On Sunday we mark Pentecost – the culmination of the Easter season, the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church.
This year the 50 joyful days of Easter have felt more like a never ending Lent. As restrictions are starting, slowly, to be lifted and we dare to think the possibility of a slow return to something approaching normal we are invited to join in together as we sing, pray, listen and share Holy Communion together. You may like to have bread and wine (or suitable substitutes) at hand.
We reflect on the Early Church having to worship in secret in their homes, we think about the persecuted Church making striking innovations in Communist era Czechoslovakia and the plight of many Christians around the world living with persecution. We think of how persecution and isolation make the Church stronger allowing the Holy Spirit to renew us and we think of the lessons learned, and opportunities missed, in these times as we think about the renewal the Spirit brings now and the lessons we could learn or miss from recent months.
I will be leading this 50 minute Communion service and have arranged a feast of music to enjoy and join in with including: the haunting plainsong Come Holy Ghost Our Souls Inspire, John Bell and Graham Maule’s beautiful Enemy of Apathy; Charles Wesley’s joyful O For A Thousand Tongues; the Sanctus from first sung Mass setting from Africa, Missa Luba; a soloist performing a little known Isaac Watts hymn Twas on that Dark and Doleful Night, a spirited rendition of Psalm 104 from the Notre Dame Folk Choir; the lovely Spirit of God Unseen as the Wind and the ever popular Come Down O Love Divine.
I hope you can join us on Sunday, as like the Early Church meeting in the homes of the faithful, we join in praying for the Holy Spirit to come and renew us.
with every good wish
The Rev’d Andy Braunston Co-ordinator, Daily Devotions from the URC