Pentecost How can we possibly be at Pentecost already? And yet in many ways Easter feels a long, long time ago. We are Easter people and rejoice in the resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Today we remember how God’s gift of the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples. Pentecost has its roots in the Jewish Feast of Weeks, which was completed the fiftieth day of the Passsover. God sends his Holy Spirit to empower the Church to continue Christ’s work here on earth. The Church is now to be Christ’s new body on earth, filled with his life through the gift of the Holy Spirit. These thoughts are called ‘Meditation of Barnabas’ from ‘Reflective Services for Lent, Holy Week and Easter’ by Nick Fawcett. It wasn’t much of a gift; at least I didn’t think so. In fact, I didn’t feel I had a gift at all, not like the rest of them with all their stunning signs and wonders. I envied them sometimes, so often in the limelight, stealing all the headlines – prophets, teachers, workers of miracles, speakers of tongues. They were the ones who drew the crowds, the ones who people noticed, and all I did was plod quietly along, living the faith in my own simple way, speaking and doing and caring and sharing as I believed Christ would have me do. And then they gave me this name – Barnabas, ‘Son of Encouragement.’ It was all so unexpected, a complete surprise, for what had I done to deserve any such honour. But then they told me, one by one, that of all the gifts they valued, mine was chief among them. A generous gesture, a word or praise, an expression of trust, an act of love – not causing gasps, not making heads turn; yet these, they told me (though I’d never dreamt it not even realised they’d been done), these had stirred their hearts and cheered their spirits as signs and wonders could never do. It doesn’t seem much, does it – encouraging people? Not a gift you’ll find in any of the text books, nor one people will ever fight over. Yet don’t let that fool you as it did me – don’t waste time thirsting for those showy gifts you do not have – for it’s often when you’re least aware of it, through things you count unimportant, that Jesus chooses to use you. So if you’re wondering, as I did, why you’ve been left out, if you’re feeling down, or doubting your experience, or waiting for the Spirit and perplexed he hasn’t come, let me offer you some simple words of encouragement: follow Jesus, faithfully, simply, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll find his Spirit’s been there all along. I thought those words from Nick Fawcett might help us more than any words I could say; if we were in church, I’d have read that meditation, for I bet especially during these last few weeks we’ve all felt down and felt we could do more, but what? If we show love, we are doing God’s work. If we show care, or compassion, or help someone, we are doing God’s work. When we pray, we are doing God’s work. Hold on to those thoughts this week, as we prepare to celebrate Trinity Sunday next week.
— Janet Taylor
Sun, 31 May 2020