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Keeping Pentecost alive through June!

Published: 3rd May 2024

Archdeacon Nikki GroarkeAn article for June editions of parish magazines from the Archdeacon of Dudley, Nikki Groarke.

The day of Pentecost is such a significant one in the church, and yet unlike other major festivals, it is a day rather than a season. I like to think perhaps that is because it is a day equipping us for the whole year ahead. So in the month of June, Pentecost is still fresh in our minds – I hope, and for the rest of the year!

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is not a one-off occurrence just on that one day, rather an ongoing sense of ‘being constantly filled’, filled to overflowing, filled with the abundance God has to offer to his people, filled to be equipped for mission.

Images of the Holy Spirit in the Bible are elemental – water, wind or breath, and tongues of fire – all hard to capture. Jesus speaks of living water flowing from him; he breathes the life of the Holy Spirit into his disciples; on the day of Pentecost the disciples appear to have flames resting on them. The Holy Spirit is somehow uncontainable. I once heard a talk where it was said that if someone is full of the Holy Spirit, when you bump into them, the Holy Spirit immediately spills out.  I’ve been thinking about that a great deal on my runs around our water saturated countryside over these extraordinarily wet first months of the year. It takes only a short shower it seems, for all the streams and rivers to flood once more, because they are full to the brim and there is nowhere for more water to go, other than to spread everywhere.

Think for a moment what the impact in our communities would be, if every church goer was so filled to the brim with the Holy Spirit, that every time they encountered God afresh in worship, the life-giving living water of the Spirit overflowed and spread everywhere, transforming everyone they came across, because there was too much of God for them to hold.

That’s what is promised to us! We don’t just receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we receive all year round, we can be saturated with the Holy Spirit, if we come open to all that God longs to give to us.

In healthy and sustainable churches across Worcestershire and Dudley, I pray that as we come together to worship God, sharing hope and making disciples, we will indeed be those who are equipped to transform our communities, not in our own strength, but through the power of God’s Spirit overflowing from us in abundance. Malcolm Guite, in his sonnet Pentecost, expresses it far more eloquently than I ever could:

Today we feel the wind beneath our wings
Today  the hidden fountain flows and plays
Today the church draws breath at last and sings
As every flame becomes a tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire, air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
And is translated out of death to birth.
The right words come today in their right order
And every word spells freedom and release
Today the gospel crosses every border
All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace
Today the lost are found in His translation.
Whose mother-tongue is Love, in  every nation.

Page last updated: Friday 3rd May 2024 3:48 PM

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