June 3rd – Holy Spirit, we want to welcome you

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When one of the Whitsun bank holiday weekends comes round most people take it to be merely a weekend break. A mini-holiday, a rush to avoid traffic jams, and I’m not knocking that. What is important is that Whitsun is really about Whit Sunday (which is so-called because long ago so many people were baptised in their white baptismal robes that the day become known as white, or Whit Sunday).
It happened first at the Jewish festival of Pentecost when the infant church became truly alive. Baptised in the Holy Spirit’s fire, filled with the Holy Spirit’s oxygen, the Christians went out into the world to give eyewitness reports of the living Jesus, and even more, to practice what Jesus preached and practised.
Just what had taken place at that Pentecost is never easy to describe because the bottom fact is, we have no adequate images of the Holy Spirit. We see the invisible fatherhood of the Creator God, and his love for his wayward children in the face of Jesus his Son. We look at Jesus, living, dying and risen, and we see the face of God, the Lord of history, the only true God. But when the supernatural other-ness, the Holy, awesome being becomes active within ordinary people’s lives, we are lost for words – lost for pictures. We have no adequate mental images of the Holy Spirit, save what we see as the character, personality and power of Jesus now at large. No longer confined to a body in one particular place, at one time. But then conveying this in rational language is indeed a great problem of communication. Words are not capable of handling the situation. We deteriorate into thinking that the Spirit is a colourless gas, or some other impersonal thing. Here are some words of Jesus for you to ponder all through this day:
But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you. Luke 11:20
‘The finger of God’ – a picture used only three times in scripture: denoting the invasive almighty spiritual intervention of God. ‘Putting his finger’ on our race and history.
Today, don’t pray to understand – pray to be filled by the Spirit.

A Prayer:
Holy Spirit, abroad in all creation, we would welcome you into our midst, into our hearts and into our homes. Come and make yourself at home in us despite the spiritual hovels in which we have chosen to dwell.

Now read John 16: 5-28.

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