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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

3 June 2020: Tom Cooper, Reader, St Mary’s Church, Buriton

Change and community at Pentecost

In our Zoom service last Sunday St Mary’s celebrated Pentecost. It was an act of worship conducted in a medium that is becoming increasingly familiar to those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to access the internet. From the security – but also the isolation - of our own homes and gardens, we can join together to give thanks and praise to God through the wonders of technology – technology permitting, of course.

The account of Pentecost in Acts is probably one of the best-known passages in the Bible. Even people who are not familiar with the scriptures are likely to recognise some of its features. It’s a very dramatic account – ‘there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind’ which ‘filled the entire house’, followed by ‘divided tongues, as of fire’, whereupon all of the disciples ‘were filled with the Holy Spirit’.

And then the disciples are completely changed. From hiding away in the house where they were gathered, they come out to associate with and speak to others.

One day, our own day of liberation will come. One day we will be able to come out fully into the renewed community and take up the new normal of our lives without the fear of the virus that restricts us at the present. When they were given the gift of the freedom of the Spirit, the Bible tells us, the disciples rushed out and told everyone they met ‘about God’s deeds of power’. Their lives were changed. How will your life change? What will you tell the people you will meet on that happy day?

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