Sunday 20th May 2018
Pentecost

Acts 2:1-21; Psalm 104: 25-35,37; Romans 8:22-27; John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

(Alternatives: Ezekiel 37:1-14)

On this day we remember the coming of the Spirit, transforming the disciples and breathing life and power into the infant church, it is a day that many describe as the “birthday of the church”. There are many potential applications for the everyday world of work and commerce. Jerusalem was a difficult and threatening place for the Early Believers; it was through the power of the Spirit that they found the strength and wisdom to become faithful witnesses. Many Christians find work a difficult place to live and act as people of faith; there is clear opportunity to pray for the Spirit’s strength and enabling in this context. Our workplaces will be diverse and different; just as the crowd who gathered on the day of Pentecost represented a huge variety of places and languages. We might pause to reflect on how we “translate” the hallmarks and principles of our faith into the various contexts with which we engage in our everyday lives. We remember of course that it was the Holy Spirit who enabled this to happen - the Spirit comes that we might make Christ known to the wider world.

Pentecost offers a powerful contemporary message as it echoes the account, in Genesis 10, of the Tower of Babel. Here the diverse languages and nations are explained as God’s response to humanity’s pride and lust for power and prestige. The organisations that tend to bring people together from across the globe today are often multi-national business corporations - the common language of our world is probably economics; profit, loss and bottom-line. We might even reflect on how the internet has created a world community, drawing people of every language and nation into on-line conversations and information sharing. (Google can even do the translating!) This provides a moment to pause and to recognise that at the heart of our faith is a belief that nations should be drawn togetherunder Christ’s righteous rule; this is the work of God’s Spirit. Our work might even be part of that. Opportunity could be taken to pray that those who have such widespread influence might know God’s help to use it well.