Happy Birthday

Did you watch the wedding? I have to admit that I wasn’t that excited about it all but I did watch it. I also have to admit that I was amazed by the address given by the Bishop Michael Curry. I think it was unlike any message that has been given in any ‘official’ service in the U.K. This was for a number of reasons but mainly the animation and passion. He spoke so passionately about love, and the power of love, not just romantic love, but the love of God and how that love could and should be reflected in our lives. To imagine what the world would be like if we all lived and acted in love.

This week we celebrate Pentecost which is, essentially the birthday of the Church. After Jesus resurrected he spent 40 days with his disciples before ascending to heaven. He gave them instructions that they should wait until God sent the gift that had been promised of the Holy Spirit which would enable them to share the good news all over the world. The disciples did this and on the day of Pentecost a wind came in to the house where they were staying and they were filled with the spirit. This spirit enabled the disciples to have the confidence to leave the house, to speak in languages so that others could understand them. They were able to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection and this is how the Church started.

What does this mean for us? John Stott said

“We do not need to wait for the Holy Spirit to come. He came on the day of Pentecost. He has never left the Church”

When Jesus ascended to heaven he told the disciples to wait for the spirit to come, but there is no longer any need for us to wait. The spirit is here, and can fill us and enable us. The Holy Spirit enables us to do God’s work, it gives us strength and courage, it comforts us. It enables us to show love when it may be the last thing we feel like.

With birthdays we have a tendency to celebrate on the day, or maybe the surrounding days, but we don’t tend to celebrate our existence every day. I think it can be the same with the Holy Spirit. We tend to focus on the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and can have a tendency to focus on the other two members of the trinity – the Father and the Son. Yet what John Stott reminds us and challenges us with our thought for the week is we don’t have to wait for Pentecost to be filled with the Holy Spirit, yes it’s a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the sending of the Spirit. BUT the Spirit is there, if we choose to be filled by it. Remember those fruits of the spirit? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Imagine a world where everyone was filled by the spirit and showing those fruits! The disciples had been living with Jesus who showed these fruits all the time, how were they meant to live up to that example? Through the Spirit.

Prayer: Father God, in this week when we remember Pentecost we thank you for sending your spirit so that we can share your story, show your love, live your word. Fill us with your spirit we pray. Amen

Challenge: look at the list of the fruits of the spirit again. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Is there one you feel you need more help with?

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