Sunday, May 23, 2021

Jesus and Galilee

Acts 2:1-13

When the day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs-- in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power." All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "What does this mean?" But others sneered and said, "They are filled with new wine."

John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15

Jesus said to his disciples,” When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason, I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.


I have a strange mantra that I sometimes say to myself: “Jesus and Galilee.” This mantra has always represented the times in my life when I have realized that you just can’t go home. Sometimes when working in a new field, the people that have known you the longest continue to look at you through the lens they had of you as a younger, less experienced person. Sometimes these are the hardest people to convince of your newfound knowledge and usefulness. 

It is those that often love us that want us to always remain that same person they fell in love with so long ago.  Our parents, spouses, siblings, childhood friends, children, and early colleagues sometimes do not recognize growth.  This happened to Jesus when he first returned to Galilee.  People thought of him as a young child that ran off to the temple.  They are doing the same with the disciples today on Pentecost.  Sometimes you have to leave home to make a new start with new people that are not judgmental based on your past, as the disciples did moving forward with their preaching.  In the Episcopal church those entering clergy must leave their home parishes for this reason.

To me this is an overlooked part of Pentecost.  Sometimes others don’t see what is obvious growth.  Sometimes we don’t see the obvious growth either. Sometimes space is needed. This ‘Spirit of Truth’ is there waiting to be discovered but sometimes it takes time.

My story of call was mystical.  I was walking on a labyrinth at the Episcopal summer camp I attended as a child.  I was there six years ago as a presenter at a Daughter’s of the King (women’s) retreat. I presented yoga, mainly in chairs, for this mixed age group.  It was well received. At the conclusion of the retreat, I took a little time for myself to walk the newly installed labyrinth.  I was wearing a red scarf and it was very windy on that day. I walked and thought about my life. At one point I took a hairpin turn in the labyrinth and my scarf blew off one side and land on me in the configuration of a deacon’s stole. At the time I took this to mean I was being called to the clergy.  But after much personal discernment, or Svādhyāya, and further discernment with my parish it was decided that clergy was not my call.  Instead, I was called to be the best yoga therapist I could be.  I didn’t see my own obvious growth, what I had just done at the retreat, and my own Spirit of Truth.  My own personal Galilee blinded me to the truth of my life.  I have continued this journey as a yoga therapist but sometimes I still have moments of Galatian blindness to my own abilities, and the abilities of others.  As well as experiencing this unrecognized growth when others that have known me a long time look at me through a lens I’ve outgrown. All we can do at these times is recognize what is happening and find compassion. Then maybe we can move forward in a way that serves us best.

Image © Lars Justinen at


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