Welcome to Sunday@Seven at home! The church scattered but together. Our theme this Pentecost is: ‘The Power to Glow’.
Pentecost is traditionally taken as the birth of the church, initiated by the coming of the Holy Spirit on the apostles and all those with them. The Holy Spirit is often depicted as tongues of fire or hearts burning within us. So, with all this reference to heat we should expect a glow when we find the Spirit has come upon us.
During our time together this evening, I would like to suggest that each of us might take a moment to look within ourselves to answer some questions:
Do we remember that moment when we accepted the gift of the Holy Spirit? Did we flare up? Were we on fire for Jesus?
Are we still aflame? Are we glowing right now?
Where the fire once burned strongly is it now down to the embers?
Do we pray asking for spiritual top-ups? Are we like the embers in the grate – do we need prodding to life?
Is the heat still there but another log needs to be thrown on to make us burst into flame again?
Acts 2:13 Some made fun of them and said “They have had too much wine”…
I bet most of us – though perhaps not all – have had experience of that. The alcohol-fuelled moments of doing things we wouldn’t think of doing otherwise. The dad dancing, the karaoke sing-along. I can’t say that I recall suddenly acquiring new foreign languages but there has been plenty of gobbledegook!
What I can remember is my first experience of being called by Jesus and that feeling of the Holy Spirit coming on me. I was buzzing, excited, the adrenaline rush, wanting to know more, to be involved, to do more. I couldn’t get enough.
Soon, I found myself doing things I would never have believed of myself. Things like, going down to the local Christian Bookshop and buying Bibles for myself and all the family. My children, and others around me, looked on and wondered just what is Dad up to? Bear with him, he’ll be through it soon – hopefully! I’m sure we all have similar stories to tell!
Very nearly gone
That was 1983. Since then the initial fire has died down and to be honest at times very nearly gone out – but somehow the Lord kept the embers glowing and there have been many moments of the flames coming again. The buzz and excitement returns and I find myself in situations I would never have put myself in – like now, not only leading worship, but doing it online… That Holy Spirit has much to answer for!
This Pentecost, I have to tell you that I am in a time of buzz and spiritual fire just now. The embers have been poked and the flames are reaching up. This time of enforced lock-down has given me time to reflect and ponder; to pray and read scripture. And doing Spring Harvest on-line just gave confirmation to the pondering.
There is lots I would like to share with you but Zoom time does not allow. Hopefully, when we get back together in person, we can talk it through.
Can I just say this though: I am convinced that we, the church, all need to allow the Holy Spirit to refill us and fire us up. We need to be disturbed from our comfort and contentment of just ticking-over with church activity – such as it is. We need the fire again and we must not be afraid to allow the Spirit to get us going.
Playing with fire
Do you remember the Rolling Stones song: “Playing with fire”, which highlighted how unpredictable and dangerous that can be? I was listening to the song recently and it made me wonder if church generally is more than a little wary of the fire of the Holy Spirit because it can upset the comfortable and safe order of church life.
In John 3:8, Jesus tells us that the Spirit cannot be controlled:
“It’s like the wind, blowing where it wishes. You may hear the sound it makes but not where it comes from, nor where it is going. It is like that with everyone born of the Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit can lead us into doing things that we never dreamt of. And that may be scary! Look what Jesus led his disciples into. He challenged and provoked his disciples into action.
My Spirit on ALL people
Can I recommend that we all have a read of the Acts of the Apostles and be excited and re-invigorated all over again? “As was spoken by the prophet Joel, God says I will pour out my Spirit on all people.” The Spirit is for each one of us. Not just for particular people. It’s for all people.
Do you remember ‘Citizen Smith’, the sit-com of the late 70’s, with Robert Lindsey as ‘Wolfie’ Smith, the young Marxist urban guerrilla? His mantra was: “Power to the people”.
That’s what we need this Pentecost – power for the people of God. The power to glow and burst into flame! The power to mobilise us again. To break through the cosiness and comfort within the walls of our buildings – and take the gospel out into the community around us! Amen
This ‘Power to Glow‘ reflection was prepared by Nigel Silvester to be given at our on-line version of Sunday@Seven on Pentecost Sunday, May 31st 2020. We’re publishing it in advance so that people have chance to think about what Nigel has to say before the day. If you’d like to add a comment then please use the space below.
Our next Sunday@Seven service after this will be on June 28th 2020. It will be entitled: ‘A Gospel to Proclaim’. For Nigel’s last Sunday@Seven thoughts, called: ‘Yes, He lives!’, please follow this link.