Church of England Diocese of Birmingham Frankley

Infected With Life

17 May 2020, 2 a.m.

Having been hiding away and avoiding the unseen enemy of COVID 19 with its threat of debilitating illness and death for the last two months we could do with being flooded with life.

American suggestions (that President Trump appeared to be treating seriously) of injecting those who were ill with disinfectant and ultra violet light would be disastrous, killing patients more quickly than the virus would.

Jesus, in our readings offers us the promise of an unseen gift which will dwell with us forever.

The promised Holy Spirit will abide with us and dwell within us. We will recognise his presence and come to know his promptings even though others will not see him at work in us.

Jesus calls him the “Spirit of truth.” He will help us to live truthful and holy lives and help us to love the Lord Jesus more and keep his commandments.

In the original Greek, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit our “paraclete, the one who is called to come alongside us.” In the NRSV version of John 14 it is translated “advocate” because it is often used of one called to help in a law court. The Holy Spirit is on our side and gives us the words we need to speak for God in difficult situations.

In other versions, the word is translated as helper, encourager, counsellor or comforter. The Holy Spirit gives us courage to cope with life when we are depressed and dispirited

Jesus said he would not leave us as orphans. The Holy Spirit enables us to feel part of God’s family. He enables our Heavenly Father and Lord Jesus to become more real to us and for us to have a relationship of love in which we feel at home and God feels at home in us.

This Thursday is Ascension Day when we celebrate the return of Jesus to heaven. His friends could no longer see him with their earthly eyes, but once the Holy Spirit had flooded their beings, they could see and hear him through the Holy Spirit.

Peter makes it clear in his letter that the Holy Spirit will not necessarily stop us suffering and dying. Jesus “was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit.” It was because he died that he was able to proclaim freedom to those who died during the time of Noah because of their unbelief.

The Holy Spirit enables us to do God’s work both in this age and in the world to come. Jesus sends his Spirit upon us so that we might know him. Unlike the people in Athens whom Paul preached to who worshipped the unknown God, he longs for us to live and move and have our being in him. He longs that our friends and family come to know his love too.

From Ascension day until the Day of Pentecost, we are entering a special time of prayer called, “Thy Kingdom Come,” when along with Christians throughout the world we pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit who brings life and we pray for three friends and members of our family by name that they may believe in Jesus and be filled with his Spirit.

(There are resources on the Church of England “Thy Kingdom Come” website both for families and for those of us who are on our own. Do down load them and ask if you have difficulty finding them)