Devotional for Sunday 31st May
This devotional for Sunday 31st May has been produced by the North East Circuit for use in their churches, and is made available for any churches/individuals who would like to use it this weekend.
It is hard to believe that it is now 10 weeks since the doors of our church buildings were closed for worship. On that last Sunday we worried about how we would cope physically, mentally and spiritually, now we praise God because we are coping, and we have come to realise, even in lockdown, time flies. [If anyone reading this isn’t coping, please pick up your telephone and talk to someone from your church or indeed the Circuit, for we are in this together as a family].
Today is a day of celebration, and even though there are many of our members who live on their own, we can be united in spirit as we celebrate the Birthday of the Church.
Hymn: Come on and celebrate
Heavenly Father it is good, although separate, we can come together united in our love for You and with each other. We thank You for the blessings we have received over these past weeks, and the way You have watched over us and cared for us; and whatever the future holds we know that we are safe in Your keeping. We ask that through the power of Your Spirit we will worship and praise You in a way that will honour You and be pleasing to you. As we read Your written word may we be strengthened and encouraged to do the work You have called us to do. We ask all things in the Name of Jesus. Amen
Bible Reading – Acts 2: 1 – 12
1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11(both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs – we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
Whenever there is a birth, or a birthday within our families or circle of friends, our thoughts go to, what present can I give? My problem when buying a present, isn’t the cost [I believe you should only buy what you can afford] it’s what to buy, for we want to buy what is best for that person.
On this day, the birthday of the Christian Church, God knew what the Disciples and followers needed.
After spending 3 years with Jesus, they had stood and watched as He had returned to His Heavenly Home, prior to doing so, they had been given what we now refer to as, “The Great Commission”. They were to spread the Gospel Message, which was to go to the ends of the World. [Matt. 28:19]
On their own it was an impossible task, so as previously promised, [John 14:16] God sent the Holy Spirit. The Presence and Power of Jesus now lived in them. Their lives were transformed, and they began the work of building the Church.
Since that day, the Church has faced many trials and tribulations, it has survived through countless wars, and it will certainly survive this pandemic, for we read in Matt 16:18, “Now I say to you that you are Peter [which means rock], and upon this rock I will build my church, AND ALL THE POWERS OF HELL WILL NOT CONQUER IT.”
The Great Commission is now given to all who claim Jesus as their Saviour; and like the Disciples of old, on our own it is an impossible task, but with Jesus nothing is impossible. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus lives with us now, may we follow His leading and do the work He has called us to do.
St Teresa of Avila wrote these very simple but important words:
Christ has no body now but yours, no hands, no feet, on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes with which He looks compassion on this world. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
Hymn: O Holy Spirit breathe on me
Lord Jesus, as God’s Spirit came down and rested on you, may the same Spirit rest on us; bestowing His sevenfold gifts.
First, grant us the gift of understanding by which Your precepts may enlighten our minds.
Second, grant us counsel, by which we may follow in Your footsteps in the paths of righteousness.
Third, grant us courage by which we may ward off the enemy attacks.
Fourth, grant us knowledge by which we can distinguish good from evil.
Fifth, grant us piety, by which we may acquire compassionate hearts.
Sixth, grant us fear, by which we may draw back from evil and submit to what is good.
Seventh, grant us wisdom, that we may taste the life-giving sweetness of Your love.
The Lord’s Prayer
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and forever. Amen.