The Feast of Pentecost

28th May 2023

Reflection (the readings are below)

The day of Pentecost was not a day to be forgotten. For the disciples it must initially have frightening – to have the sound of violent wind fill the house and then to see what looked like tongues of fire. Yet it must have been amazing, astounding, to be so full of the Spirit that they could not help but be eloquent, loquacious, inspired, outspoken ….

And I wonder if it was any different for the crowd that had gathered. What has first caught their attention, caused the, to stop and stare? Initially bewildered and then – like the disciples – inspired, overcome by the message they were receiving. A message that somehow spoke directly to each one, no matter where they had come from, no matter what was their personal agenda – each of them heard a message that directed at them and which answered their need –  and maybe answering a need they didn’t know they needed! That surely is the power of God’s message, the power of the good news, that whoever you are, wherever you are it will have a pertinent message for you.

That day of Pentecost must have seemed magical! But I suspect that we all have message, a story, we could tell about God’s deeds – whether it was about something that happened in our lives, some event or place that was very significant, some word or image or phrase of music that spoke so,powerfully to us of God. And just imagine if we all told out stories – surely we would find that our story would ring a chord with someone else, that our story would speak eloquently to another about the presence of God.  We seldom tell these stories because we don’t imagine that we could be a channel for God’s Spirit. 

If like me you have a passion for the environment, can you take a leaf out of the psalmist’s book? Can you celebrate and sing praises to God to express your joy and awe that God’s creation is so amazing, so prolific, so life enhancing? The psalm reminds me that sometimes we have to let God’s creature be and just stand back in wonder! 

I only occasionally cut the grass at home, so it is without any effort I take part in No Mow May. This afternoon I counted five different types of grass – as the seed heads form you get to see what a variety there is. I also noted plantains with a white flowering frill around their seed head; golden buttercups (replacing the golden headed dandelions that flowered earlier); wild sorrel; common daisies and ox eye daisies; cat’s ear daisies -also yellow like a dandelion – and the tiny mauve flowering small-flowered cranesbill. 

Maybe for someone that vision of God’s biodiverse creation would be the message that warms their hearts and fire them up for action as citizens of God’s kingdom here on earth.

Acts 2:1-21

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

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

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. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

`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.

Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.

And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and smoky mist.

The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.

Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ “

Psalm 104:25-35, 37

25 O Lord, how manifold are your works! *
in wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.

26 Yonder is the great and wide sea
with its living things too many to number, *
creatures both small and great.

27 There move the ships,
and there is that Leviathan, *
which you have made for the sport of it.

28 All of them look to you *
to give them their food in due season.

29 You give it to them; they gather it; *
you open your hand, and they are filled with good things.

30 You hide your face, and they are terrified; *
you take away their breath,
and they die and return to their dust.

31 You send forth your Spirit, and they are created; *
and so you renew the face of the earth.

32 May the glory of the Lord endure for ever; *
may the Lord rejoice in all his works.

33 He looks at the earth and it trembles; *
he touches the mountains and they smoke.

34 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; *
I will praise my God while I have my being.

35 May these words of mine please him; *
I will rejoice in the Lord.

37 Bless the Lord, O my soul. *

1 Corinthians 12:3b-13

No one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptised into one body– Jews or Greeks, slaves or free– and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

John 20:19-23

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Prayers for Creation

Friday 26th May 2023

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17

Sovereign God, 

set your people free from the aggression of war; 

set your people free from the pains of hunger; 

set your people free from the addiction of greed; 

set your people free from the entrapment of consumerism; 

set your people free from their blinkered incomprehension of the climate crisis. 

Grant us instead the freedom of understanding that comes from your Holy, life-giving, Spirit.


A reading from Isaiah 32:14 -17  (The Message)

The royal palace is deserted,
    the bustling city quiet as a morgue,
The emptied parks and playgrounds
    taken over by wild animals,
    delighted with their new home.

Yes, weep and grieve until the Spirit is poured
    down on us from above
And the badlands desert grows crops
    and the fertile fields become forests.
Justice will move into the badlands desert.
    Right will build a home in the fertile field.
And where there’s Right, there’ll be Peace
    and the progeny of Right: quiet lives and endless trust.
My people will live in a peaceful neighborhood—
    in safe houses, in quiet gardens.
The forest of your pride will be clear-cut,
    the city showing off your power leveled.
But you will enjoy a fortunate life,
    planting well-watered fields and gardens,
    with your farm animals grazing freely.


Pentecost Spirit, 

taking  breathe over creation, 

drawing life out of chaos. 

Inspire us with a vision of the world as it could  be.

Fill our hearts with active love.

Pentecost Spirit, 

riding on the storm clouds of anger, 

turning the world upside down. 

Inspire us with a vision of the world as it could  be.

Fill our hearts with active love.

Pentecost Spirit, 

dividing the waters, 

cutting through the bonds of slavery.

Inspire us with a vision of the world as it could  be.

Fill our hearts with active love.

Pentecost Spirit, 

raising up whirl winds 

yet drawing us into the still centre of calm.

Inspire us with a vision of the world as it could  be.

Fill our hearts with active love.

Pentecost Spirit, 

that comes from we know not where, 

yet reveals to us all truth.

Inspire us with a vision of the world as it could  be.

Fill our hearts with active love.

Pentecost Spirit, 

a sudden gale that rocks the boat, 

yet challenges us to hang onto our faith.

Inspire us with a vision of the world as it could  be.

Fill our hearts with active love.

 Pentecost Spirit, 

a gentle evening breeze,

that refreshes the soul when the day’s work is done.

Inspire us with a vision of the world as it could  be.

Fill our hearts with active love.

The Grace.