Sunday, May 23, 2010


I took off the rumpled linen blouse, folded the long red scarf, left the shoes at the foot of the stairs. Pentecost Sunday is about over, and if I were somewhere in the middle of a good book, I'd be in bed nodding off with that book. It is so much easier to read than to reflect. 

The female cardinal appeared in the tree outside my kitchen window this morning. She flashed her brown-red color here and there, sideways on the branch. The movement caught my eye. She is not bright startling red like her mate, but still red and regal from top to tail. She feeds in a tree, and I suspect, nests in the forsythia bush.

I had a bright red dress once, close-fitting, scarlet. I was in a show at the time, playing Sally Bowles in Cabaret. My body was on display that spring, especially on stage. The red dress was not in the show, but still it said, Look at me, I'm bright and not afraid to be looked at. I sewed a red satin dress that spring, too, with spaghetti straps and not much room for a bra underneath. But worn on me, rather than on a character, I didn't know how to bring it off. I felt conspicuous and awkward.

I cannot imagine myself in a red dress now. The red scarf was about as much red as I could wear on this May mid-life day. Red for the fire of Pentecost. Red for the Holy Spirit--that person of the Triune God often pictured as a white dove. Go figure.

The preacher at the cantata this afternoon used the pronoun "she" for the Holy Spirit. I like that, more because it's startling than inclusive. How do you picture rushing wind and Spirit moving on the waters? How do you recognize truth and wisdom, creativity and the fire of love? Does the Spirit wear red sometimes--red of blood, red of passion?  Red that suffers and celebrates.

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