Together in one place...

This week's blog is written by our (soon to be) parish curate, Lisa Whymark.

Dear Church Family,

This week has many reasons to celebrate, not only have restrictions eased this week allowing us to come together indoors and hug our families, but we also celebrate Pentecost this weekend.

Pentecost marks the end of the Easter season in the church calendar, and some say marks the birthday of the church. However, Pentecost already existed long before the time of Jesus and was one of three main feasts celebrated by the people of Israel. The word Pentecost means “fifty” (think of pentagon with five sides), and it occurs fifty days after the Feast of Passover which commemorates the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery and oppression and was a time to celebrate God’s blessings and provision.

This year as we celebrate Pentecost, alongside the advantage of being able to come together more freely, let us look around at the blessings we have received. It is apt that our first reading from Acts 2:1 says, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place,” at a time when we now can be together in one place, even if for the time being we are restricted to groups of six. In verse 9 we see that some people thought the disciples were “filled with new wine” because they were so overcome with the Spirit. At times this week I have felt as if I am overflowing with excitement and love for my friends and family as I re-connect with people and am filled with love for those around me.

We also opened the Daily Bread Café this week as restrictions relaxed and have welcomed friends and strangers back into church not just to fill up on food but also on love and hope! Our prayer before the café opens each day is to ask the Holy Spirit to fill each of so that we might share the love and hope of Christ to those who come through the doors.

Photo by Cullan Smith on Unsplash

In the Acts passage we read of a violent wind, divided tongues of fire, new abilities and bewilderment as the Holy Spirit was poured out. It is a passage that can raise more questions than answers but what is clear from the text is that the disciples were changed. They then go on to disciples amaze and astonish the gathered crowd as they spoke to them in the many languages present in the multi-national crowd. We may not all be able to speak different languages, but we can all be filled with the Holy Spirit and speak in ways that encourages others and brings the love of God to the many people who have contact with. We also know that these sudden changes didn’t just happen in isolation for the disciples. Throughout the gospels we read about how they often got things wrong, how they didn’t fully understand Jesus’ teaching and even let him down. The events of Pentecost led to a seemingly sudden change, but we also know that they were being prepared for greater works and mission and that their journey without Jesus being physically with them, was just beginning.

Change often comes about gradually and over time, even if there is an initial huge change or shift. We have seen many alterations over the last year or so, even with the huge initial transformation of our lives. There are still many more changes that will happen on our journey through life but being filled with the Holy Spirit will allow us to make those changes, because it nothing less that the very life of Christ living within each of us.

Christian Aid Week