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Thought for the Day - June 1st

Published by Michael Topple on Mon, 1 Jun 2020 09:46
Church Without Walls

Thought for the Day: Pentecost, Monday 1 June

‘When the day of Pentecost had come… All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.’ Acts 2:1,4

Pentecost or Whitsun is the day we celebrate the birth of the Church. It is the day that we remember and celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit who equips the disciples, both then and now, with power and boldness to share the Good news of Jesus’ love for us. More than that, he comes to all who seek him as comforter, helper, counsellor and advocate (John 14-17). On the first Pentecost, Peter, a Galilean fisherman who had not long ago denied that he even knew Jesus, preached his first sermon and about 3000 people believed, repented and were baptised.  The Church was born!

A few years ago, at a conference at Essex University organised by Bishop Stephen, I listened to and met Father Raniero Cantalamessa. He is a Catholic priest and Franciscan monk – one of the most gracious and humble men I have ever heard speak even though he is a former professor of Theology at a university in Milan, and (since 1980) was Chaplain to the Pope (though he may not be now). What comes through powerfully is his love for God and the presence of the Holy Spirit in his life. He told us that for a lot of his life his knowledge of God and of Christ was head knowledge. One day, at a gathering with some Catholics who were open to the power of God at work in them through the Holy Spirit, he prayed for the Holy Spirit to become more real in his life. He said at first it seemed as if nothing had happened, but after a while, he realised that what he had known in his head about God, had moved to his heart. He was becoming ‘filled with the Holy Spirit.’ I know a little about this, because it is part of my Christian journey too. 

How can we be filled with the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit? We simply need to pray ‘Come, Holy Spirit. Fill my life with your power, your purpose and your presence.’ I came across this poem, written by Ulrich Schaffer, when I was praying and preparing for Pentecost:

I sense your drive
to flow through me
into the smallest bloodvessels
because you want to be my heartblood
in all the passages of my life
And you want to become visible in the leaves
and the Fruit that I bear

Spread out in me
Press forward Penetrate Pierce and flow
even if at times I want to repel this invitation
being afraid of your ways with me

Circulate in me
Change and renew
because I know
that only Your Spirit
can bring real life and fruit

Yesterday, Archbishop Justin Welby, together with many contributors including Pope Francis, broadcast a Pentecost Service. It’s here if you’d like to watch and worship: https://youtu.be/UvNuebjkSM4

A prayer for Pentecost:

Holy Spirit, sent by the Father,
ignite in us your holy fire;
strengthen your children
with the gift of faith,
revive your Church
with the breath of love,
and renew the face of the earth,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.