The Parishes of Crail and St Ayle
Reflections from Rev. John Murray
Sunday May 23rd 2021
Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us worship God together.
Acts 2:1-4, 14-21: 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. Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:“ ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
Romans 8:22-27: We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope, we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
Lord, on this day, we await your coming to us in power. Your Spirit offers us freedom and life and we seek Your breath to fill us.
Father God, giver of every good and perfect gift: you open your hands and spread forth your goodness: as we have known lack and emptiness in our lives, would you pour into our darkness your light. As we confess our sin, so we confess your love which overcomes all barriers. We open our beings to you.
Lord Jesus, pour into us all grace and humility, and kindle in our hearts a burning zeal for the service of your kingdom.
Holy Spirit of God, Spirit of grace and life, breathe into us your love, your joy, your peace; that quickened by your power our lives may be renewed in Christ after his likeness.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done on earth as in heaven,
Give us today our daily bread,
Forgive us our sins,
As we forgive those who sin against us,
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil,
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and forever.
Peter in his Acts speech is speaking of a new creation taking place at God’s behest and through His Spirit: the new creation of God’s people, a fresh burst of divine energy on ordinary people brought about through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The work of God is wonderfully inclusive and wonderfully focussed because it happens to ‘all who call on the name of the Lord’. And being saved does not just mean ‘going to heaven when you die’ but also knowing God’s rescuing power in the present which anticipates God’s great final act of deliverance. Anyone who knows they need rescuing can call on the name of the Lord and discover how it can happen to them.
Prayers for the world
On the day when we celebrate the Church’s founding let us pray for her work across Christ’s world, in places whose stories we know and in places we can only leave to the knowledge of the heart of God. And especially we remember those places where those who confess Jesus as their Saviour are still persecuted for His sake. May they know the emboldening power of the Spirit of Pentecost and the loving assurance of the Comforter.
Today we pray for peace to come to places of conflict. We remember the Israeli – Palestinian strife. May a ceasefire come quickly and, in your time, lasting peace.
We pray for those experiencing illness in body or in mind, and for those who practise the healing arts of medicine and nursing. We remember families and communities emerging from pandemic still feeling the pain of loss of loved ones. May they experience God’s love and comfort through our actions and our words. And as we pray for those who are feeling despair through the loss of employment or opportunity, we also pray that despite our feebleness we, with the assurance of the Spirit, may bring hope through the practical resolve of a Church ready to play its part in the work of healing and renewal.
Let us pray that in this land and in the world, your Spirit will inspire and raise up women and men, young and old, to dream dreams and share a vision of a world where oppression is defeated by justice, where anxiety is vanquished by hope, where creation is cherished and the earth’s resources are harvested responsibly for a just sharing: where people everywhere will not be judged by the colour of their skin, or their gender or their creed but by the content of their character. Where hate is overcome by love, and where the ‘earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea’. All this we ask through Christ Jesus, our Lord, Amen.
From Romans 8:22-27
The Spirit pleads with God on our behalf (v27). Even if we can’t formulate the right words or articulate properly our deepest thoughts, the Spirit will give voice to what we cannot express. This doesn’t absolve us from praying but gives us hope and reassurance even if we feel that we’re not very good at it. The Spirit recognises our weakness.
Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord God Almighty
Come Lord, pour your Spirit out on us!
And the blessing of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with us now and always.