There is a phenomenon the agnostic can’t explain: the continuing life of the Christian church.
How could it be that the followers of Jesus of Nazareth, terrified, disillusioned and dispersed, formed the nucleus of a great world-wide family of believers?
And how is it that the church over the centuries has survived bloody persecution, false teaching and compromised leadership?
What’s more, how do Christians today have the courage to call the powerful to account and to speak the truth against a seemingly relentless tide of public opinion.
The answer to these questions is: the Holy Spirit.
On the evening of his resurrection day, Jesus came through locked doors and breathed the Holy Spirit on the traumatised disciples.
Then, on the day of Pentecost, the Spirit’s fire fell on believers gathered together.
New power, inexplicable confidence and joy became theirs. They went out and shared the Good News of Jesus and
‘Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved’ (Acts 3:46-47).
Reflect and Respond
Read the three passages below a few times and pause to hear what the Holy Spirit says to you. Then thank God that his Spirit lives in you, has grace and gifts for you and longs to transform you into his likeness.
‘When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them’
Galatians 5:22-23, 25-26
‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control… Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other’
2 Corinthians 3:17-17
‘Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit’
Father of everlasting grace,
your goodness and your love I praise,
your goodness and your truth I prove;
you have in honour of your Son,
the gift unspeakable sent down,
the Spirit of life, and power and love.
Send me the Spirit of your Son,
to make your great salvation known,
to make me share the life divine;
send him the sprinkled blood to apply,
send him my soul to sanctify,
and show and seal me as your own.
So shall I praise and never cease,
so shall I thankfully confess
your wisdom, truth, and power, and love;
with joy unspeakable adore
and bless and praise you evermore,
and serve you as your hosts above.
Charles Wesley (adapted)
Holy Fire (Steve Mitchinson)
Link – https://youtu.be/NZjSzJ2FONk
Our loving Father, it’s true that we often don’t know how to pray. We may not know your will, your plans, your heart in a particular situation. But we come to you knowing that Jesus is interceding for us, and that the Holy Spirit is praying within us with groans that words can’t express. If Jesus is for us, what can prevail against us? If the Spirit shapes our prayers to align with the loving purposes of your heart, how can your will fail to be done?
Father, help us to bring all our needs and concerns to you confident in the authority of the risen Lord Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Praise Resources from The International Anglican Order of The Cross (TIAOC) April 2020