PentecostPentecost brings unexpected blessings … to say the least! On Sunday I went to church with my family and one of the threads in the sermon was about how the Spirit is especially close to us during those times when we feel broken. With the Spirit close by, breathing within us, we can find new life! Such a powerful message considering that these words were spoken before a church community who had lost its home in the 2008 floods in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and had for 2 years worshipped in several different places until a new home was found in late 2010.

Here’s what really blew me away. In the midst of the sermon, Simon my two-year-old nephew, who had been playing intensely with his new John Deere truck and must have heard the word “broken” a dozen times, looked up and said, “Broken.” It was terribly cute. But then he looked over to his father (my brother) and said, “Da-da fix?”

Simon (who was named after Simon Peter) had it totally right. He heard Scripture proclaimed, he heard the message, and he got it. He knew that his dad could fix whatever brokenness was being talked about because he’d experienced his dad’s handiwork before. My brother is an engineer and is a master at bringing broken or misfit toys, gadgets, and other random items to new life.

As Simon so aptly pointed out, you and I each have the responsibility of being part of the new life that is to emerge from our brokenness — our personal brokenness and our common brokenness. “Fixing” doesn’t mean slapping on some glue or painting over the problem; rather, it means being open to new life. If this church community had tried to glue and paint over their church building that had sat for days in a flood, it would have been in vain for all the destruction that had taken place. They grieved but did not remain in that space or place for long as they opened themselves to the Spirit who had drawn close indeed.

As Pentecost washes over us, consider what it means to be broken in your own life and also in our world. What does it mean for you to allow the Spirit to draw near and to be open to new life?