T S Eliot's poem Little Gidding, the last of his Four Quartets, makes me breathless by its beauty and the simplicity with which he writes profound things.
This little hymn to the Holy Spirit captures well the paradoxes of the coming of the Holy Spirit. Gentle (a dove) and fiery, redeeming us from hellfire only in the consuming holy fire of his own presence. Terrifying and redeeming. For Love himself has worn our hell (and still bears the scald). The way is open, and we can walk in - to a new fire.
At a time when our church is being freshly called to apostolic passion - to burn with the Spirit's fire - I find these words inspiring. T S Eliot was part of a very different church to mine, but his poetry - and prophecy - speak at the level of the shared heart of all who love our Christ and his burning Spirit.
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.