Inside Out

The movement of the spirit we remember at Pentecost may be a quiet presence longing for space in our lives. We often rightfully seek God’s presence from an external source but not notice the presence of spirit of God inside. I wonder if we miss this internal spirit because we think we need to be better people before we can receive the spirit. Or we are so damaged that we don’t deserve the spirit? Or we are so self-sufficient that we don’t need the spirit? No matter where or who we are, the spirit wants to be alive inside of each of us and hopes to find a way to enter.

Leonard Cohen’s song “Anthem” offers a picture of how the spirit may enter:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
There is an old India fable that shows how God’s spirit comes in through our internal cracks and flaws to use us for spreading beauty.
There once lived a water carrier in India. He used two large pots for his task. He suspended a pole across his neck and attached a pot at each end of the pole. One of the pots had a big crack in it while the other pot was perfect. The perfect pot delivered a full portion of water from the stream to the master’s house, while the cracked pot arrived only half full each day. For two years this water carrier made the same journey. The perfect pot became proud of his accomplishments. The cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfections and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

Finally, one day by the stream, the cracked pot spoke to his owner about his bitter failure, “I’m ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize that I have only been able to deliver half my water to the house. There is a crack in my side which causes water to leak out. Because of my flaws, you don’t get full value from your efforts.”

Then the water carrier replied, smiling, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” 

On the trip from the stream, the cracked pot looked around. The water carrier said, “Did you notice there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw and took advantage of it. I planted seeds on your side and every day while we passed these spots, you watered them. Without you just the way you are I would not have had beautiful flowers to grace this house.”

Rev. Jolene Bergstrom Carlson
Executive Director/President 

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