5th June – Andrea’s Letter: Pentecost

7th June 2022

Whit Sunday Feast of Pentecost 2022 St Andrew’s Milngavie

Dear All
Today we gathered to celebrate Whit Sunday, the of Pentecost and to give thanks to Her Majesty the Queen as we celebrate her Platinum Jubilee.
We were all in good voice enjoying Gordon’s choice of hymns.  We were also treated to some lovely music provided by Geoff and Penny as they performed two pieces by Elgar during the offertory.  Robert began the service with a recording of Handle’s Zadok the Priest.  The church still looked beautiful this morning with many of the gorgeous flower arrangements remaining from yesterday.
A big thank you to all who helped with the Flower Show in church yesterday.  Over £300 was raised for Water Aid.  Many of the Milngavie churches took part offering their own displays of blooms creating a magnificent sight focusing on the Queen’s Jubilee.  Friendship House also had a busy day serving teas and cakes.

Any offerings for Christian Aid Week can still be submitted.  You can donate via envelope, available at church and returned, or via the internet – there is an e-envelope in the name of Milngavie –  e-envelope | Christian Aid Week

Notices for this week:
Tuesday 10am Prayer Group in the Garden Room.
Thursday 10am Said Eucharist followed by coffee in Friendship House
Thursday   9th June 7pm -8.30pm Talk and Exhibition at Gavin’s Mill – Stitches for Survival at COP26
Saturday 18th June 2pm -4pm Summer Tea Party and Stalls in the hall and garden – volunteers also required to cover stalls and provide tea and service.

Readings for next Sunday – Trinity Sunday   Proverbs 8:1-4,22-31   Romans 5:1-5    John 16:12-15

Today’s Readings – Acts 2:1-22     Romans 8 :14- 17    John 14:8-27

As I was watching the service of thanksgiving to celebrate the Queen’s extraordinary 70 year reign on Friday I was reminded that there is nothing like a great church service to commemorate a special occasion. I’m sure most people would agree that there is something magical, uplifting, and special about a large ceremonial act of worship, even for those who rarely, if ever, attend. All the trappings are there: music, rituals, processions, elaborate robes, glorious flower arrangements, choirs in full voice and organs playing with all the stops pulled out.   The congregation in their best clothes.  Everybody and everything look festive.

Such is the scene for most weddings, ordinations, confirmations and even baptisms. They are occasions to be celebrated and a chance for the church to dress up and its occupants have a ball. Over the top perhaps, some may feel, and there is always a danger that the worship becomes more of a show, a drama, a production and less about the act of worship itself, the worship of God.

An understandable concern, but I think it misses a valuable point. For at the heart of all these services is a Holy Sacrament. There are the sacraments of ordination, consecration, marriage, baptism and for the monarchy the coronation. At these most holy acts of worship the Holy Spirit is earnestly prayed for and call down, in other words invoked, upon the soul of the recipient, in order to empower enrich and equip him or her for the task and vocation ahead. That is the function of a sacrament.

In true sacramental nature spiritual transformation occurs through a tangible vehicle.    Its baptism its water, in ordination it’s through anointing, in marriage through the blessing and exchanging of rings, at a coronation through a crown. So, amid all the pomp and ceremony, flowers and pretty frocks a true holy mystery is occurring bringing spiritual transformation and renewal.

At her coronation the Queen received the power of the Holy Spirit to enable and enrich her reign, to underpin her soul, to equip her for the task of monarch. Time and again in her Christmas broadcasts the Queen has referred to her Christian faith, how the Holy Spirit has given her strength and how the teachings of Christ have given her a framework or structure on which to pin her reign.

Today is Whit Sunday or Pentecost, the day we celebrate the pouring out of the Holy spirit upon the first apostles and disciples. And what a scene that was!  The Holy Spirit may not have appeared in a conventional act of worship, but it certainly had a drama of its own with fire and thousands speaking in tongues – it was no ordinary event! And its effect was extraordinary! God doesn’t appear solely in the mundane!

“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”   Acts 2:2-4

The very energy and life of God was being given to them; but no one can receive the spirit of God and remain unchanged.  The disciples discovered they were able to speak in foreign tongues.  They found a courage they had never known before in preaching the Good News.  With the energy of God flowing through them they showed new life and growth in a way that, only weeks before, would have seemed like a dream. This new life of the Spirit had come to the apostles when they were at their lowest ebb, shut away in a room, paralysed by fear, confused and disillusioned.

As we continue to face uncertain times, our prayer this Pentecost is that we may also receive afresh the gift of the Spirit; that it may enlighten and renew our souls, bringing us courage and hope as it did to the apostles. God does not expect us to function alone in this life. Through the spirit he is with us. It is this Spirit which has sustained God’s people throughout many centuries especially in times of plague and war.

The same Spirit which has sustained our Queen as she has reigned and led the nation through decades of change and upheaval and through the routine ups and downs of her own private life.

Today we celebrate the power of the Holy Spirit which is prayed for most earnestly at services of major importance like weddings ordinations and the coronation but also is prayed for daily and received weekly in the bread and wine which we share at the Eucharist reminding us, through the Holy Mysteries, of Christ presence with us and his abiding love for us today and always.