St Mary Magdalene † St Bartholomew † St Alban †
Sunday 12th June 2011
"Receive the Holy Spirit…” John 20:23
Pentecost is the festival when Christians celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Read Acts 2:2-4) It is celebrated on the Sunday 50 days after Easter; hence the name Pentecost which comes from the Greek pentekoste, meaning "fiftieth". It is also called Whitsun or Whisunday, a name which derives from the white garments worn by catechumens, those expecting to be baptized on that Sunday, as per the old custom.
Pentecost is regarded as the birthday of the Christian church, and the start of the church's mission to the world. On the first Pentecost about 3,000 people were converted and baptized, a real "the birthday of the Church." On this day, with the descent of the Holy Spirit, Christ's mission is completed, and the New Covenant is inaugurated.
Pentecost comes from a Jewish harvest festival called Shavuot. Shavuot also marks the time that the Jews were given the Torah on Mount Sinai. It is quite significant therefore that the apostles were gathered together, celebrating this highly important historical Jewish festival of Shavuot when the Holy Spirit descended on them, a rebirth from the old to the new. The spiritual impact of the outpouring of God’s gifts on the Church in full power at Pentecost is not a myth. Neither is this experience the prerogative or monopoly of the
Pentecostal churches. The Church of God, including the Anglican Church, is essentially Pentecostal in origin and nature. Enjoy the beautiful Liturgy of today; The words of the Collect and the Preface:
Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit…
And cry to the Risen Lord in prayerful demand……
“Lord send out your Spirit and renew the face of the earth”!
And then ..………..open your hearts for God’s Pentecost to happen in your personal life, in our Parish and in all our communities.