No one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. – 1 Corinthians 12.3-7
With the celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost fifty days after Easter, we focus on the beginning of the ministry of Christ’s followers. The disciples were in fear until they saw the risen Lord and heard Him say that He would not leave them alone, He would send them the Spirit as guide and advocate. They remained, filled with joy but also with some uncertainty about the future, praying until they received the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They then went out to proclaim the message of Jesus to all peoples.
In the reading from 1 Corinthians we are reminded that there are varieties of gifts, of service, and of activities. Each of us contributes to the life and mission of the Church according our own particular gifts of the Spirit, according to the service to which He has called us and to the activities which bring these gifts alive. Just as the followers of Jesus waited in prayer to discover where the Holy Spirit would lead them, so we have been waiting in prayer to discover where the Holy Spirit will lead us next.
While this has been a distressing time it has also been a time of opportunity; a time to meditate on what it means to be Church, how we can best serve God and His creation, how we can best use our gifts of the Spirit as Christ’s disciples in the family of St Oswald’s. When we can come together again it will be to a world changed by the experiences people have faced in this pandemic, the Church itself will have been changed by the experience of new ways of worshipping in separation, a renewed idea of mission and who we are called to be.
We have missed each other as family, missed praying and celebrating together but, even in isolation, we have continued to be St Oswald’s Church family and when we next join together in worship it will be as a renewed and reinvigorated church filled with a vision and passion for the future.
While it will be still sometime before we can meet together we are beginning to see a move toward that moment. As we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost so we open ourselves up to Him, praying that He will be with us and guide us into what will be a changed world. We pray that the Holy Spirit will fill us and guide us in our mission to fill the world with the compassion and joy of serving our risen Lord Jesus Christ.