Reflection for Sunday 31st May 2020
This is Pentecost - we celebrate it as the church’s birthday! Why is that? Well it was the day that the Spirit came in spectacular form to, first of all, the disciples and then to about 3,000 who committed to believe in Jesus Christ. This way the first group was formed to take out the Good News of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth! We, who have professed our belief in Christ, are the ones who continue this mission.
Read all about the spectacular appearance of the Holy Spirit in Acts Ch 2 .
If you can, read through the whole chapter. It is an amazing story!
In Old testament times the common belief was that the gift of the Spirit of God was only for a small, privileged elite. It only went to special people like Gideon or Samuel or David. For the ordinary man any access to the Spirit had to be mediated by the priest in the temple. So when Joel uttered these words:
“Afterwards I will pour out my spirit on everyone
Your sons and daughters will proclaim my message
Your old men will have dreams
And your young men will see visions
At that time, I will pour out my spirit even on servants, both men and women”
it must have shocked them to the core. He was promising them a new relationship with God. With hindsight, we can see that, through Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection, a new relationship with God was possible but before that it just seemed to be a pipe-dream!
Pentecost is the very public demonstration that God sends his Holy Spirit to all who would receive it. It comes in such a way as to make clear that it doesn’t matter who you are - old or young, Mede or Persian, man or woman - if you are open to the Spirit of God he will gift it to you.
God does not want to be some remote detached being - He wants to be part of us! He wants to be a living reality within us - a reality who encourages, teaches, empowers and guides us. Surely this is something worth celebrating: the gift of the inner presence of the Holy Spirit.
However, it is often a gift that we waste. In Matthew Ch 28 vs 18,19 we read this ‘Jesus drew near to them and said “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples”
That command is for all who receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. That is why it is included in the baptismal service. Jesus envisaged the power of the Holy Spirit flowing through believers, so that it would make a difference in the world we live in. Some do just that, but not enough of us! As a church we tend to look inward
too much and not outward enough.
We need to release the power of the Spirit so that we can make a difference in the world. The spirit came with powerful winds and in a blaze of glory. We have let it become hardly a breath and in danger of spluttering out. Pentecost is a great time to form a new resolve to get out there - out into the world and make a difference in Christ’s name! You can be sure that the Holy Spirit will sustain you!
Perhaps this short excerpt from a Reflections by Sheila Walker asks the right questions.
Do we only have as much of you
As you have of us?
Do we reckon the cost of the adventure
Not seeing that it is repaid
Is this why we are so faint and few?
Do we have only as much of you
As you have of us?
On this day of Pentecost why don’t you resolve to give all of yourself to the Holy Spirit and be open to the adventures that lie before you? You will be greatly blessed, I promise you!
Holy Spirit, unpredictable as the wind; unquenchable as fire; yet gentle as a dove, come now and breathe new energy into our lives and new life into our souls by your gracious power.
Forgive us, if we are so concerned with ourselves that we forget our responsibilities to others. Forgive the narrowness of our vision that has led us to become holding stations rather than conduits of your renewing grace.
Move within us, and open our lives to all that you are able to do, so that your power may flow in us; through us; and from us to the glory of your name.
In that concern for others we bring before you all who are on our heart today:
Those who are ill
Those who are bereaved
Those who are struggling with this time of lock-down
Those we miss because of all the restrictions
We give thanks for all who are working on our behalf in many areas of society and we pray that they will be strengthened by your powerful presence.
We bring this prayer in Jesus’ name
Note 1 :Remember to join the Moderator’s service today (31st May) at 10am ,(wrong time given last week) being streamed on Church of Scotland website and Facebook
Note 2: Next Sunday (7th June) you are invited to join our All-age virtual Communion on YouTube, search for Neilston Parish Church . Be ready with your bread/wafers and juice/wine.
There will be no Reflection posted next week.