Materials for Worship at Home on the Feast of Pentecost

Nerys writes: Today is a day of celebration, when throughout the world, people are giving thanks for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – for her faith and her faithfulness. Some of you will remember the amazing day of her coronation almost seventy years ago when huge crowds had gathered in London to celebrate.

The Church today remembers another amazing day in another city where huge crowds had gathered for another celebration. Today is the day of Pentecost, a day when Jewish people from all over the world would come to the temple in Jerusalem to give thanks for the first wheat harvest of the year and to celebrate the giving of the Law to Moses. And it is the day when just over two thousand years ago, the followers of the risen and ascended Christ were waiting in the city for something to happen just as he had told them to …

As you read Luke’s account of the coming of the Holy Spirit in the second chapter of the Book of Acts, you may wish to imagine the experience from the point of view of Peter or one of the other disciples or through the eyes of one of the three thousand onlookers whose lives were changed for ever on that day.

I wonder if you’ve ever had the experience of trying to communicate with someone who didn’t have a language in common with you? It can be very frustrating as I remember from the time before I learnt to speak English at the age of seven. There are many barriers to communication, especially about the deep issues of life. Jesus himself had difficulty in getting his disciples to grasp his message throughout his ministry. In fact, our Gospel passage for today, John 14. 8-17, 25-27, starts with a misunderstanding on the part of Phillip …

On the day of Pentecost, however, we see the Holy Spirit enabling the apostles to break through barriers to communication that had divided people of faith for centuries, making it possible for all of them to understand God’s language of love, forgiveness and hope. But first of all, we see the Holy Spirit coming as wind and fire into the room where they were gathered, blowing away and burning down any barriers within their hearts to the power of God’s love. This is what gives them the courage and conviction to venture out into the streets to continue the work Jesus had started.

God’s Spirit is still at work today, transforming lives and mending divisions.
I wonder if there are any areas in your life where there are barriers to God’s love?
These walls can be formed by fear, shame, anger, grief, jealousy, regret, guilt …
Where in your life is there darkness where there should be light?
Where is there a need of healing or guidance?
Come, Holy Spirt, into the areas of my life where I am reluctant to grant you entry and take away those barriers which are preventing me from being one with God who is love. Come Holy Spirit …

You may wish to reflect on the painting below called ‘ The Journey to Pentecost’ by Edgardo de Guzman. Notice how the figures appear to be caught up in the swirling wind of the Spirit almost as if they are dancing. Notice also that there are no gaps in the picture and that despite being from different parts of the colour spectrum, the shades are in harmony. Those who are filled with God’s Holy Spirit retain their unique qualities but they are enabled to work and pray together for the sake of others.

Come Holy Spirit, into the areas of our world where there is darkness where there should be light; where there is violence and injustice, corruption and oppression; where innocent people are hurting.

Come Holy Spirit, into areas of our communities where there are problems and we need your wisdom about how to solve them; where these is poverty caused by low wages or inadequate benefits, where people have to choose between food and fuel.

We ask for your guidance for all those in authority We ask your strength for those who are working for peace and justice in war-torn countries. We pray particularly today for Her majesty Queen Elizabeth II, giving thanks for her long reign and her faith and her faithfulness.

Come, Holy Spirit, into the areas of our families or friendship circles where there is friction or sadness or a need for comfort. Please hold those we know who are sick today or those who mourn.
We ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.