A Poem for Pentecost


She Speaks a Language Not Our Own

Come, Holy Spirit, Come
we pray over and over again
expecting an answer
suitable for our sanctuaries
and comfortable for our souls
forgetting that she’s the one
who set holy heads afire
and blew away notions of
what ought to be

Come, Holy Spirit, Come
we pray once again
asking for blessings and affirmations
of our way of being and doing and believing
as we maintain our illusion of control
over the flow of God’s grace into the world
trusting our ways are holy ways
and the only right ways at that
all the while forgetting she’s the one
who blows where she wills

Come, Holy Spirit, Come
we pray yet again
expecting comfort and consolation
in our complicit pews
never minding the discomfort of our neighbors
or the cries arising in the night
forgetful of the days when
she hovered over creations waters
and called the world into being
more than what we know

Come, Holy Spirit, Come
we speak the words
seldom hearing their power
scarcely ever being still
long enough to see her
hear her feel her
remember her
as one who speaks a language
not our own

Come, Holy Spirit, Come
set our holy heads on fire
free us from foolish expectations
of rightness and rules
shatter our shallow beliefs
unfetter sacred visions of community
tied together in love and service
break open our fearful hearts
open our hands to receive the heartbroken
and the devastated ones in need of sanctuary
shake our sleeping souls
awaken us to your power
your presence
your holy ways

Come, Holy Spirit, Come
with wind
with fire
with whatever it takes
to teach us that new song
in a language not our own

RCL – Year A – Pentecost – June 4, 2017
Acts 2:1-21 or Numbers 11:24-30
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
1 Corinthians 12:3b-13 or Acts 2:1-21
John 20:19-23 or John 7:34-39

Photo: CC0 image by Holger Schue

By rachaelkeefe

Hi. I am a pastor, an author, a painter, and a poet. Find out more about all of my work, including spiritual direction and suicide prevention, on my website (

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