“When the day of Pentecost came, “all the believers were gathered together in one place. “Suddenly there was a noise from the sky “which sounded like a strong wind blowing, “and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. “Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire “which spread out and touched each person there. “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit “and began to talk in other languages, “as the Spirit enabled them to speak.” Acts 2:1-4
Many of us joined with the Moderator of the Church of Scotland and other ministers from our denomination in a special Pentecost service yesterday. Whilst celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit in our church calendar, we also reflected on the wind of change blowing through the church at this time. Change is unsettling, disorientating and filled with letting go and varying amounts of grief but it is also healthy and hopeful. This week in our Thought for the Day we will explore aspects of change and consider how they are particularly relevant for us as individuals, as a society and as a church.
As a Transition Minister, my role, front and centre is to manage change and help our Kirk Session and congregation to expect change and join in with it’s energy. This period in our history when we are living with the Covid-19 pandemic is a unique opportunity for us to actually embrace change. Yes, we acknowledge that it feels chaotic and too fast some days but change gets us to re-examine our priorities and value the things that really matter. Like the believers on the day of Pentecost we recognise that no-one is left unmoved, untouched by this experience – it is not just that a change has occurred in our environment, we ourselves have changed.
Ask yourself this question today: how have I changed in the last 10 weeks of lockdown? What part of that change is a really good thing and here to stay? Today’s prayer comes from a colleague of mine from our nation Transition Ministry Team. It comes from a context of radical change where the church in that part of Scotland will no longer operate in the way it has for centuries. The radical change comes because things could not carry on as they were and without action and serious pruning and reshaping to bring longer term growth, more would degenerate and die. Is there something in your life or in your church that you know in your heart cannot continue as it is? Begin to take that to God as we pray today.
Today’s Prayer by Rev Fran Henderson (Transition Minister, Shetland)
Spirit of God… Who hovered over the waters of chaos and cradled all possible things, Who filled our forms of clay with the very breath of God, Who came down upon the uprising sun in white bird blessing, Who swept through the Pentecost crowds with fire, with joy. Spirit of God, breathe for us once again. Breathe for those who cannot breathe, whose shallow breaths betray damaged lungs. Breathe for those whose breath catches with grief breathe for those who are drowning in debt and driven with anxiety. Breathe for those who hold their breath in fear. As old certainties give way to new confusions, breathe deep, fresh air into the lungs of Your church. Fill us with energy, with resolve, with clarity of vision to meet the challenges of our time. Spirit of God, in the name of Christ, breathe for us once again. Amen.