On Pentecost Sunday – Leighton reflects on a T.S. Eliot poem
T.S.Eliot wrote the following words in Little Gidding (a small village near Cambridge) as part of his Four Quartets in 1942, when England was three years into terrible war.
What he wrote then speaks to me today – on Pentecost Sunday – in our war- and conflict- riven world.,
“The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre-
To be redeemed from fire by fire.
Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.”
What else can save us from the fire of hatred and evil, or dulled consciences, but another descending of the dove?
Come Holy Spirit, today, to me, to us, to your people throughout the world. Redeem us from fire by your fire.