Last Wednesday in “Midweek with Martin” I shared some thoughts around a song by Godfrey Birtill called “Outrageous Grace.” I have another of his songs in mind as I write, called “Are you Ready, Ready, Ready?” Now Godfrey is not everyone’s cup of tea but he is well worth a listen to as his songs are both lively and prophetic, as we saw on Wednesday.
Being ready is important. Anyone who has ever worked as a teacher or a lecturer will know the three word mantra of “Preparation, Preparation, Preparation.” Or maybe you’ve heard, “fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”
After Jesus ascended into Heaven, the disciples spent time getting ready – but what for? Acts 1v4 -Jesus said, “do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.” They went back to the Upper Room and spent time preparing for the gift by praying together so that when it came they were able to receive what God had for them. Obviously I have no idea how they felt at that time but I have the picture in my mind of myself as a young boy waiting impatiently to get presents on my birthday – I like to think they were the same in some way.
Now here’s the thing – this Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, when we remember the coming of the Spirit to those first disciples, transforming their lives and giving them all they needed to boldly proclaim Jesus to the people they encountered. It’s an opportunity for us to reflect on God’s goodness, and to receive afresh a filling from the Holy Spirit ourselves – especially, but not exclusively, if we find our faith flagging because of the events of the last few weeks. Wouldn’t it be great if, while we are all in our own rooms on Sunday, the Spirit fell on us and empowered us as individuals and a Church to take the Good News to the people in our streets and our town?
GodGod’s promise still stands – He wants us to share in the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit too – sadly too many of us Christians have become fearful or dismissive of the Holy Spirit and closed ourselves off to His power – but that leaves us like a lightbulb that never gets switched on – so here’s the challenge…trusting that God only gives us good things, can we look forward to a fresh filling of His Spirit, and can we prepare ourselves for that possibility this Sunday? Can we make sure we are prepared – spend time with God, confess our sins and cast ourselves upon His mercy and love? Can we have a mindset of being open to the Spirit of God filling us anew?