The View from the Vicarage: Pentecost

Welcome to my blog, we move back to the day of Pentecost as we celebrate the birthday of the church and the promised gift of the Holy Spirit In Acts 2:1-21

This year of all years I am struck by the coming of the Spirit upon the gathered few, who met in safety. We as a church are meeting in safety, we are using technology and social media, and the Holy Spirit is still with us, with you and with me.

When the spirit comes to those believers it will change their lives; everything will take on new meaning; their lives will become open to the pain and suffering of others but also the hope of a world transformed.  This is their story yet it is ours too.

We are called to enter into the continuing drama of God’s new creation in the world. To enter into the realities of this world with all its hopes and greatness and all it suffering and disaster. Even though we cannot meet together just yet, we are called though our prayer, care and witnessing to be his church even in lockdown.

Pentecost is the moment when God Breathes again; in his first breath he moved over the waters of creation, that same breath of God, which hovers over the womb of Mary, the same breath that Jesus gave to his disciples in the upper room.

The breath of Pentecost transformed tired and disciples into a people full of confidence and boldness and it still does, it ushers in a new tomorrow, it ignites hope, it unites humanity.

Commenting on Pentecost St John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople in 4th century said “It is not for lack of miracles that the church is stagnant; it is because we have forsaken the angelic life of Pentecost, and fallen back on private property. If we lived as they did, with all things common, we should soon convert the whole world without any need of miracles at all.”

Pentecost and the breath of the Spirit helps the believers to overcome self-preservation and greed and leads them to live the way of Jesus. Speaking in different languages was a moment where all who could hear could receive this new message, in their own tongue as we see barriers overcome by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy  Spirit breathes across national boundaries and interests, structures and differences to bring together a people, seeking to live in the power of the new creation – a new tomorrow; giving courage to ordinary people to break with traditions, to be open to the new, to let truth invade into their own experiences of reality and reach out to the world around them.

This is the call of Pentecost to us. With the coming of the Spirit upon the gathered few, who meet in safety and collected holiness . We are living in challenging times right now, we are seeing tragedy all around us and yet we are at the beginning of something new, as a world, as a society and as a church.

I leave you with my favourite hymn of Pentecost by the founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth:

1. Thou Christ of burning, cleansing flame,
Send the fire!
Thy blood-bought gift today we claim,
Send the fire!
Look down and see this waiting host,
Give us the promised Holy Ghost;
We want another Pentecost,
Send the fire today!

2. God of Elijah, hear our cry:
Send the fire!
To make us fit to live or die,
Send the fire!
To burn up every trace of sin,
To bring the light and glory in,
The revolution now begin,
Send the fire today!

3. ’Tis fire we want, for fire we plead,
Send the fire!
The fire will meet our every need,
Send the fire!
For strength to ever do the right,
For grace to conquer in the fight,
For pow’r to walk the world in white,
Send the fire today!

4. To make our weak hearts strong and brave,
Send the fire!
To live a dying world to save,
Send the fire!
Oh, see us on Thy altar lay
Our lives, our all, this very day;
To crown the off’ring now we pray,
Send the fire today!

Your friend and Vicar


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