I awake early this morning. The sky is lightening, just enough to show contrast with the dark form of the trees. I can’t yet see anything with clarity, but it is clear that day is coming. It will be another startlingly hot day, but for now I can enjoy the coolth of the predawn forest, resting in peace.

Then one single note breaks the stillness. “Alert. (pause) Alert. (pause) Alert, alert, alert. Day is here. Awake, awake, awake!” A solitary sentinel calls the world to prayer.

Another replies, then a third, then a growing chorus. Some voices I recognize, like steadfast Chickadee and persistent Titmouse. Owls call in the distance. Wood Thrush joins in, and a croaky Veery, as though he is just learning the song. Perhaps he is. Woodpeckers pound drumbeats back and forth, resounding through the forest. Sapsucker raps on the chimney cap. Raven passes over, adding a mystical bottom.

It is morning in church. Again. It happens every day. What a miracle! Thank God.

The feast of Pentecost is coming on Sunday — that mysterious celebration of Voice when, the tradition tells us, the Holy Spirit comes to animate the world. Again. In the beginning, a wind from God blew over the face of the deep. By that wind/breath/voice, the world was created. At Pentecost, the 50th day since the Resurrection of Christ, we celebrate the Voice coming back, harbinger of a new creation.

We proclaim this on Pentecost, every year. The birds proclaim it every day.

Jesus, so the story tells us, is giving humanity a new start. We hadn’t done as well as the creator had hoped, the first time around. So Jesus comes and teaches us the ways of Love, jumpstarting a second go-round. On my better days I think we’re making progress, but it’s easy to lose faith.

The birds remind me.

I received a note from a friend this morning, perfectly timed: “He trusted in God; let him deliver him. Let him rescue him, if he delights in him.” You will recognize these words from Psalm 22, thrown as taunts to Jesus on the cross. Yet even there, he was not alone.

There is a mystery of Love that is far greater than we are, holding us even in our darkest hours. Just before dawn, a single Voice calls in the forest. A new day begins. Praise God!

From the poustinia,