A homily for the Feast of Pentecost: Acts 2.1-21 & John 14.8-17
It’s the Feast of Pentecost, and not surprisingly we hear this morning the remarkable reading from the Acts of the Apostles. The disciples are filled with the Holy Spirit, and they begin to speak in other languages. Of course, those who hear the noise are bewildered, and they go and see what has happened. To their astonishment, each one of them hears the disciples speaking in their own native language, and telling them about God’s deeds of power.
Although on some level, this means that everyone is able to understand what the disciples are saying, not everyone does fully comprehend: some sneer and accuse Jesus’ followers of being drunk. This raises the question about which I would briefly like to think this morning: “what do we need to understand?” From our reading we gather that being addressed in our native tongue alone is not enough, so what else do we need? To answer this question, I would like to look at our reading this morning in two metaphorical ways, two additional layers of meaning without intending to deny the reading of the events as historical. Continue reading “Speak love; hear truth”
A reflection for the Feast of Pentecost
The Feast of Pentecost has always had a particular significance for me, as it was the day on which I was baptised and confirmed at the age of seventeen. Apart from the embarrassment of spilling the wine when it came to the Lord’s Supper, what I most vividly remember is the feeling of both joy and apprehension at making this public commitment to the Christian faith.
Joy and apprehension, I suspect, is what the disciples may also have felt on that first Pentecost – literally the fiftieth day – when they became filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak in different languages. Both the disciples themselves and those living in Jerusalem were caught by surprise, because although Jesus had promised them the Holy Spirit would come, at the time his followers did not know what this meant or what it would look like. It is also a moment of commitment, both demonstrating God’s loyalty to His people as well as the charge given to his followers to proclaim His message to all people, in all languages.
Continue reading “Joy and Apprehension”
Sermon St Mary’s Marlborough, 2nd June 2019
Sunday between Ascension and Pentecost
This year is the third year in which Churches throughout the world are joining in an initiative called ‘Thy Kingdom Come’. It started in 2016 as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to use the eleven days between Ascension Day and Pentecost as a time to renew our commitment to prayer. Since then, the initiative has grown into a worldwide, ecumenical movement with Churches from over 65 different denominations in 114 countries around the world. One can wonder of course if it is a good thing to even have 65 different denominations, but it shows the scale of the movement.
Traditionally, Christians have focussed on the renewal of prayer during the time between Ascension and Pentecost, following the example of the first disciples. As it is written in the first chapter of the book of Acts: [After the Ascension, the disciples] “were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.” Prayer has been at the heart of the Christian Church since the earliest days.
Continue reading “Thy Kingdom Come 2019”
Sermon preached at St Mary’s Calstone on 12th May
Sunday between Ascension and Pentecost, John 17.6-19
Today is the Sunday between Ascension Day and Pentecost. It is interesting, I think, how in the UK Ascension Day does not really feature, whereas on the Continent in most countries it still is a public holiday.
In the Church of England, this is now the third year that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, have asked people to use these ten days between Ascension last Thursday and Pentecost next Sunday to pray for the nation and the Church. The initiative is called ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, and this year for the first time there will be a big event in Salisbury Cathedral as well, next Sunday evening, 19th May.
Continue reading “Thy Kingdom Come”