Polycarpic Pentecost


Searching for Pentecost resources, I came across this from Bruce Prewer in Australia,

"Polycarpic means (for those of you who are neither lovers of crossword puzzles nor experts in horticulture) repeated fruiting, producing fruits many times a year. The Holy Spirit is the prodigious Source, around us and within us, of multiple fruits. Fruits that abound both in and out of season. Polycarpic. The extravagant outpouring of Pentecost, as so graphically described in Luke’s second best seller, the Acts of the Apostles, reminds me how much our God goes over the top. Double ices the cake. Overfills the cup. Goes the second mile. Runs to meet the lost son. Forgives seventy times seven. This is true both at the level we call the “physical world” and in the personal world of the human mind and spirit. At both levels the Holy Spirit is polycarpic."

Pentecost is about the coming of the Holy Spirit, the fount of all fruitfulness, and Prewer’s reminder of the polycarpic nature of that fruitfulness is both encouraging and admonitory.

All of this reminded me of Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, in particular her chapter entitled, “Fecundity.”

"Down at the root end of things, blind growth reaches astonishing proportions. So far as I know, only one real experiment has ever been performed to determine the extent and rate of root growth, and when you read the figures, you see why…

The experimenters studied a single grass plant, winter rye. They let it grow in a greenhouse for four months; then they gingerly spirited away the soil – under microscopes, I imagine – and counted and measured all the roots and root hairs. In four months the plant had set forth 378 miles of roots – that’s about three miles a day – in 14 million distinct roots. This is might impressive, but when they get down to the root hairs, I boggle completely. In those same four months the rye plant created 14 billion root hairs, and those little strands placed end-to-end just about wouldn’t quit. In a single cubic inch of soil, the length of the root hairs totaled 6000 miles."

Fecund. Polycarpic. Fruitful. Prewer and Dillard have my attention. These are not just biological realities and wonders. This should be our language for spiritual realities and wonders.

In Acts 2, Luke records the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

"And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance."

Filled with the Holy Spirit.  Fire from heaven. Not consuming. But purifying, enlivening.  And tongues, languages, via the overflow of the fiery Spirit. Fruitfulness. Fecundity. Polycarpic.

"And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?  And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?  Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians – we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”

And perhaps even more impressive,

"And they devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who belived were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved."

Need we doubt that in Christ Jesus we have all the resources at our disposal for life, and that abundantly.  And how?  Because in him, we have the Holy Spirit, the fruitful One.  What has taken root in you, in Christ, is the fiery, living Spirit of God.  And thus, your life in Christ is polycarpic, fecund, fruitful.

Let us become what we are. Let us unfold what we have in Christ Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to the glory of the Father.