St. Mary's Church

Pentecost

Pentecost

23 May 2021 • General news

Acts 2. 1-21

2When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ 12All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ 13But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:17 “In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.19 And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and smoky mist.20 The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Romans 8. 22-27

22We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; 23and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

John 15. 26-27; 16. 4b-15

26 ‘When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.

4But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.‘I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, “Where are you going?” 6But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. 7Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgement: 9about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11about judgement, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

12 ‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Thought for Pentecost 23rd May by Malcolm Tyler

In today’s gospel Jesus is speaking to his disciples before the crucifixion. He has told them that he is going away and therefore leaving them. With hindsight we know that Jesus was going to die but the disciples, despite the growing resistance to Jesus, almost certainly could not have conceived that his going away meant death, or if they did, did not want to believe it. As a consequence, they were sorrowful.

Jesus responds that it is better that he goes because he will then send them the Advocate, in other words the Holy Spirit. The Feast of Pentecost is our celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit of God to all believers . It is a fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel where he says

Then afterwards

I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,

and your young men shall see visions.

This Spirit of God we variously see as our Comforter, sustainer and even the wherewithal we have to accomplish wonderful things for God which perhaps we never believed possible. This should be wonderful, and is, but sadly because the Spirit is associated with supernatural events such as the speaking in foreign tongues on the Day of Pentecost itself, the reserve of many British people has led them to the view that the gifts of the spirit are somewhat suspicious. You can almost hear people saying ‘strange things like this don’t happen to people like us’!

This means that it is possible to misunderstand something important about God himself. Next week we shall be thinking of the Trinity and reminding ourselves that God has three ‘faces’ and reveals himself to us at different times through each of these faces. We are very used to seeing the hand of a creator God in the beauty of the earth and human beings; we are used to thinking of the Word of God being expressed through the life and teachings of Jesus, but we seem to be less comfortable with the abiding presence of God being with us through the Spirit. Yet each face of God, Father, Son and Spirit is part of the Godhead and has something to tell us about the God in whom we believe.

Many people say to me that prayer really helps them. To know that other people hold them in their prayers at difficult times is a comfort; it gives them strength to carry on. Surely, how this works is through the power of the Holy Spirit which as one version of the Bible says in Romans 8.26

‘in the same way the Spirit is a help to our feeble hearts: for we are not able to make prayer to God in the right way; but the Spirit puts our desires into words which are not in our power to say’

When we don’t know how to pray, the desire to pray is interpreted by that abiding presence of God with us, the Spirit, and offers up the prayer which is answered and provides us with the comfort and strength we need.

If we begin to see the Holy Spirit in conjunction with our life of prayer, perhaps it is not quite so difficult to understand it.

St Mary’s Walsgrave, Pentecost, 23 May 2021 [prepared by Sue Morton]

Please respond to the words “Holy Spirit of God” by saying “Move in us, we pray”

Mighty God

Thank you for the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples, filling them with power and knowledge and love.

We pray for the Holy Spirit to come to us, so that we, like them, can fearlessly proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Strengthen Christopher Lord Bishop of Coventry, and John Bishop of Warwick, and all your church in the service of Christ.

That those who confess your name may be united in your truth, live together in your love, and through the power of the Holy Spirit reveal your glory in the world.

Holy Spirit of God

Move in us, we pray

Holy God

We thank you for the Lord Jesus and your wondrous gift of the Holy Spirit; always present with us, in this time of worldwide pandemic: with us in conversations with family, our children, friends and colleagues; in good natured banter and in our disagreements.

Your Spirit there at the Foodbank, with refugees and the homeless, in deadly conflicts.

When a hand is offered in friendship and a voice speaks of welcome and eyes show forgiveness, your Holy Spirit is there.

We pray for your Holy Spirit to be in the battlefields of coronavirus.

We pray for peace in the Holy Land.

Holy Spirit of God

Move in us, we pray

Loving God

We pray for children and young people in our local communities; those beginning to sense the wonder and mystery of life and those desperate for a return to their usual freedoms.

We especially pray for children and young people who live in poverty and fear.

We pray for children and students taking tests and examinations in a different way this summer; for their families, teachers and lecturers.

Holy Spirit of God

Move in us, we pray

Gracious God

We pray for your Holy Spirit to comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit.

We especially pray for Trefor Richards, Margaret Davoll, Tony Thistlewood and their families.

We give thanks for those who work in hospitals and in the community to provide medical, ancillary and caring support. We pray that your Holy Spirit will sustain them in their work.

Together in silence we pray for the Holy Spirit to protect us and those we love.

SILENCE

Holy Spirit of God

Move in us, we pray

God of Life

You know the pain and anguish we feel when someone we love dies.

Holy Spirit, giver of life and life eternal, comfort us when we are sad and lonely, when we mourn those we no longer see.

Thank you for those who have died in the faith of Christ, and we especially remember today any known to us personally.

According to your promises, grant us with them a share in your eternal kingdom.

Holy Spirit of God

Move in us, we pray

Mighty God

Open our minds to a new way of looking at life; may we live by your Holy Spirit and bear rich fruit to your glory.

Merciful Father

Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen