• Paul Burkitt

Thoughts on Pentecost

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters

(Genesis 1.v1)

From the beginning of created time, (and before), the Holy Spirit has always been present and active, whether we creatures have known or not. When, throughout history, we have experienced something of this holy activity we have taken resort to symbols, namely, ‘something like as to’ wind, fire, or water. We creatures humbly create images to try to understand the Uncreated!

Whichever element we might choose, the work of the Holy Spirit is life giving, life enhancing. One definition of life is, constant change. This is the ongoing process of creating, where old forms and for-mulas and patterns have to fall away, dissolve or literally be scrapped before the rebuilding can begin, before new shoots of new green can sprout. We can only offer ourselves to be moulded constantly by the Spirit we worship.

Wherever the Holy Spirit is at work there is change, there is a Divine disruption. According to St. Luke, (Acts of the Apostles 2. vv. 1-4) on the day we celebrate as Pentecost, (Jewish Feast of First Fruits), the assembled disciples heard a sound like the wind, they saw what seemed like flames of fire. This was their experience of the down-pour of the Holy Spirit upon them. Like the waiting earth of Genesis, the disciples had been formless and empty but as the Holy Spirit moved upon them there was a cataclysmic shift out of their expectant unknowing.

The Church was birthed on that day and thereafter, members now sought guidance, wisdom and understanding in the ways of the God of Spirit. St Paul had it when he wrote to the church at Corinth, ‘But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deepest secrets’. (1 Corinthians 2.10).

The Holy Spirit is a person, as fully God as the Father and the Son. We remember, that on the night before he died, Jesus told his disciples that they would receive the Holy Spirit and He would lead us into a new intimacy with God, with each other and all creation. We are asked to live within the very breath of God, to live inspirational lives as we invite the Holy Spirit to indwell our very selves. St Paul again helps us and reminds us that the gifts of the spirit are for the building up of the Church, (1 Corinthians ch.12). Then again, St Paul also guides his flocks beyond any instantaneous spiritual events towards the longevity of the baptised life, a life within which the fruits of the spirit slowly ripen. Such fruits quietly channel a sheer goodness into this troubled world which is, of course, another form of Divine disruption seeking for a new creation.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Since we live by the Spirit let us keep in step with the Spirit’. (Galatians ch.5 vv. 22-23, 25).

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.


The Parish Link is able to be downloaded here.

Parish Link 23 05 2021
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