|Molly T. Marshall|
St. Ignatius of Loyola sent people on mission with this instruction: “Go, set the whole world on fire and in flame.” Fueling destruction was not on his mind. He had already seen enough of the travesty of war, having been seriously wounded in the Battle of Pamplona in 1521. Rather, he was concerned with fomenting desire for God and passion for the gospel. History tells us that his Society of Jesus was an ardent mission movement, proclaiming grace and forgiveness in places newly discovered in the 16th century.
Stirring into flame this “holy longing” to love God and serve expansively depends upon receptivity to the Spirit of God. It is the Spirit within who wills to work through us for God’s good purposes. Yet, many Christians regard the listing ways of the Spirit with suspicion, perhaps because we can never control holy presence.The celebration of Pentecost is gaining ground among Baptists as we become more acquainted with the rhythms of the Christian year. Wearing hues of orange and red, hearing Scripture read in several languages, viewing moving streamers, reminiscent of wind, flames and tongues, will add a rather exotic touch to worship this coming Sunday. The more liturgical pastors will wear their bright red stoles, looking combustible as they seek once more to describe the coming of the Spirit.........Anywhere persons are growing in generosity, as St. Ignatius prayed, to “give without counting the cost.” Anywhere persons are laboring without expecting any reward other than to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Is God’s Spirit as active today as in the early fervor of proclaiming the resurrected Lord? Yes, if we are willing to make room for the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God present with us, transforming us to live into the patterns of resurrection so that our hearts burn within us for the sake of the world as we travel in Christ’s company. Come Holy Spirit; set our hearts on fire.