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Minister's letter for 19 May

Dear Friends,

I imagine that across the circuit churches will be celebrating Pentecost, the receiving of the Holy Spirit by the disciples that enabled them to go out and continue with the mission that Jesus had begun. It is a passage with it all – a good soundtrack (rushing wind), visual effects (tongues of flame) and miraculous events (speaking in other languages). And we are reminded that this is the same spirit that fills us today, renewing and reenergising, if we but open ourselves to receiving and responding to this gift.

The 'church' views its origins here, as a church, at this time. Sometimes there is birthday cake and a party. And it is a good time to reflect on all that has gone before and to remind ourselves to allow God's Spirit to work through us and to embrace the chaos that may follow.

What has struck me this year is that before all of this – whilst they were still uncertain, afraid, and feeling very vulnerable – Jesus had already given them their commission: Acts 1:8b " will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth." This task would extend beyond the scope of Jesus' ministry in his time on earth. Jesus also gave them the promise, 1:8a " You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you...".

And they remained gathered together and tried to get things back on an even keel, choosing a replacement disciple by casting lots (presumably after safer recruiting procedures had been followed). Even so, it must have been difficult to hold the declaration and the promise made by Jesus before he ascended.

I think we are in this declaration and promise time. We have great expectations and a desire to share the gospel, through service and living out its message and simply being present – but we are waiting for that power that only the Holy Spirit can bring. Or perhaps we are a little reluctant to fully let go of the control we think we have. The likelihood is that it will create some 'noise', that it will be chaotic, and it will take us along paths that we never expected to take and connect with people we never thought we would or could. Remember in this instance the disciples were given the ability to speak in different languages "as the Spirit gave them ability" (Acts 2:4). This same Spirit can give us the abilities that we need in and for this time.

Are we ready to trust and to allow the Spirit to empower us and energise us in the coming days and weeks?

Every blessing

Rev Karen

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