I cannot remember anything that I’ve been involved in where I have sensed so clearly the work of the Spirit. As we gear up for another year of Thy Kingdom Come, I remain adamant that the Church doesn’t need more initiatives, projects or resources. We absolutely do need a greater sense of his empowering presence. The only reason we’re doing this is the sense that God is leading it, and when the wind of the Spirit is blowing, you just have to hoist the sails and go with it.
Maybe to our shame Pentecost has sometimes been perceived as one of those festivals that’s a bit self-indulgent. It can be characterised as Christians gathering together to pray for a fresh touch of the Spirit for their own sake.
The truth is that the gift of the Holy Spirit, God’s empowering presence with us, isn’t given to us for our own sake. The reason we pray ‘Come, Holy Spirit’ is not so that we can feel good. It is so that we may be empowered by the breath of Jesus Christ to bring his message to a world that needs to hear it.
We ARE Witnesses
When Jesus ascended into heaven, he used his last words to tell the disciples that they’re going to be witnesses. Think of ‘Witness’ as a noun, not a verb. It’s describing us, rather than what we’re going to do. And everyone is included – whether we like it or not!
Every Christian is a witness – a witness of Jesus – we are first hand recipients of his goodness, his grace, his kindness, his beauty and his kindness. This witness needs to be something that is current for us, and so it is a challenge for all of us who are witnesses – what have I witnessed personally of Jesus recently? Then we are the witnesses to Jesus. This means we simply say what we know, what we have seen, what we have experienced of him to those around us when given the opportunity.
Each of us witness in unique and personal ways. No two witnesses are the same. But the same Spirit empowers us all.
The Spirit is given to us so that we can be effective in our witness. So we can live in such a way that is congruent with our words. So we bear testimony kindly and graciously to the one who gives us hope.
As a church our effectiveness in living out the calling to be disciples of Jesus and to bear testimony to the good news is reliant on each member fulfilling their vocation as a witness. There is nothing more joyful or compelling for us to do. And our effectiveness as witnesses is rooted in the gift of the Holy Spirit.
So let us join in that ancient prayer ‘Come, Holy Spirit’. That the world may know the transforming love of Jesus Christ.