Thoughts from the Vicarage 31st May.
Pentecost – Acts 2. 1-21; 1 Corinthians 12.1-13
When you read about or think of the Holy Spirit what do you see, a person or a presence? Is the Spirit too difficult to imagine, a force to be feared or an ever- present friend, sometimes called “the comforter”. In the late 20th century the work of the Holy Spirit became a subject of much discussion as Christians debated the power of the Spirit flowing through the church in a way not experienced for centuries.
In this week’s Church Times newspaper an article about the work of the Spirit
opens with these words –
“The dove symbolizes the peace and harmony into which the spirit leads us. The tongues of fire speak of his refining power reminding us that his peace and harmony are the product of a process which disturbs and challenges us…”
I am guessing that many of us have felt disturbed and challenged through the eleven weeks since we were last able to meet together in St Mary’s.
If we have felt “locked out” of church then we should also recall how the friends of Jesus may have felt “locked down”. They were waiting and living in the hope of the final promise that Jesus gave to them – “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you”. We could say it is harder for us than it was for the disciples, they were only “locked down” for seven weeks – but that would be unfair!
Since starting to write for this weekend more revised guidelines have been issued by the government. It’s hard to keep up with them but there is new information about back into the church gardens and grounds. Marjorie and Sue are discussing these and we should know more very soon.
I am reminded of some words from George Herbert’s hymn –
“Let all the world in every corner sing” –
The Church with psalms must shout,
no door can keep them out (on in!)”.
Acts chapter 2 gives a vivid account of the disciples’ experience of the Holy Spirit’s arrival. The sound of a violent wind and the tongues of fire must have been both terrifying and thrilling. Then came the ability for the disciples to be able to speak in many tongues so that the crowds could all hear and understand the words of life being passed on to them. Around 10-15 years later and c.1000 miles west the young church in Corinth was being taught by St. Paul how to use the new spiritual gifts they had received and become more faithful followers of Jesus. We each have different God given gifts. Let us pray this week that may know how to use these as we continue to grow in faith.
Revd Jonathan Watkins
God, who as at this time
taught the hearts of your faithful people
by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit:
grant us by the same Spirit
to have a right judgement in all things
and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort;
through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.