the Spirit's art: each one designed uniquely, shaped to fit perfectly, given in beauty, received in wonder. Grace is what it feels like to be touched by God.” Bishop Steven Charleston Facebook Page.

Watching the Arkansas River Rise

Watching the Arkansas River Rise

Stories: Where God Shows up in your life

At St. Mark’s we are starting a weekly story in the Remarks and Bulletin sharing with each other when and how God shows up in our lives. Pentecost with the observance of the gift of the Holy Spirit is a great time to start this series. This is my recent story to begin our story time together.

Because of the massive and persistent rains in Oklahoma, our rivers, particularly the Arkansas River are surpassing previous flood stage levels. We all have friends who have left their homes because of the rising waters. Our family does live very close to the Arkansas River, but we live high above the river on an elevated ridge, so we should be safe.

In the last two days, I have received calls and emails from two friends I went to high school with on the east coast almost a thousand miles away. One lives in Winston Salem, North Carolina, and one lives in Richmond, Virginia. They both were concerned that we were displaced by the flood. One even suggested they would come and get us. These are friends from almost sixty years ago with whom we stay connected through occasional class reunions. Both my husband and I were moved to tears and were speechless by the love and concern of old friends from so many miles away. This is our most recent occurrence when God suddenly shows up in our lives.

It is important for us to share our God appearances with each other. When we feel lost, we must remember these stories about times God vividly takes on flesh and lives among us. We also need to encourage each other by sharing these stories of hope and love with our neighbors.

St. Mark's wants to hear from you about times God shows up in your life. Also, let us know if we may share your story with others.


Send stories to.