Fr. CARL SERMONS
Hi to all of you. I hope you’re keeping well and safe? Throughout Lockdown, we have continued through Lent, celebrated Easter, the Ascension and today we celebrate Pentecost, when we recall the Holy Spirit descending or being breathed upon the disciples.
As Christians, Pentecost is something we should get quite excited about, because without the Holy Spirit there would be no sacraments, no Christians, no Church. If there was a church it would probably be a few frightened, inward looking people who gathered together in secret. The gospel wouldn’t have got very far in the world. Infact, we would as this small insignificant body, be a bit like a group who are orphaned from the Jesus they love, taking comfort from the stories of Jesus in the gospels, but at the same time feel a bit lost without the physical presence of Jesus to guide us and lead us.
Thankfully, this is not so. The descent of the Holy Spirit upon those Apostles which we hear about in our reading from Acts was an act of empowerment from God, to if you like kick start those first Christians into action, so that they were able to do God’s work on this earth and establish the church as the Body of Christ. The Spirit of Pentecost was the electric current to get things moving and it happened in a dramatic way.
As we hear,
‘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.’
The speaking in different languages was an indication that the church would become a universal church, which the disciples would take to all nations, peoples and tongues. They now had a strength, power and confidence which they never could have imagined only a few minutes before.
And it didn’t just stop there. Throughout the ages the Holy Spirit has given God’s people the boldness and courage to live the Christian faith and tell the world about Jesus, in all manner of ways.
And this carries on as the church continues to tell the world about Jesus today, through Facebook, through websites, through Youtube, through Zoom and in more traditional ways, some of which is absent at the moment with church buildings being locked. Yes our churches are locked and we naturally feel sad that such holy places are inaccessible. We desire to enter that building again. When the day comes it will be good. But of course we must remember that much of what we are about as Christians is living with the spirit of going out, being sent out.
Jesus says to the disciples in our gospel reading from John.
‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me so I send you.’ And then he breathes on them and says. ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’
Next time we are gathered together as church whether it’s on Zoom or when we are next gathered together in the church building, let’s really feel in our hearts those words the priest says at the end of the Eucharist. ‘Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord.’ And as we go out into our lives and the lives of others, in whatever fashion, whether it’s two metres apart or on Facetime, or on the phone, let’s remember that we are not alone. The power of the Spirit is with us as the words from another part of John’s Gospel remind us. In John 14 Jesus promises another helper to his disciples when he says.
‘If you love me keep my commandments. And I will pray to the Father and he will give you another Helper, that he may abide with you forever, the Spirit of Truth’, and Jesus goes on to say. ‘for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.’
Encouraging words that remind us that we are not separated from Jesus as orphans. For his ways live in us in the Spirit of Truth whose energy drives us out, and pushes us away from any fears and trepidations that might hold us back.
So we might too, feel the breath of Jesus and go where he sends us!
Sixth Sunday of Easter Sermon download HERE
Fifth Sunday of Easter Sermon download HERE
Fourth Sunday of Easter Sermon download HERE
Third Sunday of Easter Sermon download HERE
Second Sunday of Easter Sermon download HERE
Easter Sunday Sermon download HERE
MAUNDY THURSDAY ADDRESS - download is HERE
PALM SUNDAY SERMON - download is HERE