Pentecost! Flames of fire dancing over head and a wind blowing with holy breath!
A couple of weeks ago I shared an image that had helped me move from a spatial into a more organic understanding of the ascension of Jesus: consider a human body, a body submerged in water, with the water deep and dark and rough, with the body tossed and vulnerable … but as long as the head remains above the surface of the water, the oxygen flows into the lungs and through the veins, and the body lives. Ascension is one of the great celebrations of the Christian year, for Jesus Christ is alive, and as long as he lives, the body lives – he is the living head of the living body, the Church.
This morning is another of the great days of celebration for Christians, a time when we name that breath which comes to us from the Risen Lord, the Holy Spirit. At baptism, we are connected to Jesus Christ, so his death becomes our death and his life our life, but it is the Holy Spirit that keeps us alive in Jesus Christ. ‘Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ As those disciples were made into the church on the day of Pentecost, so by Holy Spirit have we been knit together and, no matter how submerged or struggling, kept alive as the body of Christ, the Church.
By the work of the Holy Wind/Breath/Spirit, the Church is not only created, but sustained. The final phrase of the great second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles … ‘And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved’ … we see and celebrate this morning, as St. Andrew’s receives new members.
If you are in the area, please join us. There is free parking on the streets around and in a public lot on Queen just west of Clergy. During the service a nursery for infants is offered, as well as a programme for children. If we begin our worship by singing prayerfully ‘Revive your work O Lord’, we will conclude it joyfully singing ‘We are God’s people … born of the Spirit’!