We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Being faithful to Christ can be frustrating. Occasionally we will see a glimpse of something that looks like the kingdom of God, only to have it recede or fade. We will try and hang onto that glimpse, that feeling, that image. It might even seem that we have arrived and that is all there is to be found. Yet these words from Paul powerful. We are waiting for the birth of a new creation. And that is painful, and awkward and slow.
Being male I have only observed child-birth. It’s a way of waiting for something to happen that has always left me exhausted. I know that it will end and that it will be wonderful, but in the moment as I see the struggle, pain and chaos, everything feels out of control. Feeling useless I would talk to my wife and encourage her to breathe, as I was taught to. And that act of breathing together brought some sense of support and direction as we were carried along on that ancient journey. And life begins.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.
Pentecost is a time when we remember that the Spirit of God, God’s breath, sustains, powers and draws us on our journey of faith. And life begins. Again.