Que the guitar rift, bring on the base, and hear those words drip from Mick Jagger’s lips, “I can’t get no, satisfaction.”
Some of you will find themselves transported back to February 13, 1966, when the Rolling Stones appeared on, “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Others have images of a record, cassette, or (gasp) an 8-track in your parents’ music collection. For me, I most likely found the song while scrolling through the radio listening for something catchy. But no matter how you discovered the song, it is hard not to find yourself captivated by it.
While this is true because of that unforgettable opening rift, there is something in the lyrics that also resonates. Birthed in an era the song taps into disgruntlement with both the post-World War II suburbanization and commercialization of America, as well as the sexual frustration amid the sexual revolution. The old way did not bring satisfaction, and the new way seems to be missing something as well.
So what does all this have to do with Pentecost Sunday, a day the church celebrates the giving of the Holy Spirit?
Satisfaction in Seeing God
In John 14 Phillip, one of Jesus’ disciples, says, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” If you are exhausted by the patriarchal interpretations that so often come with calling God Father, Phillip could have just as easily said the “Lord, show us the Creator, and we will be satisfied.” or, to use a term that God first used to describe Eve but then self-embraces throughout the rest of Scripture, “Lord, show us the Helper, and we will be satisfied.”
I wonder where Phillip is coming from here.
Maybe he thinks that Jesus is only half the divine story, something we often wrestle with between the “wrathful God” and the “loving Christ.” If this is true, it could be that he wants to see the full picture. Satisfaction here is knowing he has the full picture.
Or is he struggling to believe that the Creator and the God Jesus called Father are the same? I know I spent a long time struggling to believe that God was as good as Jesus declared. He wants the satisfaction of knowing Jesus is not tricking him with a bait and switch presentation of God.
Then again, maybe he just knows that those who can’t get no satisfaction will find peace once they have seen God. This could be an early version of Augustine of Hippo’s, “Our heart is restless until it rests in you.” What he has yet to figure out is that seeing Jesus is the same as seeing God.
In the Fullness of God
Whatever the case, Phillip knows he is missing something and satisfaction will not come until he discovers that missing piece. How much more is this true for us. After all, we do not get to see God. Nor do we have Jesus walking around the earth with us. So what are we to do?
Pentecost tells the story of the coming of the Spirit. The third person of the Trinity points us to Jesus and Christ’s relationship with God. To make more sense of this, here is me talking about God at The Sanctuary in Denver:
In the end, what could be more satisfying than an invitation to sit at the divine table and bask in divine love?