19th May – Andrea’s Letter: Pentecost

20th May 2024

Pentecost      Whit Sunday    St Andrew’s Milngavie 2024
Today we celebrated the great feast of Pentecost.
Don’t forget this afternoon 4pm Milngavie Choir Concert at St Joseph’s . Tickets available on the door.
Yesterday a dozen of us had a lovely trip to Inchmahome.  The sun shone and picnics were consumed in the beautiful spring surroundings of the island. Many thanks to Tim and Jane for organising this.

Harry has very kindly offered to produce a monthly church newsletter. Any contributions to the publication will be warmly received – stories, pictures, articles, any thing of interest, please send to me and I can forward them to Harry.

The Music and Flower Festival is on Saturday June 1st in the church.  Volunteers are required to do an hourly stint to welcome visitors to the church – there is a list on the flower cupboard door.  The music will be provided by students from the Haydock School of music.

This Week
Tuesday 10am – Prayer Group in the Garden Room.
Thursday 10am – Said Holy Communion followed by coffee in Friendship House

Readings for next Sunday – Trinity Sunday     Isaiah 6:1-8     Romans 8:12-17   John 3:1-17

Today’s readings – Acts 2:1-21,  Romans 8:22-27,  John 15:26-27,16:4-15

Most of us find waiting tiresome – at best it’s a bore and at worse it makes us anxious, particularly if there is little or nothing, we can do to control events.

It was the same for the disciples after the ascension of Christ. As instructed by Jesus they went to Jerusalem to wait for a sign that would be given to them, there they waited tense and anxiously for what would happen next, at a loss to know what to do.  They had lost their leader, their guide, the person who had inspired and encouraged them.  Their lives had lost its structure.

But then came the feast of Pentecost. This was an important Jewish festival which all had to attend. They came from several different countries creating a huge international crowd  and this made the conditions perfect for the events of Pentecost, the dramatic descending of the Holy Spirit.  A spirit which enabled and empowered all who were there to take the good news of the gospel and these remarkable events back to their own countries.

What happened to the apostles on that day of Pentecost was dramatic and startling, as the apostles waited there bemused and unsure, the Holy Spirit came upon them in the shape of a great wind, blowing away their fears, doubts and flagging faith, renewing them with energy and a desire to embrace God and life.

It gave them a new spirit and confidence that they had never felt before. It was so great it affected all around them causing chaos and fear until Peter speaks up. He preaches the word of God explaining that this is the fulfilment of scripture.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, he urges them to repent and be baptised.

“ Repent and be baptised, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ….And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away Everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him”  Acts 2:38

So, we too are called by the spirit, that is the wonder of Pentecost.  What the disciples experienced on that day gave them the strength and confidence to start the early Christian Church, without that we would not be here today. In the same way it inspires us. When Jesus ascended into heaven, he left the disciples with the words.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.”  Matthew 28:19

He was then handing the tools of his trade over to his disciples.  It was now their responsibility to spread the Good News of Christ throughout the world and from generation to generation.  And the most amazing thing was that is exactly what has happened!  It is incredible to think that two thousand years later several thousand miles from Jerusalem we are here remembering this day of Pentecost.

That is the power of the Holy Spirit!

So, we may wonder how the spirit moves for us today.  We may also wish to reflect on our lives and consider the times when we have felt the spirit has moved us, carried us or guided us.

If we want to find God, we must look not only outwards to the world he created but inwards into our own hearts. And we must look into the eyes of each other and see God there.  We belong together because of the spirit we share.

The challenge of Pentecost for us is the recognition that God’s spirit does work in all of us.  This is described beautifully in Paul’s letter to the Romans this morning.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”   Romans 8:26

And so now it is our responsibility to use these gifts to carry Christ’s cross and to reach out as the original apostles did all these years ago to all around us, to be moved by the spirit.

St. Teresa of Avila – a 16th century Spanish mystic captured it so well and is often quoted at Pentecost when she wrote:

“Christ has no body now but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion must look out on the world.
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless us now.”

And so, Christ does bless us. We are all here and despite an increasingly secular age our churches continue to exist and in numerous cases even thrive.  Many are called to his service. But we need to pray earnestly for the Holy Spirit, for our advocate as Jesus says in St John’s gospel.

“The father will give you another advocate To be with you for ever…. This is the spirit of truth”   John 14:16

God does not expect us to function alone, through the spirit he is with us, helping and guiding us but we do need to pray. This Pentecost may we welcome the gift of the spirit into our lives anew and be thankful and rejoice that the spirit is with us, renewing transforming us and inspiring us in all that we do.