Good morning everyone, I hope you are well and you enjoyed the jubilee celebrations. What an achievement 70 years on the throne and what service our dear Queen has given to us through rough and smooth. We thank God for her stabling influence and wish her good health in the coming years.
Our readings today are from John who recalls a conversation that Philip has with Jesus and of course from Acts about the coming of the Holy Spirit.
The reflection and intercessions are by myself this week.
PRAYER OF PREPARATION
Be with us, Spirit of God. Nothing can separate us from your love.
Breathe on us, breath of God. Fill us with your saving power.
Speak in us, wisdom of God. Bring strength, healing and peace.
The Lord is here. His Spirit is with us.
PRAYER OF PENITENCE
The spirit of the Lord fills the world and knows our every deed and word. Let us the open up ourselves to the Lord and confess our sins in penitence and faith.
Lord God, we have sinned against you; we have done evil in your sight. We are sorry and repent. Have mercy on us according to your love. Wash away our wrongdoing and cleanse us from our sin. Renew a right spirit within us and restore us to the joy of your salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us. You are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
God, who as at this time taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgement in all things and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
THE NEW TESTAMENT READING
ACTS 2. 1-21
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
“In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This is the word of the lord. Thanks be to God
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John. Glory to you, O Lord.
JOHN 14. 8-17
Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you O Christ.
In the Gospel reading, Philip at the time of the last supper questioned Jesus, he obviously has not understood any of what Jesus has spoken about, this was when he was explaining to the disciples about his death. They would have been worried and panicking that they were to be left on their own, but here Jesus talks to them about an advocate, which we now know is the Holy Spirit. But what is perplexing for Jesus and must have been very frustrating is that Philip asks to see the Father and after all this time with Jesus still does not understand why he cannot see him and where Jesus will be.
The New Testament reading from Acts is the later story of the disciples receiving the Holy Spirit, they see it as tongues of fire above their heads, they are commissioned to go out into the world to do God’s work and spread the good news of Jesus. This of course they do and travel to many parts of the world. A flavour of this is the number of languages they will come into contact with on their travels. The crowd in Jerusalem is testimony to this and they will therefore be understood wherever they may be.
The Holy Spirit was not confined to the disciples of over 2,000 years ago, it is with us today and our faith is when it is shown. I have heard many people recounting things that have happened to them or prayers that have been answered, not passed off as a coincidence but having real impact on their lives.
At confirmation a symbolic act is done by the Bishop when he lays on his hands onto the candidates head to show the Holy Spirit passing into that person. It feels really special. I have had many of these moments especially when in training for ALM, some quite emotional others that make me smile and then others that are just astounding. These make us closer to God and certainly strengthen our faith.
So today we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus said, his advocate that will be with us always and lives within us. It is not always easy to see or hear it but faith makes it possible. In the Holy Communion and Confirmation classes I remember to tell the children what I was told, by praying you will establish a unique relationship with God and he with you. So put your trust in him and watch the results of his love and care, not always in the way you think but it will surprise you.
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.
During the intercessions, we pray for the church, our country, our government, people in difficulty and those who have died. You can use your own prayers or if you prefer here are some on today’s theme.
Come Holy Spirit, fill our lives which without you would be dull and cold. Fill our church which without you would be an empty shrine. We ask you to guide and strengthen all who preach the word, all who teach the faith. We pray for all who are preparing for confirmation or ordination, for all who are seeking to grow in faith and in a relationship with you.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
We give thanks for those who are inspired and guided by you. We ask your blessing upon all artists, musicians, writers and craftspeople. We pray for all who influence others through broadcasting or through their example of living. We remember today all who live in deprived or depressing surroundings.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
We give thanks for the coming of the Spirit and the filling of an earthly home. We ask your blessing upon our homes and our relationships. We pray that our friendships enrich each other and help us to be more aware of you. We pray for all who are taken into care and all who lack the love of a stable home.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our Prayer.
We remember all exhausted peoples, the world-weary, the depressed and the discouraged. We pray for all who despair and all who feel they can no longer cope with life. We ask your blessing upon friends and loved ones who are ill and upon all who have been involved in accidents this week.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
We give thanks for the Holy Spirit and the promise of eternal life. We remember all who have served you faithfully and are now at rest in your kingdom. We pray for loved ones and friends who are departed from us, that they may rejoice in life eternal. Especially form our book of remembrance, Walter Gerald Colley and Annie Dewhurst.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of you Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.
May Christ’s holy, healing and enabling Spirit be with us and guide us on our way at every change and turn, and the blessing of God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with us now and forever more. Amen.