In May this year we celebrate two vital events in the life of the church: Ascension and Pentecost.
The first happens on a Thursday and is often overlooked. The second commemorates a weird and wonderful event: the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2).
Both of these events, Ascension and Pentecost, are vital parts of Jesus’ story and vital parts of OUR story.
Easter will always be the most glorious festival for those of us who believe – death is not THE END, Jesus is alive, evil is overcome with good, Jesus has proved himself to be the real thing: God with His people, showing us all the way. But even Easter isn’t an end in itself. Jesus was preparing his friends (and by extension us) for the next phase of God’s work on earth.
Jesus’ life remains the inspiration for our lives but he needed to go away – which is what we celebrate at Ascension. He went away in order that God the Father would send the Holy Spirit to all of his people: young and old, rich and poor, religious and non-religious.
At Pentecost we celebrate God at work in each and every one of us to inspire us to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be – the Holy Spirit: encouraging, cajoling, challenging, disturbing, comforting, equipping God’s people for acts of service and works of goodness.
This year between Ascension (10th May) and Pentecost (20th May) the church at large is being encouraged to pray for God’s work in the world today: Thy kingdom come. Our Archbishops and bishops are encouraging us to pray for our communities and ourselves, that we will each use our gifts and talents to make a difference amongst the people with whom we rub shoulders, after the example of Jesus Christ our risen, ascended and glorified Lord.