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Pentecost 2020 31st May 2020

The Day of Pentecost 2020
1: In our spiritual journey the Church offers us milestones to allow us to focus and take inspiration from the key events in our Salvation History.

The key such milestones are
The Incarnation (when Jesus became man on Christmas Day)
Good Friday (when Jesus sacrificed himself on our behalf)
Easter Day ( His Glorious Resurrection when he overcame Death itself)
Ascension (When Jesus returned to the Father)
And finally the day we are marking to day
The day of Pentecost —the Day when the Spirit which Jesus had promised to guide the church descended on the Apostles.

2: This day is rightly seen as the Birthday of the Church -not the Church of Ireland, not the Roman Catholic Church but the Church of God . Once the Holy Spirit descended on them the Apostles, who only 7 weeks earlier had abandoned Jesus, were now filled with strength , conviction and determination to leave the Upper Room, face the crowd and the authorities and (on this occasion) refused to back down . Read Peter’s speech today and note there is no denial, and no backing off. As we work through the Acts we will see that this was no one day wonder, but a fuse had been lit which sustained them until they made the ultimate sacrifice.

3: Those early Christians in Jerusalem probably felt just as ordinary as we do today and look at what they, with the power of the Spirit, were able to achieve.
The Spirit put energy into their feet and into their voices, gave them confidence, made them feel that their cause was worth every ounce of energy they could give it. Never underestimate the difficulties they faced not only from State Authorities but more painfully from those who accused them of abandoning traditions held by their forefathers back to the time of Abraham. (While there is no record of it one can speculate how their extended families felt ). Their eagerness to make disciples of all nations not only brought them West to the home of the Empire in Rome but way beyond the boundaries of the Empire when they travelled as far East as India.

4: We are the direct spiritual descendants of those first
God also has big plans for us—and he doesn’t expect us to do it alone
That is why he sent us his Holy Spirit…
Regardless of our fears, the Holy Spirit still continues to burst out in every generation of believers.

People still feel their lives drastically transformed through an encounter with Christ, many still find the spirit so real and invigorating that sacrifices are made with joyful serenity, unpleasant and dangerous work is gladly undertaken,

There is still much to be done, but, living in the Spirit, we too can work as harvesters and take part in the establishing of God’s kingdom on Earth.

5: Our reading from Corinthians today lists the Gifts of the Spirit , “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good”
Look at them —-
Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Healing, Miracles, Prophecy, Discernment , Tongues and interpretations of Tongues —-
Now look at yourself and see where you can use your gift to build up the church.

We can see the evidence of the Spirit by its Works. In Galatians Paul lists the fruits of the Spirit where we can see both evidence of and the need for in our World today
“ The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control”.

In our present crisis are there not many–through whose work –we see fruits of the Spirit , fruits such as Love, Kindness, Gentleness , Patience etc .

6: So on this Pentecost Morning wherever you are, at home on your own, with your family, missing your children or trying to pacify your children remember that you are not alone .

Jesus promised that we will have an Advocate, a Spirit of Truth.
Paul has told us that the Spirit will help us in our weakness.

When we are under pressure as indeed we are in these unprecedented days, when we do not know what the future will hold, when we seem to be oppressed by overwhelming problems , think back to the frightened disciples on this Feast day and what they were enabled to do by the power of the Spirit, the Same Spirit who is with us today .

So today let us yes celebrate the events of 2000 years ago and the first descent of the Holy Spirit but in doing so let us remember that the Spirit lives with us today, let us pray for support and guidance and let us look for the fruits of the Spirit around us.
Acts 2: 1-21
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ 12All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ 13But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.
14 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. 15Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 “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.
18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
20 The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Psalm 104: 26-36, 37b
26 O Lord, how manifold are your works! ♦ In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
27 There is the sea, spread far and wide, ♦ and there move creatures beyond number, both small and great.
28 There go the ships, and there is that Leviathan ♦ which you have made to play in the deep.
29 All of these look to you ♦ to give them their food in due season.
30 When you give it them, they gather it; ♦ you open your hand and they are filled with good.
31 When you hide your face they are troubled; ♦ when you take away their breath, they die and return again to the dust.
32 When you send forth your spirit, they are created, ♦ and you renew the face of the earth.
33 May the glory of the Lord endure for ever; ♦ may the Lord rejoice in his works;
34 He looks on the earth and it trembles; ♦ he touches the mountains and they smoke.
35 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; ♦ I will make music to my God while I have my being.
36 So shall my song please him ♦while I rejoice in the Lord.
Bless the Lord, O my soul. Alleluia

1 Corinthians 12: 3b-13
3Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Let Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10to 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. 11All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.
12 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. 13For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

John 20: 19-23
19 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.’ 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’