Tomorrow is Pentecost. It is the day that we Churches celebrate the day that God poured out the Holy Spirit across humanity, founding the church and beginning the creeping reality of the kIngdom.
To celebrate such a blessing, churches from all over the entire geographical width and breadth of Ireland have come together to send out a message of hope and vision and grace.
These past few months have been tough times for very many people across our island. There has been anxiety, fear, frustration and a lot of disorientation and confusion, never mind the death toll and grief.
In the midst of the darkness there have been little candles of light flickering. The environment has had a breather. We have met our neighbours. We have started to value our doctors, nurses and hospital cleaners. We have reassessed what is important.
Maybe the Irish Blessing is a blessing across Ireland before the song itself is even heard. For centuries our churches have been guilty of being the slowest to get over the Reformation and Counter Reformation wars. They were centuries ago, for goodness sake. Most every other country is over it.
We have remained cold to one another playing out theological sectarianism in our churches while politicians play it out in elections and paramilitaries play it out on the streets.
Before I even got to hear the Irish Blessing I was blessed by having a long glance across the hundreds of churches who took part. All the main denominations and a wide array independent churches come together in harmony, working together to bless rather than divide the island. Might it be saying in the performances beautiful grace notes that the war is over.
Listen to the wonder of the music. The short few minutes of the video belies the hours and days of work that has gone into the planning, scoring, playing, recording, editing and mastering.
Listen to the words of this old Irish hymn, one of Ireland’s greatest pieces of poetry, music and spiritual insight. Allow it to be wash over your soul. Send it out over our cities, towns, villages and town lands. Let it wash over the land.
On that first Pentecost morning, the disciples were holed up in lockdown, frightened and wondering how it would end. In that dark place God blew the walls off with blessing.
On this Pentecost morning, all of us in lockdown and unable to meet in our churches, listen to the fact that for these few moments of the Irish Blessing, as the churches yearned to bless the island, we blessed ourselves by not only singing these words but by listening to them and living them out… all together.
Now that is a blessing!
It goes live here tomorrow morning at 9.45 - The Irish Blessing 2020