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Imprecise or overuse of words enervates meaning and jettisons them to dry-bone heaps. In my perception, one such bloodletting happened to the word spirit, heard resounding through entertainment venues, pep clubs, airlines, even enmeshed with the word love: Its demise, related to evil’s persuasive manipulation that de-humanizes and frustrates psycho-social growth—all fostered by social media and corrupt leaders.

Even more drastic is the evisceration of the Holy Spirit from the Triune presence that stirs the history of creation, depicted in the Old and New Testaments, and the evolution of humankind recorded in history.

Yet, today some Christians, with full hearts, will observe Pentecost, the gift of the Holy Spirit, as narrated in the Acts of the Apostles: Seven weeks from Jesus’s passion, death, and resurrection, His disciples received this gift in tongues of fire, observable in glossolalia and universal language.

A parallel to this outpouring is found in Exodus, the Feast of Pentecost or Weeks that recounts the Israelites’ offering the first-fruits of their harvest to God, seven weeks after their arrival in the Promised Land and then, receiving the blessing.

Both stories focus upon the unobtrusive influence of the Holy Spirit, evidenced by humility and willingness to serve.

Yet, half-emptied churches scar what used to be enthusiastic milieus for worship. One pastor noted: the lack of deep listening and the failure to believe in the Holy Spirit underlay this malaise. No matter—the Fire-Power is still operating and inspiring the likes of me as I move through each twenty-four hours with other believers.

In the ancient world, potsherds, the broken remains of pots, corresponded to today’s nuisance of plastic; like plastic, the sherds were everywhere, either discarded by their owners or left in the aftermath of wars or natural disasters.

Once broken and patched, the pot could only store dry goods. Water, wines, oils, critical to sustain life, demanded intact vessels.

It should be no surprise that the commonplace sherd was often used metaphorically in the bible in its negative sense. In the book of psalms, we find:

My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.

The image is also found in the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, the book of Proverbs. Even Job took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.

But ancients also used sherds in a positive sense: to write prophetic texts and messages, to carry hot coals from one house to another, to dip water from springs or cisterns, and to cover cooking pots or storage jars.

The image of the ancient potsherd suggests the global upheaval instigated by Vladimir Putin—Its brokenness sears. Horrific gaming fills the media; killing and maiming and death leave bloody footprints and ravaged spirits; the Face of Evil leers.

Eleven days into Putin’s murderous invasion of Ukraine evidences, in my perception, the power of prayer-sherds hurled into the Universe: small, insignificant on the surface, but effective in spiriting its people, under siege, and slowing down the enemy’s tactics.

Will Ukraine become another broken pot? Become sherds for political analysis?

It’s about air-borne diseases and the air we breathe. It’s about actualizing our birthright. It’s about staying well—and it’s been going on for years, spawning opaqueness in the psyche. Listlessness, confusion, even panic, estrange relationships and distort reality. Flailing for the once-familiar ends—disease has taken its place, and in its wake: fear, suspicion, and incalculable stress.

In my perception, such a scenario exists among us. Pestilence, the fourth rider in the Book of Revelation, still sits astride his pale horse spreading disease and mayhem. There appears no way of suppressing his evil intent, recently targeting planet Earth with the volcanic eruption near Tonga.

But we are not alone. The Psalmist reminds us that Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (119:105) Interfacing with the power of this word in our psychic depths requires prayer, discernment, and rebuilding community with the like-minded. The guidance comes, if we ask.  

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