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SUNDAY 31st MAY: THE FEAST OF PENTECOST

READINGS: ACTS 2: 1-21 & JOHN 20: 19-23

REFLECTION

When travelling in non-English speaking countries, signs that have obviously been literally translated into English for visitors can often be confusing and amusing. Here are a couple of examples.

From the brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo, “When passengers on foot are in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage, then tootle him with vigour.”

In a Greek tailor shop, “Order your summer suit now because if big rush, we will execute customers in strict rotation”. Making a good intelligible translation from one language to another is hard work and can be very difficult.

On the day of Pentecost, the disciples had no problem in making themselves understood. They didn't need dictionaries or people to translate to find the best way to say something in a foreign language. Normally the disciples with their thick Galilean accents would have had difficulty speaking to those gathered in Jerusalem. But on the Day of Pentecost whatever language or accent people were using, everyone understood what was being said. Here was a marker set down by God that a new day had dawned: “How is it that each of us hears them in our own native language?.... we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” (Acts 2: 8-12).

There are three words that described what happened on that first Pentecost Day – Heard, Saw and Spoke. Firstly, those present heard a sound – they heard what sounded like a mighty rushing wind. Secondly, they saw what appeared to be tongues of fire which spread out across the crowd and touched each person there. And thirdly, after hearing and seeing, they spoke. They preached, they testified to the great things God was doing among them. Jesus had said that he would send to them his Holy Spirit who would be their helper and stay with them for ever.

The crowd out in the street scoffed saying, “They're drunk!” The mob could not imagine that God would use ignorant and unlearned people from the backwater of Galilee to speak the languages of those present

with such skill and precision. In spite of the mockery, Peter preaches a short sermon about Jesus. His sermon is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. Peter tells the crowd that through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, a world-changing moment has arrived. That day three thousand people heard and believed and were baptised.

As with Peter and the other disciples, their transformation gives us all hope. They went from a timid group who struggled to understand Jesus' message and hid away in fear, to leaders boldly preaching to thousands. Pentecost reminds us that there is a supernatural aspect to our faith. This is not something to be feared but something to rejoice in, for the Spirit enables us all to be used by God regardless of our circumstances, weaknesses and struggles. Whenever we feel we are ineffective witnesses for Christ, let us not despair, but ask the Holy Spirit to come alongside us and empower us.

As history has shown us, great things have been done in our world through the testimony, conviction and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Just as those first disciples began to turn the world upside down at Pentecost, so we can be part of continuing to do so.

PRAYER

Living God, we remember today

how you transformed the lives of those first disciples:

how through the breath of your Spirit,

you turned their fear into confidence,

their weakness into strength,

their doubt into faith,

and their sorrow into joy.

Come to us now, through that same Spirit.

Take our weak and hesitant faith

and fill us with unshakeable trust in your purpose.

Take our stumbling discipleship,

and grant us energy and enthusiasm

to proclaim the gospel through word and deed.

Take our fear and anxieties

and give us courage

and your peace that passes all understanding.

Take our gifts and talents and

use them in the service of your kingdom.

In the name of Jesus Christ we ask these things.

Amen.

 

Every Blessing,

Canon Dave                                                            Sat. 30 May

Canon Dave’s Weekly Message

Dear All,

As the lockdown rules begin to gradually ease, we hope it won't be long before we can meet again to worship in Church and say our prayers. At this season of Pentecost let's all pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to show us the way forward for our Churches. In the meantime please keep safe and well and be in touch if you need any support.

Please see the attached public notice regarding the restoration of the clock dial at St. Peter's.