In Germany, Pentecost (Pfingsten in German) is an official bank holiday, a federally recognized day off from work and school during which shops are closed and families tend to gather to celebrate or relax during the short respite. In the Christian world, Pentecost carries yet another meaning as well: it commemorates the “birthday of the church” 50 days after the celebration of Easter when, according to Acts 2, the Apostles received the Holy Spirit in physically manifested tongues fire.
Tonight, I saw such tongues of fire warp the wax of candles placed in the aisles of a church in Germany. Beneath each candle a note presented a message illuminated by the fire burning above, the only light in the cavernous midnight space. Some of the notes were as short as a few words; others, sentences long, series of questions, piercing remarks. Here are a few translated from the German.
Space of Silence
Who am I?
………….How many sides are there to me?
Which ones do I like?
………….Which do I not?
When was the last time you were really in love?
“We remain a secret to ourselves, but our life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3)
“In normal life one is not aware that the human being ultimately receives more as he gives, and that thankfulness before all else makes life rich. One is quick to overvalue his own works and deeds in his self-importance against those that one has accomplished only through [the help of] others.” –Dietrich Bonhoeffer
THE FEAR OF THE FUTURE PREVENTS THE LIFE IN THE PRESENT. GOD IS PRESENCE.
Comparing oneself to others is a great means to diminish one’s happiness.
Happiness often comes as a surprise.
Many people see their happiness in the future. Happiness is a way of seeing things. Happiness is when one sense that one is useful to others.
“Does happiness mean that one cares for the happiness of others? Happiness is when one is loved as one is. Happiness is when one rightly celebrates. Happiness is when one feels alive all around.” –Francois Lelord
Times of pain as times of love?….. We live in paradoxes
What were the happiest, thickest, richest times?
……………..What was given to me?
Where have I succeeded?
………..For what am I thankful?
Pfingsten kommt noch. I’m thankful to have stumbled across this place, (really I was invited in), because happiness does often come as a surprise, and the best times seem to be those sent with others upon whom our happiness depends, upon whom we depend for so much.
–From a church in Germany, in the presence of God, who is pure presence. Cum Caritate