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Pentecost Sunday (Whit Sunday) – 23rd May 2021

May 23, 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

 

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Lyndy Domoney

Our Sermon today, from John Taylor

 

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

 

More Modern:

 
 
Prayerful
 

Sermon Text

Today is Pentecost when we celebrate God sending his Holy Spirit to be the guide and spokesperson for the Christian church. This was a vital part of the history and development of Christianity. Pentecostal sermons often talk of the Spirit and its works but I am looking at one small part of how the arrival happened on the day.

When the disciples received the Holy Spirit they started talking and one of the gifts was that everyone heard what they were saying. Most importantly the audience heard in their own language. I say importantly because no matter how fluent we might be in other languages our own is always special. It is ours, we own it, it belongs to us.

We are usually far better able to understand completely what someone is telling us if they are speaking our language. This is a phrase which is often used; so and so speaks my language. We can understand what they are saying and just as importantly they can understand us.

Throughout the New Testament there are stories of Jesus not just talking at or to people but with them. Often these are people on the fringe or edge of polite society. For example when he is talking with the Samaritan woman by the well he speaks in such a way as to engage with her and they obviously understand each other. She listens to him and he listens to her. They are talking with each other not at them.

This, I think, is one of the most important lessons to be learnt from Pentecost. We need to talk with people if not in their own language then at least in such a way as they understand us and we need to listen to them. We need to remember that our languages may not be the same and we must take account of that.

Conversation or debate or negotiation needs to be a two way thing. Many Christians are praying for peace in the Middle East, in Myanmar, in Afghanistan and so many other places. Closer to home there are tensions over race relations and matters of sex and gender. These problems are not going to be solved by shouting at someone in a language they do not understand.

The Church of England has recently developed a system called Pastoral Principals which are designed to help with the debate over sex and gender. They provide for reasoned, courteous debate arising out of listening to each other. The aim is to identify areas of disagreement but then, most importantly, where agreement can be found and built on. These basic principals can be used in almost all situations.

When I say almost all situations I do not just mean major political issues or international relations, war or genocide but everyday life. Family and neighbourhood matters. Some of us may remember recent reports of a zoom council meeting which became rather heated. A major part of such problems is that people talk in ways that others cannot understand. It doesn’t even have to be a foreign language that causes problems. English, for example, can be very confusing. Does LOL mean lots of love or laugh out loud?

One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was that Christians could speak to others in a language they understood. This is something the world needs us to demonstrate today. There is too much argument and misunderstanding. We have to show how we can talk with people of all walks of life, listen to them and work with them. If we can do this then others can see that there is a way forward. By taking this meaning and gift of Pentecost out into the world we can help show the Holy Spirit at work.

Amen

From → Worship

2 Comments
  1. Judith Phillip permalink

    We have really enjoyed the online communions. We have tried to listen and take part every Sunday since you started them and we thank you so much for providing them for us. We enjoy the content and having different people taking the services.
    We appreciate that some of the churches are open again. We may try to attend in the coming weeks although we are somewhat concerned about the Indian variant, even after having had our vaccinations. We are probably rather over cautious but it is difficult to shake off that nervousness about close contact.
    We appreciate the amount of work the clergy are putting in and realise that the online services will need to end at some stage. We leave the division to you as to how long you continue.
    Thank you. Judith and Andy Phillip

    • Hi Judith and Andy, I’m glad that you are finding the online worship meaningful. Please don’t feel under any pressure to return to a church building. Your concerns are perfectly reasonable and we will be continuing the online services as long as people continue to want them. God bless, Nigel.

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