Fr Robert Warren
How do we change the world? Or do we ever change it? Maybe the world is a big stony thing which just "is" the way it is. We adapt to it. We wiggle around it. At our worst moments we don a pair of rose colored spectacles and delude ourselves about it.
The Day of Pentecost was a world changing moment for the early Church. The manifestations of the Spirit's movement - an audible sound of rushing wind and something like tongues of fire which appeared on the heads of each of the praying disciples - were matched by a change within them as they were suddenly equipped to minister within a world which had not, outwardly speaking, changed at all. Yet threat had now turned immediately to opportunity. The tendency to keep to themselves and protect the centre was now transformed. They turned to the world around them - a field ready for the harvest.
The world may be the way it is but the people who live in it can change.
They can come to themselves. They can undergo transformation. They can repent and be restored. They can renew their commitments. They can have epiphanies.
It is the experience of the Universal Church across the centuries that men and women who have been touched by an experience of God do transform the world around them. Much of what we now take for granted, in terms of structures of care within our societies, began with the spiritual changes which took place in individuals and communities whom God had touched and changed. The stone dropped into the pond made ripples. The wind moved the branches. There was an effect. It is my pastoral experience as a priest of the Church that the stony and immoveable world is a very different place when people develop a sense of purpose and develop a capacity to reach out to it in love.
The lives of those Pentecost disciples were rarely easy in the years which followed the events recounted in the Book of Acts.
The world, however, has never been the same.