Sunday Sermons

Pentecost 2022

Last week, when celebrating the Ascension of Jesus, we talked about the fact that Jesus is not everywhere. That Jesus the man who walked in Nazareth is now very much somewhere .. and that this somewhere is at the Father’s right hand in heaven interceding for us and our world.

This morning we celebrate the events of Pentecost .. as well as of our Queen’s Jubilee. So I have done my very best to pull these two themes together.

With respect to Pentecost I want to emphasise the message that through God’s Spirit Jesus is present with us everywhere and at all times. This is in contrast to the message last week. The very human physical Jesus is no longer with us. He told his disciples quite clearly .. where I am going you cannot come .. saying things like the poor will always be with you but I will not always be with you. However he also said I will be with you always even until the end of the age. And at Pentecost we acknowledge that it is through God’s Spirit that this is possible.

The Holy Spirit. The feminine aspect of God. The part of God the Bible calls She is a fruitful Spirit whose fruit is to bring such things as love, joy, gentleness, kindness into our lives. It is through this Spirit that Jesus fulfils His promise to be with us everywhere and at all times. So how does this work? What follows is an imperfect analogy but because I am trying to pull together the Jubilee and Pentecost bear with me.

Think of it in terms of the fact that Her Majesty is obviously not able to be in person everywhere across the country this weekend. She cannot possibly be at every street party and event in person. However, as we drive past bunting, play favourite songs and hymns, see her image on flags and tablecloths and napkins. As we cover our nation in red white and blue it will somehow be true that she will be with us in our celebraations. The Spirit with which she has governed our nation and our church will be very present in these events. In a very real sense she will be with us .. in spirit if not in person. I want to offer you this analogy as a means of grasping what Jesus meant when he said I will be with you through my Spirit if you love and serve one another. It is as though when we show love and patience and kindness we are putting up the bunting of our King for all to see and remember what we stand for. When we manifest the gifts of the Spirit with generous lives and worship we are decorating our churches and streets with the things which remind us what our Saviour stands for. When we celebrate Holy Communion we are setting out a table upon which the life and death and resurrection of Christ are evident .. just as a table with union Jack Flags and Jubilee napkins allow us to eat in remembrance of Her Majesty.

It is an imperfect analogy but it is a useful image of how the church can declare Jesus’ presence amongst us always and everywhere. In the Communion prayer we declare .. The Lord is here .. His Spirit is with us. It is the great declaration of Pentecost. In these words and in our actions we are putting out the bunting and raising the flags. Through our continued acts of love and faith we are keeping Jesus Spirit alive in our communities and homes. We are using symbols and altar cloths and church bells every week to remind others of the Kingdom we are part of and the King we serve.

When we stop doing these things everyone suffers. The presence of the risen Jesus becomes is dependant on our invocation of the Holy Spirit through acts of love and generous living. It is like setting out the decorations of a Jubilee weekend to celebrate the presence of King everywhere and always.

Let us celebrate this Sunday. Bothe the Jubilee and Pentecost. Let us invoke the Spirit both of our Queen and our eternal King. In her service to God and the Church Her Majesty makes it easy to do both. Her loyalty and service remind us of our call to a Kingdom above all nationalism and ethnicity. For the church celebrates her reign for its particular commitment to the values of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. A risen and ascended King whose spirit remains with us as we prepare our tables, our hearts and our lives to welcome Him both now and always.

Faithful God, we now unite in prayer, as those disciples did on the first Day of Pentecost, and open ourselves to receive the very same Holy Spirit.
(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Eternal God, you uphold and govern all things both in heaven and on earth,
and by your grace alone kings and queens do reign. We thank you for all the blessings which you have bestowed upon us throughout the reign of our sovereign lady, Queen Elizabeth, whom you have set over us these 70 years. We thank you for the wisdom of her guidance and her love of peace, for the care and devotion with which she has served her people, for the example of her gracious life. In your unfailing mercy, continue to strengthen and uphold her we pray ,that she may diligently honour your gracious purposes and inspire this nation to work together for the coming of your kingdom. Lord in your mercy…

As the Church rejoices before you with thankful hearts because of Pentecost and the Queens Jubilee, we pray that we may ever be united in love and service to one another, as people called to live according to your will, for the good of all the world, and the glory of your great name. We pray that the Church throughout the world and here in the United Kingdom, may through the power of the Holy Spirit, make the Gospel understandable to all people of whatever their race, language, and culture. Let each Christian here and across the Commonwealth strive to develop more fully their response to all the gifts of the Spirit and use them in the service of our saviour Jesus Christ. Lord in your mercy

We pray that the Holy Spirit of Peace might help the leaders of nations to seek justice and peace. May there be good news for the poor and the broken hearted; release for those illegally or wrongly imprisoned and an end to the conflicts throughout the world which lead to so much grief and mourning. We pray for all those who are striving to rebuild in places which have been ravaged by war or natural disaster and those who have been forced to flee their homes and are now seeking refuge. Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Gracious God, sustain and strengthen, through the Holy Spirit of Healing, the sick and suffering among us. May they be brought to health and wholeness through the mercy of Christ.
(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Merciful God, may the Holy Spirit, who purifies us of sin and raises the dead, bring all our departed loved ones into the fullness of God’s presence.
(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Father God, as we move forward into the week ahead help us to continue to celebrate the life of our Queen and her service but even more the life of your Holy and Life Giving Spirit. Send her again into our hearts, into our lives, and into our world and may may she fill us with a sense of your presence.