Today the Great 50 days of Easter conclude with the Feast of Pentecost (or Whitsun in the traditional language of the Book of Common Prayer). The final layer of the Easter mystery is revealed.
This is the day when the Church celebrates the fulfilling of Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit to strengthen and guide us in undertaking the Great Commission given as he ascended into heaven (to “make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”). It is, therefore, significant that our Diocesan Bishop has chosen this day to launch a new Diocesan Strategy. What better day to pray that the gifts of the Spirit will flow through our efforts to live out the challenge of re-envisioning ministry, promoting growth (spiritual and numerical) and serving the common good?
But it doesn’t stop there: the gift of the Spirit is something each baptised Christian receives, and along with it the Great Commission. As the alleluias cease, the Easter Greeting is no longer used, the Paschal candle is extinguished and we enter Ordinary Time (with its familiar “green” liturgical colour) we are also reminded that this gift is precisely to enable us to live out our vocation in the “ordinary” situations of daily life.
We have been empowered to witness to the Good News in a way that blesses those around us. You will have received a copy of the Strategy, a prayer card and a copy of Luke’s Gospel. If you have not read a whole gospel through in a while, why not take the opportunity to do so this week. It might prompt you to join members of the clergy team who will be hosting a Bible study after Morning Prayer throughout June (9 to 9.30, Mon-Sat).