Breath of the Spirit: Getting Comfortable in Ourselves

All of us, perhaps especially those in the LGBTQ+ community, have felt uncomfortable in our own skin, or with our bodies, or our desires. This week’s celebration of the Holy Trinity reminds us that our goal is integration, to be one in ourselves even as God is One. In that sense, the work of the Spirit is to guide us to wholeness, the truth of our own beings. A journey that can be as un-comfortable as it is necessary.

 

June 12, 2022:  Trinity Sunday

Proverbs 8:22-31

Psalm 8:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

Romans 5:1-5

John 16:12-15

Getting Comfortable in Ourselves

A reflection by Ann Marie Szpakowska 

 

The Comforter

by Edwin Hawkins 1977

The Comforter will come.

The Comforter will come.

Jesus said, the Comforter will come.

He promised that the Comforter will come. 

And when (S)he comes,

(S)he will guide you into all truth. (2x)

 

Peace, I give you.

Joy, I leave with you.

Don’t be afraid.

Don’t be dismayed.

If I don’t go, (S)he will not come.

Come to comfort you.  OO!

If you love me.

Keep my commandments.

And I’ll pray the (Maker).

And (they) will send you another Comforter.

And (S)he will abide with you forever, forever.

 

The Comforter will come.

The Comforter will come.

Jesus said, the Comforter will come.

He promised that the Comforter will come. 

And when (S)he comes,

(S)he will guide you into all truth.

 

And if you love me.

Keep my commandments.

And I’ll pray the (Maker).

And (they) will send you another Comforter.

And (S)he will abide with you forever, forever.

The Comforter has come.

The Comforter has come.

Jesus said the Comforter has come.

He promised the Comforter has come.

And since (S)he’s come,

(S)he has guided me into all truth

The Comforter has come.

 And since (S)he’s come,

(S)he has guided me into all truth.

The Comforter has come.

Hear the original R & B recording here.

Edwin Hawkins, composer of the well-known Gospel hymn, “Oh Happy Day,” uses John 16:13, “But when (S)he comes, the Spirit of truth, (S)he will guide you to all truth,“ found in today’s gospel, as the text for his song, “The Comforter.” The dogma of the Blessed Trinity has produced some intense theological reflections over the centuries. Yet in the end, they all fall back into the arms of Mystery. The teaching challenges our minds, our hearts, and our intuitions. And in that challenge, it provides us with a glimmer of understanding because we too contain intellect, emotion, and instinct. In some sense we too are triune beings in the image and likeness of our Creator.

The readings for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity this year (Year C) appear to emphasize the Third Person of the Trinity, (aka, the Holy Spirit, the Breath of God, and the Comforter). Proverbs states “then was I beside (God) as (a) craftsman, and I was (God’s) delight day by day, playing before (God) all the while, playing on the surface of (the) earth; and I found delight in the human race.” Years ago, when I was a teenager, I attended chapel with the Sisters of Social Service who had special devotion to the Holy Spirit and wore a Dove instead of a cross. They often sang the music of Fr. Lucien Deiss. I recall the verse “recreate in us your own Spirit, (God).” Their emphasis, however, was not recreate as in “create again” but as in “play with us,” as found in recreation.  

The reading from Romans tells us that faith, peace, grace, hope, endurance, and character are gained “because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” How do we live this out in our Christian discipleship? I believe that we are called to fully integrated lives. Just as we see unity in the Trinity, we must strive to live lives in one accord with ourselves and each other. Our failure to do so leads to discord and strife in the Body of Christ. 

In that sense, the comfort that the Spirit offers us is in our own wholeness, the comfort of integration and authenticity. It is tempting to think of comfort as easy, warm, and cuddly – something akin to a warm blanket or a big bowl of soup on a cold night. But these readings suggest a comfort less like a cuddly Corgi and more like a clean conscience. The comfort of the Spirit is in the hard work of unity – caring for our fellow humans, listening to those with whom we disagree, acknowledging and embracing those parts of ourselves with which we are instinctively un-comfortable. The Spirit guides us into the truth of our whole selves. That journey may not always be comfortable, but when we can allow ourselves – all of us – to be seen and loved by God, we can rest in being known and loved as we are – a true comfort indeed!

 

Ann Marie Szpakowska has been active and in leadership of Dignity/Buffalo for nearly 40 years. She also participates in the Women's Caucus and has been an active contributor to Liturgical planning for Dignity's Conventions, Conferences and on Feminist Liturgy Committees over many years. She has presented workshops both locally and at Dignity Conventions.

She has also been a member of St. Martin de Porres parish since 4 inner city churches merged and built a new sanctuary in 1993. St. Martin de Porres is a predominantly African American community in Buffalo, New York.

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