I want you to think of the happiest, most joyful event in your
life. Think about where you were. Who was there with you?Imagine that you are right there now and let the feeling of joy fill you up.
Do you feel your spirits rising? You may even feel that if you don’t tell someone about it you may burst! The Spirit of God is just like that. When the Spirit descended on the Apostles they couldn’t help themselves, they just had to share the Gospel!
We don’t like to talk about spirits very much. It brings to mind ghost stories, séances and Ouija boards. Because of this, Pentecost is an event in our church year which gets mixed reviews. It makes us vaguely uncomfortable, but on Pentecost Sunday the church celebrates the gift of the Spirit to the believers. It is the birthday of the church!
The Spirit is not a ghost. The Spirit is the Advocate sent to
continue the work of Jesus. It could not come to us until Jesus departed. The Spirit is the final sign that we have been adopted into the family of God. Can you believe it?
If we are adopted that means that we are all part of the same
family and we will be there to look after each other and come together in a crisis and God, the head of our household, will be there suffering right along with us and being our guide for getting through the tough times.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul speaks of the groaning of
creation as if in labour pains. Here he too makes the assumption that the church will be present in the world and active at times of deepest need and that God is present in the midst of the church. God shares our suffering and shares in our work of healing.
The current newsletter of the Presbyterian World Service and Development you can read;
“Three months following Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, survivors are still struggling to rebuild their lives. The disaster claimed over 15,000 lives and over 8,000 people remain missing, according to the National Police Agency of Japan.
Despite the immense challenges evacuees continue to face, PWS&D partners are working hard to provide daily hot meals, medical care, emergency supplies and psychosocial assistance. To date, PWS&D has received over $360,000 for emergency relief in Japan.
PWS&D partner, Church World Service (Asia-Pacific) has organized more than 2,000 volunteers to help distribute food and help clear debris. Cash-for-work programs are providing necessary funds to people who have lost their jobs and are struggling to provide food for their families. CWS is also trying to regenerate local businesses by refitting destroyed kitchens of local restaurants, in order to provide food and jobs for the surrounding communities.
The mental wellbeing of people is one of the biggest concerns as people struggle to deal with enormous loss, survivors’ guilt and other issues. Daycare centres and a single parent hotline are two new initiatives to help traumatized children and parents cope with their circumstances.”
You can see clearly that the church is present in this situation, and you can be sure that God is present with the church. The Spirit does not shy away from the hard times in our lives, and in our world. The Spirit offers help for the present and hope for the future. If we are to lead a Spirit filled life we need to hope
and remain patient.
Please remember the people of Japan in your prayers. You can make a donation to PWS&D’s work in Japan by contributing through your church, mailing a cheque to the office, donating online or calling 1-800-619-7301 ext. 291. Please mark all donations as “Japan Relief. www.presbyterian.ca/pwsd/japanSCRIPTURE READINGS: New Testament:Acts 2:1-21 Epistle: Romans 8:22-27 Responsive Psalm: Psalm