July 2017

Let's harvest the power of the Pentecost!

I really am looking forward to being the minister in St John the Baptist, St Giles and All Saints especially during this season of Pentecost; I guess you are looking forward as well. I am also sure that there will be many expectations and musings and even hustings on what I should do, when I am in post? As I write this, I have Radio 4 playing in the background and I have just heard the news headlines that are being considered by the various newspaper editors. The one that grabbed my attention the most is "None of the Above!" The editor was going to list all the political parties and then state, "none of the above". According to this editor all the parties have lost in some way and they had better listen to the electorate. As I come to you, let us be willing (including myself) to say "none of the above" to all our expectations and what we think should happen and let us listen to God - to what he has to say and expects us to be and do.

I am praying that God will pour out his blessing upon the people of our three villages because that is what God does. Pentecost is a season of blessing from God to the entire world. He sent His Holy Spirit to give birth to what we call the church. If you wanted to send the church a birthday card and light the almost 2000 candles (1987 to be exact) then June 4th 2017 would have been appropriate, the Anglican Church had chosen to celebrate it on that date this year.

Of course, when we mention the word "church" is what comes to mind a building? However, it is interesting that the New Testament never refers to the church as a building but a people. It is a gathering of people that are "called out" that the bible refers to as the church. My last public ministry in Nantwich was on Pentecost Sunday and on that day, I can remember prayers being said on my behalf and for the people of Stanbridge, Tilsworth and Totternhoe as I take the awe-inspiring responsibility of being the Parish Priest of the TST benefice.

The word Pentecost is derived from the Greek, a word meaning "fiftieth" which stood for the festival celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover. In the Jewish world Jesus grew up in, it will have been called "Shavuot" - meaning weeks. Further, it is referred to as the "feast of weeks" because it occurs seven weeks after Passover. And we Christians find Passover significant as well because Jesus died on the day of Passover for the sins of humanity, in April 30 AD. Other names include the Feast of Harvest because of its relationship with the harvest season and the Day of First Fruits because two loaves of newly ground grain were presented before the Lord.

It is significant to me that I come during this season of blessing, harvest and offering in which we are reminded that God sent His Holy Spirit because we need His Spirit. Without him we cannot do much. Jesus said, "But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you". This "advocate" is the Holy Spirit who is helping us, the church, with God's power. He will also stay with us forever. We know for sure Jesus is praying for us in heaven, however the Holy Spirit is now on earth enabling us to live a Christian life and helping us to understand what Jesus has done for us whilst enabling us to experience God's love. God gave us first fruits in those who came to receive the Holy Spirit when the Spirit came with the sound of a wind, the vision of fiery tongues and the utterance of foreign languages.

There is much harvesting to do in the three villages. So, let us pray and depend on the Holy Spirit to enable us the same way he enabled Peter and the other disciples. Peter denied that he was with Jesus and the others were afraid and were behind locked doors. But they were transformed to proclaim the good news of Jesus' death and resurrection and the forgiveness of sins by what happened at Pentecost. Now that is arguably the most populous movement in the globe having started with just 120. Whilst we say "None of the Above" lets us at the same time say "only from The One Above".


Kaushal David