Some thoughts for Pentecost

The grass is greener…

• We seem to hear a voice, as in a dream; it’s gone but it echoes in our subconscious. It’s a dream of justice and peace.

• It’s not fair echoes in the playground. Law courts get it wrong. Countries invade others. Tsunamis. Decline in public morality. Gas chambers. Global evils of materialism and fundamentalism. Family breakdown. The art of being gentle has gone out of fashion, and everyone wants their ‘rights’.

• Why is it like this? We have a dream of a very different world.

• The echo of a voice is real; there is someone whispering to us, someone who talks about rescue. The Alpha and the Omega.

• The world is full of beauty; but always incomplete.

• As Christians we believe the glory we see around us belongs to God; this world is God’s, damaged but waiting to be repaired.

• The Christian story claims to be the true story about God and His world.

• Often Christians over the centuries, and right up to the present day, have got it wrong; but Tutu in S Africa didn’t; Romero didn’t; Mother Teresa didn’t; Martin Luther King didn’t; and there is a long list of saints, those we know and those we don’t who got it right.

• Christianity is about something that happened.

• Christianity is all about the belief that the Father God, in fulfilment of his promises and as the climax of the story of Israel, has accomplished everything in Jesus.

• God’s rescue operation has been put into effect once for all. We are offered freedom: freedom to experience God’s rescue for ourselves. to discover, through following Jesus, that this new world is indeed a place of justice, spirituality, relationship and beauty, and that we are not only to enjoy it as such but to work at bringing it to birth on earth as in heaven. “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven…”

• In listening to Jesus, we discover whose voice it is that has echoed around the hearts and minds of the human race all along.

• Si 5.2, ‘God is in heaven, and you upon earth; therefore let your words be few’.

• Pentecost: 1st reading full of symbolism…..

• We cannot separate the Holy Spirit and the task of the church – which is us!

• Nor can our task be attempted without the Spirit; it isn’t a matter of accepting what Jesus has done and getting on with it; without God’s Spirit there is nothing we can do that will count for God’s kingdom.

• The Gospel: “The Holy Spirit, whom the father will send in my name will remind you of all I have said to you”

• The Spirit is sent to us to begin the work of making God’s future real in the present.

• God doesn’t give people the Holy Spirit in order to let them enjoy the spiritual equivalent of a day at Disneyland… the point of the Spirit is to enable those who follow Jesus to take into all the world the news that he is Lord, that he has won the victory over the forces of evil, that a new world has opened up and that together we are to make it happen.

• We often hear about the “Gifts” of the Holy Spirit. If you remember the “old” catechism you may well be able to recite them, but today we are celebrating our own gifts of service, often quiet and unseen, to our own community. It is these that will build God’s Kingdom here in Fair Oak – don’t be looking for fire and wind!

(c) Bob Birtles 2011