The Holy Spirit at work.
Acts 2:1-21; Genesis 11:1-9; Psalm 104:24-34, 35b; Romans 8:14-17; John 14:8-17 (25-27)
On this Pentecost Sunday, we find the Holy Spirit at work throughout these passages: promised by Jesus in the gospel of John, poured out on believers from all nations at Pentecost, and referenced again in Romans to remind readers of their adoption as children of God.
Indeed, this Advocate is poured out on people from a variety of cultural and national backgrounds, and on both men and women. What a beautiful reminder of the strength and richness of inviting diverse voices to the table!
This is echoed by the story of the tower of Babel, where God observes that when people work together, ‘nothing they plan to do will be impossible to them.’ If only we could turn that kind of communal effort against injustice and poverty - think of what could be reconciled!
Christian Aid’s new Global Strategy aims to do just that, including a commitment to ‘connect the many voices from every country where we are present to dismantle the systemic causes of poverty and amplify our desire for justice.’
Before Pentecost, Jesus promises his disciples that he will send the Spirit to them. In a few sentences, Jesus establishes himself as the embodiment of the Father, and challenges his disciples to ‘do the works he has been doing.’ A reflection on the life and ministry of Jesus suggests that these ‘works’ include quite a lot of healing, comforting, including and empowering – true works of justice! By standing together for dignity and equality, as Christian Aid endeavours to do, we continue to live out this mandate, to live as Jesus lived because of our belief in his reflection of the will and heart of God.
Wednesday 5 June was World Environment Day. As we grieve at the recent reports regarding the chaotic state of our climate, we can and should lament the destruction of our planet.
Today’s psalm is rich in natural imagery – the sea ‘teeming with creatures,’ the frolicking Leviathan, the mighty smoking mountains. Human industry is acknowledged by the ships on the sea, but these endeavours coexist with the life below the surface. The psalmist speaks poetically about the importance of biodiversity, the abundance of living things on land and sea, great and small, ‘creatures beyond number,’ all looking to God as their creator, carer and source of renewal. Through this beautiful diversity, God’s glory and wisdom are made apparent. God rejoices in the work of creation, and the psalmist prays that the glory of the Lord will endure forever. As we face our human complicity in climate chaos and seek to move forward as agents of reconciliation, let us take up this prayer as our own.
We believe that your glory will endure forever
How great is your love for us, beyond comprehension
That you would adopt us into relationship with you
Not only that, but that you call us
Empowered by the gift of your spirit
And inspired by the example of your son
To be ambassadors of your reconciliation
Working to bring about renewal and equality through all creation
We lament the ways we lose sight of this calling
And ask that you would renew in us a fervour
To work for justice in the places and communities where we find ourselves
May your glory endure forever
This Pentecost we praise God for the ACT Alliance, a coalition of 151 churches and faith-based organisations working together to make the world a better place in over 125 countries across the world.
Pray the mass lobby on the 26th June will be well attended sending a clear message to politicians tha the Time is Now to care for creation.
12 June is the World Day Against Child Labour – pray for the day when no child misses out on childhood and education.
Published on 30 May 2019