Wednesday, 14 May 2008

The cosmic Spirit of God - a sermon by Rogate Mshana

On Tuesday morning my colleague Rogate Mshana who heads the WCC's economic justice work preached a wonderful Pentecost sermon on the cosmic ever-present Spirit. In the written version there are unfortunately fewer of his wonderful jokes and asides - laughter and humour being a gift of the Spirit too perhaps. Just a reminder that reading a sermon can never replace the live experience (I know, I know just a pastor's attempt to get folk to go to church!)

Anyway here are some extracts from Rogate's passionate Pentecost preaching:

"I believe that women understand better than men the power of the Holy Spirit, because they are in themselves an embodiment of God’s Creation, from whom by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was born. When my non-Christian neighbour milks a cow early in the morning she always places the first drops of milk into her mouth and then spits this into the sky in the four directions - North, South, East and West - to thank the Spirit or the creator for the blessing of life that she finds in the milk. I call this the Cosmic Spirit."

"This is the same Spirit which prompts an Indian woman to apologize to the tree for taking a lemon fruit during the night because guests have come and the tree is expected to sleep without disturbance. Or when my mother prays after planting beans to ask for the creative germinating power from God. I call this the Spirit of all living things. It is the same Spirit which prompts women in the Amazon to embrace trees and the Cochabamba people struggling against privatization of water to engage in active non-violent resistance. I call this the Spirit of respecting common goods. It is the same spirit that leads Bishop Desmond Tutu to initiate the Peace and Reconciliation Commission as a solution to the legacy of apartheid. This I call the Spirit of Reconciliation."