We should now be well into the warmer weather, summer officially begins on the 21st of this month and as I write this the sun is out and the heating isn’t on – summer could be here early!
The 9th June is Whit Sunday known as such because people being baptised on that day wore white clothes! The name we use more commonly is Pentecost Sunday. It is the day when we celebrate God sending the Holy Spirit. The disciples gathered in the upper room and they were frightened about being caught by the authorities and being put to death like Jesus had been and confused by all that had happened since that first Easter Sunday.
All these events are recorded for us in the gospels and Acts. We also have Paul’s letters in which he explains the gifts of the Spirit and how they are given so that we can share God’s love with the world.
But what do you think of this Holy Spirit? Is it something you’ve thought of at all? The Church has been split about the way the Holy Spirit is experienced and how the Spirit works in us. For some it is a powerful, transformational experience; things like prophecy and healing. Others experience it as the quiet inner strength that gives them the strength to fulfil the commission to love others. The most effective way of expressing this is St Paul’s first Letter to the Corinthians. 1 Corinthians 13:
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now, we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
We all need the Spirit; the charismatic gifts given that show the awesome power of God to transform but we all also need that holy equipping to live out that calling to love in our every day lives; to love our spouse when we’ve had a tough day and they irritate us, our work colleagues when we disagree, the rough sleeper when life has dealt them a tough hand, the person who can just push our buttons and annoy us. So this Pentecost I pray the power of the Holy Spirit of you and over St. David’s; may you be loved and strengthened in order to love others and may we share that love together in Eastham.