Rev Chris update for 23rd May
It has been an interesting week in the news with ongoing uncertainty relating to the Indian variant of COVID 19 and how that might impact the date that we are all looking to at the end of June. Then there has been the controversy with the BBC and the interview with Diana from 1995. The ‘good news’ of the week has been the ceasing of hostilities between Israel and Palestine – there are hugely complex issues at stake in that part of the world that impact us all in one way or another, all the more poignant for the fact that it is a meeting point of the three major monotheistic religions of Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
With Christianity in mind, this Sunday is a significant day as it is the time in the Christian Calendar called PENTECOST and is often considered to be the birthday of the church. The disciples that have followed Jesus for the last three years sit waiting for something to happen. Their leader has been crucified, has resurrected from the dead and has subsequently returned to the heavenly realm (the Ascension – as I mentioned last week).
So, they wait. What for? Jesus has promised them that God as Holy Spirit will come upon them. From the ancient times, and scriptures, they would have known of the Holy Spirit inspiring specific individuals to do God’s work in specific ways – but here there is the promise of a much greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and it is going to start with them.
And so, we come to Pentecost (from the Greek ‘Pentekostos, meaning 50 – in this case 50 days from Easter). The biblical account of this outpouring gives an extremely dramatic picture of a violent wind blowing through the house where they waited and then of tongues of fire coming to rest on each of them. The outworking of all of this is that those disciples were full of inspiration to go out into the world, and proclaim Jesus as saviour for the world, and did so at significant risk to themselves.
The key word here is ‘inspiration’. God’s Holy Spirit is very much the inspiration for the faith we have, working through us and with us, and, despite our fears and failings, to continue that work begun all those years ago. That is what we celebrate this coming Sunday.
Happy Pentecost – Come Holy Spirit, come.
Spirit of God, forming, moving, reshaping, we welcome your life-giving presence.
Renew us, your church, we pray: replenish us where sorrow has depleted us;
liberate us where restrictions have left us feeling confined;
set us on our feet, to walk confidently into the future you have prepared for us.
Lead us out, we pray: to speak boldly, to act justly and to love your world extravagantly.