By Bishop David McGough
Acts 2: 1-11, 1 Corinthians 12: 3-7 & 12-13, John 20: 19-23
pepeontecost celebrates a pie alive with the Spirit of God. The familiar description of the first Pentecost is more than a description of the wonders that unfolded long ago as the Spirit becalm the breath of God's people. Pentecost remains as the pattern for the Church. The Spirit endures, leading us from fearful lives to the confidence of Christ's victory over sin and death.
The Jerusalem of Pentecost Sunday was filled with people from every nation under heaven. They had travelled in hope, longing for God's presence. When Peter began' to speak, they heard. for the first film a voice that was greater than their differences of language and culture. The language of God's Spirit healed the divisions of a broken world and began to speak to the universal longings of the human heart.
"How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language....we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God." The Spirit of Pentecost speaks to our divided world, a world confused by the cacophony of conflicting voices. We can name those voices: wealth, power, pride and self-interest.
As we celebrate Pentecost; let us allow the Spirit to be in our listening as much as in our speaking. With the apostles gathered in one room, let us allow the silence of prayer to open the door to the Spirit. As we listen to our hearts we cannot avoid the anxieties and inadequacies that are the constant background to our lives. The Spirit speaks to a depth that lies beyond our fears. Here the Spirit leads us
into the reassurance of the Risen Lord. "Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid, I have overcome the world." When we allow the Spirit to speak to our hearts we find the courage to reach beyond our fears. The witness of our lives, the Christ in our hearts, begins to heal a divided world. The Spirit of Pentecost translates faith into action. The Risen Lord reached into the hearts of his disciples with a purpose. "As the Father sent me, so am I sending you. Receive the Holy Spirit." We are not passive bystanders carried along in the current of life. Christ has entrusted to us the truth about ourselves and the dignity of our lives. He lived that truth in practical love for all those entrusted to him by the Father. He calls upon us to live that same truth. When we allow the Spirit to bring Christ into our hearts we become the Pentecost that brings healing to our divided world.
Familiarity sometimes deadens our perception of the world in which we live. We tend to regard ourselves, our families and the congregations to which we belong as unremarkable. How differently Saint Paul looked at the same realities. 'There is a variety of gifts but always the same spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always the same Lord ... It is the same God who is working in all of them." Let us look at ourselves and the world in which we live through Paul's vision. By baptism and confirmation the Spirit has been entrusted to us all. The Spirit opens our eyes to the unrecognised gifts entrusted to us by the Father. Let us allow this forgotten Spirit to bear fruit in our lives, in our love and joy, our goodness and kindness, our patience and faithfulness. Such fruits are the universal language of the Good News.