Services by Rev'd Chris during church closure

31st May Holy Communion (click on this to view) 

Or you can go into YouTube and search for 'Holy Communion at Lydd in Romney Marsh Benefice Sunday 31st May'.You may wish to watch this at 10.30am tomorrow morning simultaneously with others like you would on a 'normal' Sunday morning!

Please feel free to share this with those who might be interested.

Pentecost homily

Acts 2:1-21

John 20:19-23

So it’s Pentecost! That great moment when the Holy Spirit sweeps in to fill us and empower us.

Our reading tells us ‘they were all together in one place and suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind.’ Then there came ‘Divided tongues, as of fire, appearing among them and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.’ It was a huge moment.

I hope all of us understand the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the fire in our hearts. The light in our lives, the energy to go out in God’s name and do His works.  Charles Spurgeon, the 19th C Baptist said ‘Without the Spirit of God we can do nothing. We are as ships without wind. We are useless.’

Another writer, John Stott, (a good Anglican) said ‘what we need is not more learning, not more eloquence, not more persuasion, not more organisation, but more power from the Holy Spirit.’

We’ve seen the Holy Spirit alive in other people. We’ve seen that hunger and zeal to proclaim God’s love to the world.

But do we see it in ourselves? Is our light still burning as bright?

My question this morning is therefore ….what do we do when the fire grows cold?

There can be a number of reasons our fire dampens;

setbacks, failures and disappointments;

when you get criticised, let down or betrayed by others

when we lose heart amongst all the clutter in our lives

we can simply burnout

or our interest wanes and fails.

Pentecost is that perfect time to zero in on ourselves; when our zeal seems to have ebbed and God can seem distant and away and scripture isn’t speaking to us like it did, and prayer is difficult - how can we get back on track?

Look at our reading - it says the room was crowded and when the Spirit came it filled them up to the brim. Look at Peter, a man who had never spoken out in public before – suddenly he’s giving a sermon and, before you know it (Luke tells us)

‘those who welcomed his message were baptised and that day about three thousand persons were added!’ And this was the beginning. The disciples enthusiasm was contagious. The Gospel spreads like wildfire across the continents.

So how do we rekindle our flame? How do we burn brightly again?

Firstly, we’ve got to get out of the rut. The dull routine that stifles us. Read new books. Do different things. Change your routines. Take exercise. You’ll feel better.

Secondly, the easiest way for a fire to die is when you stop feeding it. Go back to basics. Read more, pray more and do more good deeds. Read something obscure like Pauls letter to Philemon. Feed your soul.

The third thing is the toughest in the midst of this corona virus; we thrive in the fellowship of the church.

I heard a story I’ll share with you. There was a man who stopped going to church. His priest visited his house on a cold day. They quietly sat by the fireside chatting then, in the silence the priest took the tongs and removed a coal from the fire and put it on the hearth. It quickly cooled and went out. Then he picked it up with his fingers and popped it back into the fire. There it roared back to life. The man quietly said; “Father, that was your best sermon yet. I’ll see you Sunday.” We need fellowship and, although we cannot go to church, it’s important to continue to connect with one another in prayer groups, in study groups and whatever ways you can connect to one another.

The other thing I miss from our gathering in church is the joy of singing (and  I cannot sing for toffee) but at Pentecost one of my favourite hymns which I’ve loved since childhood goes like this;

Breathe on me, breath of God

Fill me with life anew,

That I may love what thou dost love

And do what thou wouldst do

 

Breathe on me, Breath of God,

Until my heart is pure:

Until with thee I have one will

To do and to endure.

 

Breathe on me, Breath of God,

Till I am wholly thine,

Until this earthly part of me

Glows with thy fire divine.

 

Breathe on me Breath of God,

So shall I never die,

But live with thee the perfect life

Of thine eternity.

(Edwin Hatch 1835-1889)

 

My prayer for us all this Pentecost is that we are filled with the Holy Spirit to do God’s Holy work in His name.

 

Amen

 

Blessings

 

Chris