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PENTECOST SUNDAY (Year C) 5th June 2022

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to 14:15-16; 23-26
Jesus said to his disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever….
Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and
make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you
hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. I have said these things to you while I am still with
you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything,
and remind you of all that I have said to you.”


I read recently that the new Airbus needs a mighty wind for lift off. These airplanes can hold up to 853 passengers and weigh 460 ton. The Airbus needs to be rolling down the runway at 170 miles per hour before the pilot lifts the nose and lets her climb into the sky. Isn’t it amazing that all that weight can rise up on the crest of the wind and fly! The engines roar, with their tongues of fire at work. Lifting our church into existence at Pentecost required a similar mighty wind. This heaven-sent power of roaring wind descended upon the disciples, while tongues of fire came down from the skies.
‘ Peace be with you’ is one of Jesus’ favourite lines. He says it again and again in scripture. Actually, this phrase is uttered 14 times by the Lord in the Gospels. We say it every Sunday to one another as we shake hands or wave across the aisles. What does it mean? It means that Christ’s peace is given to us at baptism through water and the Spirit. This same Spirit is with us throughout each Christian lifetime and abides in his church, in spite of all that would move us towards fear. It is the Spirit of the risen Lord that holds us fast in faith when everything around us feels shaky.
Pentecost Sunday is the conclusion of Easter’s fifty days and although we tend to view Pentecost as a single, stand-alone event, it is in fact the pinnacle of Pascal tide. In this time between the bursting open from the tomb and fifty days later, does the full awareness of what it is to live in Christ really mean. Today’s scriptures give us a vision of who the Spirit is in the church. The thrust of Pentecost is related to the Blessed Trinity, while the Nativity of the Lord celebrates the incarnation of the Word. Fr Gregory Collins writes of the Holy Spirit as ‘the one who works behind the scenes in the drama of redemption’. With the Easter event, there is some wonderful evidence left behind, clues that give us a glimpse of the unimaginable, (not referring to doves and tongues of fire). Rather the Spirit is evidence of faith in action – the faith of the early church and our faith today.
We know that the Spirit is with us today because the church continues to journey together in spite of great human fragility. We know that the Spirit is with us because there are still heroes and heroines among us who choose justice over law and subsequently pay the prophet’s price. We know that the Spirit is with us because men and women from many nations and faiths hear the message of peace, forgiveness, compassion and human dignity. Organisations like the World Council of Churches, Youth 2000, Taizé, among others, testify to the indiscriminate action of the Spirit in our midst.
If we are to make a life of loving and forgiving one another, we need the Spirit after the resurrection. The good news is we have the Spirit and this gift is the only one that really keeps on giving.

Kevin Lyon
Archdeacon of Glendalough


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