Watercolour pattern of deep oranges and browns, with lighter colours at the sides. Text over the top: The Spirit declares (a poem for Pentecost, part inspired by the book of Hebrews)

The Spirit declares (a poem for Pentecost – part inspired by the book of Hebrews)

Last week I found out a friend was preaching on the book of Hebrews on the day of Pentecost (today). I mentioned that last year I’d written a poem for Pentecost that I was particularly proud of. He asked if it related to the topic of priests and priesthood, to which the answer was, “No, but maybe I will have one by this evening.”

I didn’t quite manage to finish the poem that day, but I did write one.

Skip to the poem.

There are a number of references and allusions to the Holy Spirit and the work of the Spirit in the book of Hebrews. 

In Heb 7:16, the author says that Jesus has become a priest not by regulation about physical descent, but “by the power of an indestructible life.” (NET) To me, this can only mean a life powered by the Holy Spirit.

In chapter 8, the author quotes Jeremiah 31:33 regarding the new covenant that God said he would make. “I will put my laws in their minds, and I will inscribe them on their hearts.” I often think of words of law as being “dead” in a sense. Like a manuscript for music, or a stage-play. For sure, it contains wisdom, but the law is not meant for tablets of stone. It is to be lived, just as much as music is to be played and theatre performed—and truly living the law is something that the Holy Spirit enables. To take another image of stone, in Ezekiel 36:26 God says that he will give his people a new heart, removing their heart of stone and giving them a heart of flesh.

In chapter 9 that author also says that with the segregation of the most holy place in the tabernacle and temple in the Old Testament, “The Holy Spirit is making clear that the way into the Holy Place had not yet appeared.” And of course, Jesus has opened up the way—for indeed, he is the way. If the blood and ashes of animal sacrifices provided ritual purity, “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.” In all this I find echoes of John’s gospel, where Jesus meets with the Samaritan woman as says that people will worship “in Spirit and in truth”. 

So anyway, all that was in the back of my mind as I wrote today’s poem. 

Happy Pentecost.


The Spirit declares

The Spirit declares, “The last days have come!”
Let thunder and fire awaken your tongue
That truth may be heard from old and from young,
And joy may be found in the last days that come.

The Spirit declares, “This One is God’s priest,”
Let him be enthroned who once was the least,
That all may have hope, from west to the east, 
And joy may be found in God’s great and high priest.

The Spirit declares, “The way is now shown,”
Let Spirit and truth bring life to these stones,
That hearts may know grace and justice may flow,
And joy may be found in the way God has shown.

Pictures by me. Made using Procreate.

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