(Another chance to view this blog written 3 years ago. The message has added relevance today).
The period between Ascension and Pentecost is traditionally used by Christians to pray for the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit upon the Church and the world. These 9 days are an opportunity to ask God for help and sustenance both individually and corporately. We don’t just ask but we beseech God, “leave us not comfortless!” In these dark days when the value of life seems to be reduced to nothing by extremists and nihilists, we have a need to implore God to send us his Spirit of truth. We feel like orphans in need of a parents loving guidance. God has gone up in the form of the ascended Christ. God has yet to descend in the form of the Holy Spirit. We are praying in this ‘in-between time’ for God’s presence not only for ourselves but for those who are broken, dispirited or in danger.
A helpful image of the work of the Holy Spirit is that this is the breath of Christ, his loving breath, which gifts his people with the charisms necessary for the growing of God’s kingdom. This is not a kingdom ‘out there’ but something which is tangible and real, of this time and age. God builds people up, he takes us for who we are. We are not asked to be someone else, God is only interested in who we are now. The breath of Christ’s love is present, kindling a flame, a divine spark. When we encounter God, like the lost and fallen Moses in the desert, this spark becomes a fire.
The burning bush is a wonderful metaphor of the hiddenness of God, yet his utter faithfulness in us. Whatever our personal circumstance, God wants to build us up to do his work in the world. This is the work of peace-making, reconciling, community singing, church planting, nation-building… This is the work that God offers us – godly employment. Moses was offered an incredible vocation – to lead God’s people out of the mess and degradation of slavery into a promised future. Moses did not feel up to the job but God gave him reassurance, authority and energy.
What does God want us to step up to today? Become part of a local praying community called The Upper Room. Find out more details here: https://www.upperroomoxford.org This is a city-wide initiative to pray for God’s blessing upon our community. The Archbishops’ have been asking us to use this octave to pray for the Spirit’s guidance. They call it, Thy Kingdom Come. Pray each day in this ‘in-between time’ for the breath of Christ to touch the lives of the grieving, the lost, the hopeless. Start where you are at; the place which you inhabit today. God is there kindling a fire within you.
For our younger friends – we have another craft for Ascension. Please see attached. Have a go and post your efforts on our FaceBook page https://www.facebook.com/stmichaelssummertown/