May 31, 2020
“Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.” (Acts 2:5–6, NRSV)
Over the last week we have been thinking about the things the Spirit does. This reflection is about how the Spirit causes us to witness.
Today we celebrate Pentecost with the other Uniting Churches of Ipswich. The 120 or so men and women who received the Spirit that day were led to speak about the wonderful works of God – “God’s deeds of power.” This witness led to many people coming to faith that day. The city of Jerusalem was shaken that day. The message spread across cultures and languages. 2,000 years later the largest social and religious movement in the world is the Christian church. A City and then a world was shaken. Over the past few years the Uniting Churches at Ipswich have been looking at how we can work together better. It may be a lack of numbers or funds which have triggered this, but our purpose is to shake the city of Ipswich with a witness to the Wonderful works of God. It’s not about surviving, or closing church buildings. It’s about being like those first disciples and standing up as one to witness what God has done.
Most important we witness to what God has done in Jesus. We witness to his wisdom and teaching, his healings and wonders, his friendship with sinners, his compelling call, his death for us, his risen life and his sharing of the Father’s love. We witness to the historic spread and witness of the church. The end of death sports. The beginning of charity. The abolition of slavery. The beginning of free education. We witness to the service given in Australia, Blue Nursing, Lifeline, the Flying Doctor, the Bush Padres, hospitals and other community service. We witness to the part the Ipswich Mission played in that. In these recent days we witness to the hope and strength, and community that Jesus has given us through the Spirit as we face Corona Virus.
This is what we are called to do together – to shake the City of Ipswich with the witness of the Spirit. As JR Pearcy prayed in his hymn more than 40 years ago: Widen our love, good Spirit, to embrace in Your strong care, all those of every race: like wind and fire, with life among us move till we are known as Christ’s, and Christians prove. In Jesus’ Name. Amen
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