Sunday, 8 June 2014

Can't Make it to church? - June 8

Today we celebrate Pentecost - that day when, with so many gathered for the feast, the promise of the Holy Spirit was made real as the believers, together in one place and as one in unity, were filled.

The sadness is that so many look at this even as a 'then' when what we should be celebrating is the anniversary of the 'now' in which we find ourselves for the presence of the Holy Spirit, His indwelling is not something historic (unless of course you're what we call 'cessationalist' and think it's ended). Perhaps this is why so many people struggle as they seek to do stuff in their own strength rather than in the anointing and appointing of God!

I found this rather splendid cartoon this morning;

How many of us are finding reasons to obstruct rather than embrace the Holy Spirit I wonder? Perhaps not in the more obvious ways that the cartoon above shows but in little ways that lolok to our being sinners (which we are) or weak (which we are) or lazy (which we can be) or . . . . or  . . . or!

Regardless of who, where or what you are this morning, the power of the Holy Spirit is up for grabs - so put your hands up and receive Him. Ask God to fill you with His presence and to open your spiritual ears, ears and tongue and let Him rush over you like the waves did when you were a child.

This is what Pentecost is about - the ability to make everything supernaturally natural to, and for, and through us. Take a moment to read the account in the Acts passage below and reflect on how they felt - Jesus having died, risen and ascended and what this meant for them and the world they inhabited as all could hear of Jesus, the Christ, in their own language (and situation).

Why not invite Him into your life today to refresh enable and bring healing and peace?

Holy Spirit, sent by the Father, ignite in us your holy fire;
strengthen your children with the gift of faith,
revive your Church with the breath of love,
and renew the face of the earth, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Acts 2.1-21
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’ But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

'In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness  and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.  Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Numbers 11.24-30
So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord; and he gathered seventy elders of the people, and placed them all around the tent. Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again.

Two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. And a young man ran and told Moses, ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.’ And Joshua son of Nun, the assistant of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, ‘My lord Moses, stop them!’ But Moses said to him, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!’ And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

John 7.37-39
On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.” ’ Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Post Communion Prayer
Faithful God,
who fulfilled the promises of Easter by sending us your Holy Spirit and opening to every race and nation the way of life eternal:
open our lips by your Spirit, that every tongue may tell of your glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

1 comment:

JonG said...

At the end of this morning's service, one of the wardens came forward and told us of an image that had come to him during the sermon - a piece of coal, maybe with some attractiveness, but dark, dirty and opaque, but which, in the right conditions, can be transformed into diamond - clear, transmitting, reflecting and spreading a light shone on it. A metaphor for the transforming power in us of the Holy Spirit. But it was the fact that such an image of dark and light had come to a man who has been blind since birth that I found wholly in keeping with the message of Joel.