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Today we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Pentecost is known as the birthday of the church. Pentecost is a particularly special feast for us as a Diocese because of the Holy Spirit which we are consecrated to and our Cathedral is named after. This year we are joining with the whole Diocese in prayer as we were founded 40 years ago.
Take a moment to still yourself. Take a deep breath and ask God for a renewed sense of presence with you in this moment.
God of all, you sent your Spirit to be with the disciples, filling them with joy, peace and courage. May we also be filled with your Spirit, be brave and share your peace in our world. Amen.
Sing or listen
Psalm 103(104)1, 24, 29-31, 34
R: Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13
It was evening on the day Jesus rose from the dead,
the first day of the week,
and the doors of the house where the disciples had met
were locked for fear of the Jews.
Jesus came and stood among them and said,
“Peace be with you.”
After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again,
“Peace be with you.
As the Father sent me, so I send you.”
When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them;
if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
What do you remember from today’s reading?
The disciples were alone and afraid, because their friend Jesus, who they knew was the Son of God, had been put to death.
Suddenly Jesus appeared to them. What did Jesus say to the disciples?
And how did the disciples feel when they saw Jesus again?
The disciples were filled with joy. Jesus repeated the words “Peace be with you.”
What happened next? Jesus breathed on the disciples and gave them the Holy Spirit. He told the disciples he was sending them out to spread his word.
The disciples had been sad, lonely and frightened. How do you think they felt after Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit onto them?
The disciples were filled with joy, hope and courage to go out and spread the word of God. God’s special message of peace for all people.
The Holy Spirit gives the disciples the courage to see that they can do what Jesus asks of them.
What does Jesus ask us to do? How does Jesus want us to behave and to treat other people?
Jesus asks us to do the same as the disciples – to spread his message of peace to all people through what we do.
Can you think how you might do this? And how does the Holy Spirit help us?
The Holy Spirit gives us the courage to answer Jesus’ call, to do what God asks of us even when it is difficult. We each answer that call in a different way, but the Holy Spirit helps and guides us along the way.
This week let’s try to notice the Holy Spirit in our lives, helping us to be brave, and helping us to spread Jesus’ message of peace in our world.
What will you do this week to try and spread peace in our world?
Decorate a flame and place it in your window.
During lockdown we filled our windows with various things (teddy bears and Easter Eggs) for people to look at as they walk around the neighbourhood.
We encourage you to print a copy of our flame on the last page of this resource or downloadable here for children to decorate and place in the window of your home. Our schools have been invited to do the same in their classrooms. In this simple way we will be united to one another as we celebrate Pentecost. You may like to explain the significance of the flame to children as they do this activity.
“Peace be with you – Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou”
Today we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, marking the end of the Easter Season. We have now celebrated seven weeks of Easter and it has been a long time since we have been able to pray together in ways we are usually familiar with.
Pentecost is the celebration in which we turn our attention to the person and work of the Holy Spirit.
Like Easter, this year Pentecost will be unlike any in recent memory, because even though some of us may be able to return to Sunday Mass, physical distancing requirements continue to disrupt our normal church activities.
Once such limitation is the restriction on the Sign of Peace. Our communal sign of peace ritual is a physical way of engaging with those in our community, through it we also recognise the Spirit in each other that brings peace.
Of all the signs of the Spirit, surely peace is the one relevant in all times, in all ages. When our world is not at peace, when our community is fractured, when our relationships are broken – we all long for peace. That longing is present in all peoples and in all times. Lasting peace, real peace comes in, through, with, and by the Holy Spirit.
And yet these current circumstances where we cannot experience the physical formal liturgical Sign of Peace, difficult and painful as that is, provides a unique opportunity for us to engage with the person and work of the Holy Spirit in a fresh way in the midst of our community.
How can we reach out to others and participate in being a ‘sign of peace’ even though we are disconnected physically? Who needs to experience an outpouring of peace around me? How can I invite the Spirit to show me peace to my own life, so I can share that with others?
In today’s Gospel Jesus enters the space and says to his disconnected and fearful disciples: “Peace be with you”. This is the ultimate expression of the life of the Spirit. It is this expression that connects us with Jesus Christ. The God who loves you, the Christ who saves you, He who is alive – all made present and real through the presence of the Holy Spirit. As Pope Francis said at Pentecost last year:
“Without the Spirit, Jesus remains a personage from the past; with the Spirit, he is a person alive in our own time. Without the Spirit, Scripture is a dead letter; with the Spirit it is a word of life. A Christianity without the Spirit is joyless moralism; with the Spirit, it is life.”
Tentatively, we exited Levels 4 & 3 of our COVID-19 response. During Level 2 some of us start to re-enter worship spaces to celebrate and give thanks to and with the risen Christ. As we move from our individual, small group, and online experiences of faith may we be ever reminded of the peace that only the Holy Spirit can enliven in us and in our faith communities. May it be that peace that moves in us this Pentecost as we celebrate the birthday of the Church and the 40th birthday of the Diocese of Palmerston North.
So, Happy Birthday to you all – “Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou – Peace be with you.”
This prayer is adapted from the 1993 Prayer for Consecration to the Holy Spirit that was prayed across the Diocese of Palmerston North. Today we will again unite in prayer saying this aloud together.
we, the people of the Diocese of Palmerston North,
different peoples, one people of God,
give ourselves over to you.
Through you we know God,
for you are the Spirit of God.
You inspire the Scriptures
which show us that God is like a loving, trustworthy father,
a mother who gently gathers her children.
You give us joy in the news of our salvation.
Holy Spirit, work miracles in us,
miracles of conversion, healing and reconciliation;
miracles of new hope, new life and new beginnings.