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Julia’s Newsletter – June 2017

The Coming of the Spirit

 

The feast of Pentecost comes 50 days after the Passover and, due to the favorable June weather, Jerusalem was filled with pilgrims. The disciples were there; huddled together in one room, back to the number 12, having replaced Judas with Matthias. They were doing what Jesus has asked them to do, waiting in Jerusalem for the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1: 4-8).

We will never know quite what happened to the disciples at Pentecost, but we know that one moment they were hesitant, frightened and unable to speak out; and the next they were ready to go, bold and courageous and wonderfully coherent – ready to be witnesses to the life of Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit and his power.

In the first 13 chapters of Acts there are over 40 references to the Holy Spirit, enabling, ministering, moving and guiding people. The Acts of the Apostles has been called the Gospel of the Holy Spirit, and if we look to links back to the Old Testament, its coming is a fulfillment of the longing expressed by Moses, that God would pour out his Spirit on all people, not just a chosen few who required a special anointing.

Wind is understood as the hidden presence of God, not seen but felt. New life breathed into the disciples. Fire is the symbol for the presence of God. Again we think of Moses and the burning bush. It is the sign of a strong power at work, bringing direction, guidance, and enlightenment. At Pentecost the disciples were given new vision and vigor. That same Spirit is offered to us and we celebrate that Jesus keeps his promises. He has not left us bereft and His Spirit is at work within each one of us.

Next week it’s my birthday and the family will be coming home. Andrew will arrive with all his stuff, and once he’s dumped it in his room and before he comes and sits and shares all the latest news, he will go and play the piano, a sort of medley of old classical favourites, new stuff and pieces he’s working on now. When he’s away, the piano is forlorn, except for my one handed versions of tunes from Singing the Faith, as I pick hymns for a Sunday. As I trip over the sharps and flats, it’s all a bit cranky and lifeless but on Thursday night, in the right hands, the piano will come to life and sing. May the coming of the Spirit, breath new life into each one of us that we might sing as we were made too, in harmony, melody and rhythm. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

Let us Pray

Exuberant Spirit of God,

bursting with the brightness of flame,

into the coldness of our lives

to warm us with a passion for justice and beauty,

We praise you.

 

Exuberant Spirit of God,

sweeping us out of the dusty corners of our apathy

to breathe vitality into our struggles for change,

We praise you

Exuberant Spirit of God

speaking words that leap over barriers of mistrust

to convey messages of truth and new understanding,

we praise you.

 

Exuberant Spirit of God,

flame,

          wind,

                   speech

Burn, breathe, speak to us:

Fill your world with justice and joy

and make our colours sing

Amen

(Jan Berry)

 

Rev Julia May 2017