This morning in our Communities Gathering Helen read to us from a children’s storybook version of the account of the Holy Spirit’s coming at Pentecost (by the way you can find out more about that Story Book Bible here). As we listened to a new re-telling of that old story I was struck by just how quickly the action of the Holy Spirit led those disciples into mission.
Acts 2 tells us that on the day of Pentecost, possibly only a few hours after the disciples were huddled together in an upper room, there were three thousand new followers of Jesus. As I’ve been reflecting on that story throughout today I have felt reminded that there is an inseparable link between God’s Holy Spirit and God’s mission. Jesus (quoting Isaiah) said “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.” He also promised his disciples that they would receive power from the Holy Spirit to be his witnesses all across the world.
It is the Holy Spirit who sends us as missionaries, it is the Holy Spirit who challenges us to bring good news to the poor and it is the Holy Spirit who equips us to follow that call.
I spent this weekend with a bunch of students and student leaders from around the country; they were coming together to do a learning community process, like the one we did a few weeks back, exploring how they could launch missional communities in their universities to reach many students. It was a really exciting couple of days, and a real privilege to be there helping them make plans. There again I was struck by our utter reliance on the Holy Spirit, it’s the Spirit who sends us and the Spirit who empowers us. Let’s remember that.
As we approach the summer, I can see loads of simple exciting opportunities for mission. The days are longer and warmer and people are just a bit happier and more open to conversation. There’s also the Tour de France and the World Cup, great chances for us to do social things with our MSCs and build relationships with potential people of peace. A few of us are involved in the rest of the Alpha course, we have the Simply Summer event in July, and I’m sure there are other things that God is planning and we just have no idea about yet. Let’s think, pray and act on some of these opportunities as communities! I want to encourage us to allow the Holy Spirit to challenge us, to let the Spirit send us as missionaries and to expect the Spirit to equip us!
There’s an old prayer I encountered a few years ago; I quite often find myself repeating it to myself and then waiting to allow God to work in me:
“Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your people and kindle in us the fire of your love.”
May that be our experience this summer, may the Spirit fill us, may the Spirit make us fiery and may the Spirit show us how to love.
Have a great week, Ben.