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May 2015 – St Mary’s Great Chart & Singleton
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May 2015

May or sometimes June contains the second (after Easter) most important Festival and Celebration in the church’s year.  It is Pentecost or Whitsun when we celebrate the coming of God’s Holy Spirit upon all people who will receive and welcome the Holy Sprit’s presence in their lives.  Jesus was limited by coming to earth as a human being, but having ascended back into heaven after God raised Him from the dead at Easter, God has come among us mightily by His Holy Spirit to unite us with God in heaven.

And yet Pentecost or Whitsun passes by most people.  It is the origin of our late May Bank Holiday Monday which was traditionally called Whit Monday and what we now call ‘½ term’ was ‘Whit Week’.  Just as Easter changes each year in its date to follow Passover, so Pentecost (literally ‘50th day’) also changes, being 10 days after Ascension day which is always 40 days after Easter and usually also in May.

I often wonder how this has happened?  One reason might be that whilst Christmas is a great celebration as the birth of a baby and right in the middle of our winter to give us something to enjoy and celebrate, God’s Holy Spirit comes usually in a very quiet personal way and we all experience Him in different ways.  Yes the Spirit’s first coming was like a mighty wind and seemed like tongues of fire on Jesus’ followers’ heads, but He also comes as a still gentle whisper.

And most importantly God’s Spirit means that we can actually communicate with God even though He is in heaven.  Another old tradition we have revived is ‘9 days of prayer’ or ‘Novena’ between Ascension Day and Pentecost, a reminder that we wait after Jesus has ascended into heaven for God to send His Holy Spirit upon us.  It is because God has sent His Holy Spirit that we can pray.  God is distant in Heaven and we cannot reach Him.  Jesus came down to earth from Heaven, and has returned again by His Ascension.  God’s Holy Spirit came at Pentecost to be with us for ever.  So whilst we pray to God the Father in the Name of Jesus, we can only pray by the Holy Spirit whom God has given us.

Most people admit to praying in some way to someone or something, maybe just as expressing wishes or desires.  Because the Holy Spirit is with us we can actually communicate, meet with, talk with God Himself!  This year the last day of May is Trinity Sunday.  Trinity Sunday is when we are reminded as Christians we worship one God, but who is known and revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  And God reveals Himself in this way because He loves us and wants to communicate with us and we with Him.  So God is still great and perfect in Heaven.  God came down in Jesus to die and rise again for us.  God has come down by His Sprit to be with us, guide us, strengthen us, protect us.

Pentecost may have become the forgotten festival.  But it’s significance is vitally important.  Because God has sent His Holy Spirit we can communicate with God himself.  God does communicate sometimes in wind and fire, but mostly to us in a quiet and gentle way as we pray.  So do speak with God.  We can all do it as we pray.  But we can only do it because God has sent His Holy Spirit to be alongside us for ever.

Timothy Wilson


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