Well today is Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of the church! Its symbolic colour is red, and one of my favourites. Today we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete, the helper, that was promised to the disciples in the days before Jesus ascended into heaven.
Our Pentecost story from Acts tells of the disciples hearing a noise like a roaring wind which filled the house where they were meeting. And then tongues of fire descended upon them and they began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them the ability.
The ability of speaking in languages other than your own is but one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12 tells us that to each one of us are given a variety of gifts from the Holy Spirit, each given for the common good. We may not get all of the gifts that are listed in the 1 Corinthians 12 reading but we are given some of these gifts.
There is a saying that ‘actions speak louder than words’ and I think we could all agree with that. There are always times and places for words but it can be our actions that make the most impact.
What are your spiritual gifts and your spiritual ‘languages’? Is it easier for you to show love and compassion rather than speak it? Or are words the way you would rather share your gifts?
We have been given these gifts for the common good. I think that this is a helpful reminder in an age when people often try to claim that their giftedness by God is only intended to benefit themselves or be part of their own agenda. We aren’t given the gifts of wisdom, prophecy, faith, miracle working, discernment, tongues and their interpretation for our own edification. The gifts of energy, imagination, intelligence and love are given for the benefit of everyone, for the common good.
What are the gifts of the Spirit we need for today, in this time of change and uncertainty? How are we finding new ways to be the church while we can’t gather in person?
This year, our building will be empty, but the church isn’t closed. We will still gather online, and we are still doing the work God has placed before us, which was never confined to the building in the first place. You are being encouraged to wear red, have a candle to light when you share in worship and to colour and display our doves. Let’s show to the world outside our doorsteps that the church is well and truly alive and thriving!