When the Spirit Comes by NT Wright.
There’s an old chorus which begins, ‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in his wonderful face’. That’s a great invitation, but sadly it goes on ‘and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.’ There is a truth in that, but actually in today’s gospel a very different note is sounded: when we look fully at Jesus, risen, ascended and glorified, and when Jesus sends his Spirit on his people, then the things of earth will be seen in a new, sharp and properly disturbing light. And instead of escaping from the world, retreating like an embarrassed chameleon to one colour-field only, we are sent into the world, not to take on its colour but to reveal the new combined reality of heaven and earth, to live in that reality – which we do in sacrament here, and in service outside – and to declare to the awkward and unready world that Jesus is Lord. Pentecost is the end of the great cycle of events that began with Advent; but it is of course the beginning of the new world, the world of God’s kingdom, of his combined heaven-and-earth reality, the world in which, by praise and prayer and prophecy, we are now called to live without embarrassment and to love without measure.