Full Web Site

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK 10    PENTECOST

Today May 31st we celebrate the Festival of Pentecost. It is also known as Whitsun, or White Sunday. It is the birthday of the Christian church for it is when the disciples, no longer afraid, began to go out and to spread the word of Jesus and to do many wonders and to see many miraculous signs. They received the Holy Spirit and were empowered. Peter started it all off with his amazing sermon (Acts ch 2 v 14-40) in which he confidently preached about Jesus as fulfilling Old Testament Prophecy and being the one who they should follow. He urged his listeners to start again to repent and to be baptised.

In Jewish tradition Pentecost celebrates the time when God gave his people the Law, it is also when all the fruits of God's creation are celebrated, a kind of Harvest. This was why the Jews were gathered in Jerusalem from so many different places and yet they heard the disciples speaking in their own tongues.  The uniting power of the Holy Spirit.

When I first came to live in Middlesbrough I was invited by some people I knew, to go to the home of Patrick Hinton (of grocery fame) for a church service one Sunday morning. It was full of young people and very friendly I was welcomed and made to feel part of the church family. As the service got under way people began to speak in tongues, others would interpret what they were saying, there was the laying on of hands and healing. I was, rather anxious at what I was witnessing here as I had read about the gifts of the Spirit, preached about them, but this was the first time I had ever witnessed them at close quarters. I have to admit I did find it a little disturbing. The people who witnessed the disciples receiving the Spirit accused them of being drunk!!

So what are we to make of this?  It is all very well preaching a social ministry that's quite straightforward, but as I said last week, what about a conversion ministry, a spiritual ministry? We say Pentecost is the birthday of the Christian church  but look at what those first recipients of the Holy Spirit did Acts ch 2 v 42-47. They devoted themselves to prayer, to the Apostles' teaching and the breaking of bread. The believers were all together and sold their possessions to give to anyone in need. At this present time we can't be together or break bread as a community, although our passage says they broke bread in their homes.

This whole story of Pentecost makes us look again at what we really believe. God gives us the gift of the Spirit and if we accept, our lives, even in these hard times, can be transformed. We can feel renewed and recreated. As people of God, the church, we can continue to do good things even though it may be a while before we meet together to worship.

If Pentecost is the birthday of the Christian church then maybe this time of being away from traditional church, may help us to review how we should be living and working together. To think about our priorities and what we should be doing to spread God's word can be part of our Pentecost empowerment and renewal.

Do we speak in tongues or prophecy or heal? Paul in 1 Corinthians ch 13 reminds us of the gifts but also tells us the most important of all the gifts is Love.

As we keep on moving forward, we pray that our love for each other and our faith in the power of God's Holy Spirit may help us and reassure us in all we do.

The hymn I have chosen for today is. STF 409 'Let us build a house where love can dwell'. Look especially at v.4. A church we celebrate inside and outside the building, but where all are welcome.

Keep praying and keep safe.

Dave Elliott

Thought For The Week 10  Pentecost

Thought for the week - compiled