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Weekly worship: Sunday 20 May

Be transformed and moved to act in love.

Marcelin with daughters in Haiti

Readings

Acts 2:1-21 or Ezekiel 37:1-14

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

Romans 8:22-27 or Acts 2:1-21

John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

Haiti hits the headlines periodically, usually when disaster has struck and the people desperately need help. But even when the media is silent, life can be unimaginably tough for most Haitians. Hurricanes strike most years, and even the weaker ones are destructive.

The really strong hurricanes leave complete devastation in their wake. Houses, animals and the things people rely on to earn a living are swept away. Haitians are strong, resilient people - they’re fighters, not just survivors. But they’re only so strong. There’s a limit to what anyone can endure.

With unimaginable natural disasters hitting Haiti again and again, it’s easy to imagine just giving up. But there is hope – and we can help our neighbours rebuild their lives.

Sometimes it can be tempting to doubt how much of a difference we’re making. But scripture assures us that our work to bring God’s kingdom closer is right – and that it will ultimately win.

People like Marcelin, battered and weakened, surviving against the odds, can be given a new future. Vilia was in an utterly desperate situation, but with help from Christian Aid’s partner she has found new strength for herself, her family and her neighbours.

The transformation in Vilia’s life is the good news. This is God’s resurrection love in action.

On Pentecost Sunday, we’re commissioned to take the good news far and wide. And God, when sending the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that first Pentecost, did it perfectly. It was synchronised with the Jewish harvest festival Shavuot, where there would be people from different parts of the world present. Why did God do that? To signify that the gospel and the liberating power of the Holy Spirit is intended for everyone. The good news isn’t just for people in one place, but for every one of our neighbours – including neighbours across the globe.

Acts conjures up an amazing scene of people from so many different places who, though they speak their own language, can all of a sudden understand each other through the Holy Spirit.

How can we capture this community through God today?

Look at all that is happening in our world, and open your hearts to what you see – when we do this, we see that language is no barrier to understanding what needs to be done. Pain, fear, sorrow and injustice transcend all languages. Love, joy and justice transcend all languages.

Pointers for prayer

Praise God for the 21st year of the Circle the City walk around London today on Sunday 20 May. Pray for all those helping with the activities to be encouraged, and for all those taking part to enjoy it and raise vital funds.

Pray for a wonderful Christian Aid presence at Heart and Soul, the annual celebration of the life and work of the Church of Scotland, in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh on 20 May.

Give thanks for these events and for people stepping out in mission and prayer this Christian Aid Week.

Pray that many will see them and be amazed.