Around two thousand years ago a group of Jesus’ followers were in an upper room shut away from the world. They were struggling to make sense of what was happening when things got even stranger. There was wind and fire and the old story of Babel – where the people were divided when they couldn’t understand each other’s languages was reversed and they were one. It must have been exciting and scary and wonderful all at the same time.
In a world where we have been indoors for weeks now these events of Pentecost may bring up some mixed emotions.
The Holy Spirit comes into a home. We may long to get back together in our churches and chapels and that is a grief that needs acknowledging but the Holy Spirit can and does move outside our sacred spaces.
The first disciples were together and that is not possible for many of us and again we need to recognise the real sadness here but we can come together on the phone or in zoom meetings or carefully outside. In a time when we couldn’t meet up in the normal way I’ve been so grateful for facetime, Skype and zoom meetings with friends and family. Connection is still there albeit virtual.
The Holy Spirit sends people out. That is a more tricky one. Some are very nervous about going outside again. The pandemic hasn’t gone away and the threat for those with underlying health conditions is still very real. That risk needs to be treated seriously.
So far this festival which is usually so full of joy and celebration has an undertone of fear and loss this year but there are things to notice and celebrate. What struck me when I thought about Pentecost was that the church has already been sent out. The buildings may be closed but we went online. It has been frustrating and time consuming to learn how to zoom, video, upload especially if we are not technically gifted but we did it. The church went out. For me the stress of doing all of this has meant that I didn’t stop to notice how it was done in the strength of the Holy Spirit who was there at the beginning of time and is with us now.
In the spirit of Pentecost we have a new facebook page www.facebook.com/prayingTW11 called Praying in Teddington. Research has shown that people are trying prayer for the first time so please follow and like and share. Perhaps some of those who are afraid and anxious and full of those mixed emotions and want to try prayer have a place to find out more and have a go. It is work in progress but so are we all!
We are still in the middle of the story. Those complicated and mixed emotions are OK. They may not be comfortable but we know that God is with us. The Holy Spirit can meet us where we are and if we join in we might be led to some new and amazing places. Even online.
Revd Karen – Pentecost 2020