Church of England Diocese of Norwich St. Peter, Sheringham

Message from the Vicar for Pentecost

31 May 2020, 1 a.m.

Sunday, 31st May is ‘Pentecost’ in the Church’s calendar.

We have relived the cycle of Jesus’ life in our Church calendar’s Bible readings during the last 5 months - his birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection and ascension. However, we are detached admirers of this amazing story without the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Pentecost is the mightiest festival of them all because on this day we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus, the Spirit sent by Jesus, the memory of Jesus’ example and sacrificial love.

At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit entered the hearts of the disciples and surrounded them. The Holy Spirit can enter our hearts and surround us with love too. The Spirit can enliven us and powerfully activate and encourage our individual gifts in a way that gives us new life and helps us to transform our own lives and the lives of others with whom we live in community. We are transformed by the Holy Spirit, individually and collectively, into the people God wants us to be. That is, a people filled with sacrificial love for each other.

Such sacrificial love has been very evident in our hospitals, care homes and throughout our communities during Lockdown. Ultimately, sacrificial love should be the foundation stone upon which our new post-lockdown society is built. Whether this happens, or doesn’t happen, is up to us...

On the day of Pentecost one amazing way the Holy Spirit began to transform lives was through the power of effective communication. We read in our scriptures that at Pentecost people everywhere heard the ‘Good News’ of Jesus’ love in their own language. Jesus’ love was effectively communicated to all.

Communication has been a great talking point during Lockdown. This last week we have all seen how mixed messaging and confused communication can drastically affect a nation’s understanding of what we can or cannot do in this time of crisis. Today, US cities burn because the message of racial equality has yet to be truly heard and understood by all.

Pentecost celebrates the possibilities that transformation and effective communication can have on us all. It is the potential not yet realised, the life not yet embraced, the spiritual high not yet climbed, the God who is nearer than breathing, indeed in our breathing, whose Spirit is the source of love and power to change the world.

Embrace the gift of the Holy Spirit this Pentecost and get ready to communicate how our world needs to be transformed for the better to all those who mistakenly think they have all the answers.

Every blessing,