Newsletter 5th June 2022 (Pentecost)

Today 

Paul will be leading a time of prayer and sharing for Pentecost.

Next Sunday 

Our preacher will be Stella Hardiman.  Her theme will be taken from Acts 3 and 4.

Bookings:  Please note that next Saturday (11th) the Hall is in use 9-11 and the Church 11-2.

OUR OWN NATIVE LANGUAGES!

You don’t always get lots of volunteers to read out the story of Pentecost in Acts 2.  It’s certainly exciting, but it’s the reading with lots of names.  People from all over the known world heard the apostles in their own languages.  

There are 5 groups and 11 places mentioned in verses 9-11.  Unfortunately, the new newsletter typesetter has got the letters mixed up.  Can you work out the original words?  The names are from the NIV, and you may need a copy!

Make the Wind Blow

The Work of the Holy Spirit:

This is how John V Taylor, formerly Bishop of Winchester, began his book “The Go-Between God”:

The chief actor in the historic mission of the Christian church is the Holy Spirit. He is the director of the whole enterprise. The mission consists of the things that he is doing in the world. 

This fact, so patent to Christians in the first century, is largely forgotten in our own. So we have lost our nerve and our sense of direction and have turned the divine initiative into a human enter­prise. ‘It all depends on me’ is an attitude that is bedevilling both the practice and the theology of our mission in these days.

That is precisely what Jesus forbade at the start of it all. They must not go it alone. They must not think that the mission is their responsibility.  ‘You must wait’, he said, ‘for the promise made by my Father, about which you have heard me speak: John, as you know, baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit, and within the next few days’ (Acts 1.4, 5).

But, while we piously repeat the traditional assertion that without the Holy Spirit we can get nowhere in the Christian mission, we seem to press on with our man-made programmes. I have not heard recently of committee business adjourned because those present were still awaiting the arrival of the Spirit of God. I have known projects abandoned for lack of funds, but not for lack of the gifts of the Spirit. 

And in Martin’s copy of the above book is an undated cutting of an article by Tom Wright, then Bishop of Durham:

The early Christians, as readers of the Jewish Bible, knew that the Spirit had been at work since the beginning, brooding over the waters from which creation emerged, giving breath and life to the world and humankind.

They also knew that this always present Spirit had frequently done striking and different things, not least to bring God’s judgment to bear by clothing partic­ular human beings — Gideon, say, or Jephthah — and to enable prophets to speak a word that was not just their own, but God’s. What’s more, they knew that God had promised a fresh outpouring of the Spirit when the age to come arrived.

This had happened, they believed, through Jesus’s death and resurrection; and one of the reasons was that they found the promises coming true. They discovered the Spirit at work in the same way they read in the Bible, only now through­out the whole community of God’s people. The quiet sense of the presence of Jesus, as natural as breathing, and the mighty Pentecost hurricane, were, for them, two points on a continuum.

What Christians will be praying for this Pentecostal weekend, in asking God for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, will not simply be a further dose of quiet spiritual refreshment, nor yet a new wave of dramatic supernatural phenomena, but the discernment and courage to speak the truth about Jesus — and thereby about the world.

Material for next week to Martin by Tuesday morning please