Some Bible readings you might like to read before you begin this time of worship.
John 14: 15-17 | John 16: 5-11, 16 | Acts 1: 4-8
Good Morning. Welcome to worship and perhaps I should say ‘Happy Birthday!’ Today is Pentecost Sunday which many describe as the birthday of the church. We celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit to the believers empowering them to go out into the world and continue the work of Jesus, an enormous task. However although Jesus was no longer with them in person His spirit and power would remain with them for ever. This is the message of Pentecost.
Holy Ghost we bid thee welcome,
Source of life and power thou art,
Promise of our heavenly Father,
Now thrice welcome in our heart.
Come like dew form Heaven falling,
Come like spring’s refreshing shower;
Holy Ghost, for thee we’re calling,
Come in all thy quickening power.
Most of our conversations at the moment are centred around Covid 19 and the experiences of lockdown. One of the things that affects us all is isolation or separation form the ones who are close to us, family, friends, neighbours and our corps/church family. We have probably found ways of keeping in touch by phone, at a safe distance, on Zoom and other programmes provide by technology, but we all wait for the day when we can once again have close contact and be in each other’s presence.
A few weeks ago we celebrated Easter and the resurrection of Jesus showing that death could not separate him permanently from his disciples. However Jesus warned them that he would not be with them in person for much longer. There would once more be a separation but there would be advantages to his going away. John 14:15-17 tell us that when he goes away, His Father will send another counsellor to be with them for ever It will be as if Jesus himself is living within them through the Holy Spirit. John 16: 7 reminds them, and us, that unless he goes away, back to his Father, the Counsellor would not be able to come to them. So he is not giving them sad news but something to rejoice about. Jesus’ power and presence could be with them for ever, personally and as a group; that group we now call the church.
There are many words to describe the Holy Spirit – a dove, fire, breath, wind.
I would like us to look at the word counsellor or comforter. The original word is paraclete which means advocate or helper, someone who comes alongside. It carries the idea of one who comforts or assists and it is the word comforter that is used in the King James version.
What does the word comfort mean to you? A nice cosy settee, a warm bath at the end of the day, a hot drink of chocolate when you come in from the cold. The actual meaning of the word is ‘with strength’ as in the word fortitude. So, although we all like to feel comfortable and be given comfort in the way of something soft and cuddly or soothing, the Holy Spirit gives us much more. When things are difficult, as at the moment, when we go through sad or hard times, the Holy Spirit will be there right alongside us with his strength. This doesn’t take away every difficult situation but He, the Spirit and presence of Jesus himself will travel right alongside. He is there in the situation and gives us all we need to go through it. The message of Pentecost is the same as that of Christmas - God with us. May you feel His Holy Spirit there by your side as a constant help and strength through these strange times!
Be assured that, although we often sing the above song in a Salvation Army Hall, we can feel the presence of the Lord just where you are and your home can be holy ground.
Please listen, or sing along, to the International Staff Songsters singing 'His Provision'.
God of power, may the boldness of your Spirit transform us, may the gentleness of your Spirit lead us, may the gifts of your Spirit be our goal our strength now and always.
Thank you for reading
Written by Irene K
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