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Related Bible reading(s): Acts 2.1-21

PostScript: Spirit’s Got Talent

 Looking at ways in which the Spirit worked in Acts 2 and works today (Acts 2.1-21).

 

 Context

 

Reflection

The Britain’s Got Talent final provides lots of hints as to how the Holy Spirit works. The winner was an 89-year-old Chelsea Pensioner Colin Thackray. Joy and success are not limited to the young. The Spirit works for and through people of all ages and God always has a purpose for us. The song that Colin Thackray sang was the Michael Ball hit ‘Love changes everything’, which is a powerful maxim especially when viewed in the light of the Spirit’s power. The Spirit is an expression of God’s love and, in the Pentecost event, the world was changed. A few disciples began a global movement which transformed – and continues to transform – the world. This is the real way in which love changes everything. It is also worth noting that Mr Thackray is to give some of his prize money to the Chelsea Hospital. The Spirit faces us with love and asks that we respond appropriately.

We read something of the impact of Pentecost in Acts 2. It was both corporate and personal. The Spirit is still having an impact but there is always a choice. The apostles were not forced out to witness to the love of Jesus. They chose to do so. The victory of Liverpool FC in the Champion’s League unified a community; thousands of people took to the streets – they quite literally painted the town red. Is there and should there be a contrast with the way in which the gift of the Holy Spirit is celebrated? Are there ways in which the Spirit can enable us to unify our communities? Red, as a symbol of the blood of Christ, is often seen as a colour representing redemption. And, it is used in some Christian traditions to represent the Spirit. In what ways can we paint the town red?

If the Liverpool victory united a community, Donald Trump’s visit has revealed deep divisions. There is an enormous contrast between the pictures of the state occasions and official meetings and the Trafalgar Square rally. President Trump also attended the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of D-Day. This gives a context for reflection on the freedom that the Spirit brings to us. D-Day was about seeking freedom – a freedom that we still have. Part of that freedom is freedom of choice. Some choose to celebrate Trump; others choose not to. But it is worth remembering that whatever choice we make within our freedom, it has an impact upon others. The disciples’ choice to share the good news impacted upon the people who heard their message.

 

Prayer

A prayer of thanksgiving and dedication that could be used to conclude a sermon.

Thank you, loving God, for the freedom that the Spirit gives us.
Help us always to choose prayerfully and lovingly
so that the power of the Spirit may unite our love with your love
to make the world a more loving place.
Amen.

 

 Questions

  • In what ways do you see the Spirit at work today?
  • How should the church appropriately celebrate Pentecost? Can we paint the town red?

 

All-age activity

Split into groups of five or six and play a simple game of word association beginning with Spirit.

Afterwards, spend a little time reflecting on where it took you. Were there any surprises? Would it have been different in a different context?

 

Young people

Provide several balloons and some marker pens. Invite the young people to write or draw on each balloon a way in which the Spirit makes a difference to them or to the world. These can be general and traditional such as freedom or peace, or more specific or personal. Blow the balloons up and reflect that, through the use of breath, the words and the ways become so much bigger. That is the impact of the breath of God.

 

Stuart Wild is a minister in the Bolton and Rochdale Methodist District

  

 

KEY:  icon indicates ways to connect faith with everyday life

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