If you were watching twitter on Monday morning you might have noticed a certain quote from Archbishop Justin about the church doing the rounds. He said “If Jesus is not central in the church, then we are Rotary with a pointy roof”. Now that might be a bit excluding for flat roofed churches but the point is clear and it got quite a response. But he also said that “church renewal is always preceded by renewal of prayer and praying communities.” And that’s what happened on the first Pentecost Sunday. Jesus had ascended back to God and now the disciples were given a very important gift, the Holy Spirit.
The preceding verses record that they were devoted to prayer as they reflected on Jesus’ ascension. Jesus had told them of the spirit at then but it’s not clear if the disciples knew when it would come. They must have been very unsure what was going to happen and spent their time with God, in an upper room. And into this came the gift of the spirit, Luke uses the powerful description of violent wind, and tongues of fire and it brought powerful effects in the lives of the disciples. People around were “amazed and astonished” at the disciples new ability to communicate and inspire as they rushed out to proclaim the good news.
That same gift of God is also available to you and me when we draw close to God, accepting our sin and seeking Jesus redemption. Today that kind of transformation continues to happen, sometimes it’s as visible and sometimes it comes quietly as an inner change but either way it points back to God’s love born out on a cross at Easter. As the Archbishop also put it (on his prayer life:) “in silence, I try to remember what Jesus has done for me.”
Nine members of our church will be confirmed on Pentecost Sunday, please pray for them, and for all of us, that as we commit our lives as followers of Jesus, the Holy Spirit will come to renew and transform us day by day.