There was a time when I found it pretty amazing – my Cisco LINKSYS Wireless-G 2.4Ghz broadband router. Yesterday, on the eve of Pentecost, it officially met the scrap heap.
I’m not even sure when I first put the gizmo into service…or took it out of service. I do know that it’s been gathering dust in my basement for several years, though – and that earned it a spot among the impressive pile of electronics we cast off as part of our burg’s “environmentally responsible recycling event.”
The same point could be made, I suppose, about several other items in my stack of to-be-recycled stuff: The Mac PowerBook 170, for instance. I recall being astonished to encounter its versatility and usefulness when I first powered it up in the early 1990s. But at some point, it stopped powering-up at all…so it too secured a niche in a dusty corner of my basement for many years.
Heck, I’m even old enough to remember when the fax machine was mind-blowing technology. And yeah: Had one of those tucked away somewhere in the trunk-load I schlepped to the “recycle event” yesterday.
The timing was fortuitous. Less than an hour before, you see, I’d been gathered in an upstairs room with a handful of other men from my parish — in our weekly “Sunday scripture” faith-sharing group. We’d been talking about today’s readings — in particular, the passage from Paul’s letter to the Galatians where he lists the gifts of the Holy Spirit:
…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
One of the guys mentioned how he thought they were pretty cool, those gifts — and best of all, they were “free”! There’s no law against ‘em…so they don’t come laden with guilt or sanctions like the other behaviors on Paul’s list. And I noted that, in fact, we all possessed them. They’d been given to us (in some cases, many years ago) when we’d each received the sacrament of Confirmation.
Amazing things, these gifts of the Spirit. With power and efficacy far beyond a wireless router, or a fax machine, or even a PowerBook 170. But it occurred to me, as I waited in line at the recycling event, how we often let dust gather on these gifts. How we tend to tuck them away, unused, in a gloomy corner of our lives.
What better day than Pentecost, then, to haul them out into the light — and fire ‘em up for a reboot? Who knows? We might even find that they still work…and that they truly do have the power to change the world.
Come, Holy Spirit!
Happy birthday, Church!
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.