Last weekend we celebrated Pentecost, also known as Whit Sunday, the seventh Sunday after Easter. It celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit which was to have a transforming effect on the early church and at the first Pentecost over 3,000 were added to the early church in Jerusalem on that day. Mr Paul Bishop led our worship who was welcomed by our steward Sue Fox. Rod Smith played the keyboard and the organ.
Paul began with a short prayer and announced his theme of “Pentecost” and his hymns and reading perfectly reflected the festival theme. After the opening hymn and prayers of thanksgiving and praise we had two bible readings, the first from Acts, chapter one in which Luke the writer of Acts, sets the scene and describes Jesus appearing many times for forty days after his death until he was taken up to heaven in the presence of some of his disciples. This was read by Margaret Crosby. The second reading was from Acts, chapter two, read by Rod Smith. Here Luke describes in some detail the coming of the Holy Spirit which galvanised the Galilean disciples enabling them to preach to thousands gathered for the festival in their own languages.
Paul perfectly captured the excitement of those early days in his sermon. He recounted the events saying God’s timing was just right when he sent the Holy Spirit into the masses of people in Jerusalem at that time. The disciples were in the upper room waiting on God when a mighty wind filled the house and the Spirit came down to them. What followed as they were galvanised into action is well documented and believed through experience to this day. Ordinary men were amazed to hear the good news of the gospel preached in their own language and on that day the church was born. “The Holy Spirit can shake us out of our complacency” said Paul, “all it takes is faith and courage”. We need to be “strangely warmed” in the words of John Wesley and then nothing is impossible. “The fruits and gifts of the Spirit go hand in hand”, said Paul, “and we are called to be receptive to the Holy Spirit”.