When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
[Acts 2: 1–4]
Tomorrow is Pentecost Sunday – the birthday of the church. It is unlikely that celebrations will happen in the same way as we might have hoped. Yet it is a time of celebration!
The disciples were locked away, as we have been (and maybe still are). They were a little nervous and afraid of the crowds outside, gathering for the Jewish festival. Into the locked room, through the crowded streets, God bursts in. The Holy Spirit enters the room and fills the disciples, bringing them gifts to share the good news. The early church is born!
Throughout this strange time, God has been and is able to burst through, bringing us the Holy Spirit, filling us to the brim and giving us gifts. Perhaps over the last few weeks you have learnt a new skill, found other ways to communicate with people, discovered more about your neighbours, or found new ways to worship. God is still at work, not hampered by locked doors or empty streets.
God bursts in and gives the Holy Spirit, inspiring us and giving new life. Now is the time, a new birthday for the church, to start something new. Now is the time – whenever we can go back into the world, into church – not to pick up and carry on as we did before, but to allow the Holy Spirit to bring something new, to inspire us to start afresh. A new world. A new church.
God of wind and fire,
Fill us with your Holy Spirit;
Inspire our hearts and minds,
That we may build a new world,
Better, deeper communities.
Cleanse us of the old notions
Of what is and has always been.
Inspire us as we start again,
Radical faith through fresh worship,
That your name be heard throughout the whole world.