To: Clergy and People
From: The Bishop
Pentecost is a dramatic moment in the liturgical life of the Church, when the Spirit of God fills the universe and tells of a new heaven and a new earth. Fifty days after Easter, the Holy Spirit descends on those assembled together in one place, and over three thousand persons were baptised, signifying the birth of the Church and salvation for all in Jesus Christ. It is a season of joy, hope and mission, a time when the Church comes alive with a new breath.
On the day of Pentecost, we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit to empower the church in ways not previously available for the whole people of God. May we never underestimate the immensity of the power God has provided for the task of continuing the mission of Christ in the world.
In the Acts of the Apostles the leaders of the Church are se.en working under the direction of the Holy Spirit (Acts 3:31, 6:10, 7:51) and there was a change in their conduct. St. Peter, who had only a few weeks before.had denied his Lord, now stood up before the very council which condemned his Lord to death, and said, “we must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29), and other apostles, who had fled when their Lord was arrested, and had afterward shut the doors for fear, became courageous. There is a big contrast between the apostles in the Gospels, timid, slow to understand and searching, and the apostles after the day of Pentecost, bold, wise, and with a sense of purpose.
At the beginning of Jesus’s ministry, we are informed that “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness.” (Luke 4:1} and at the end of the temptations we are told “then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country.” (Luke 4:14} Then we are informed:
“When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read,
17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of ‘he Lord’s favour.’
20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’
Luke presents to us that it was through the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus carried out his ministry. Similarly, the church which is commissioned to continue Christ ministry in the world, at the very beginning of that ministry is empowered with the Holy Spirit. In spite of how weak, frail, and powerless we are Pentecost reminds us that God will accomplish his purposes through us, not because we are powerful in ourselves, but because he will show his power through us.
Consequently, my brothers and sisters in Christ as we celebrate Pentecost this year may we feel and know that we will be enabled to manage, live with and overcome the challenges presented by COVID-19 and other circumstances in our lives as we participate in God’s mission and ministry, not through our own strength, but by the power of the Spirit of God working in, and through us.
My wife Lois and three daughters, Marcella, Malaika and Mikayla join me in praying that you, those whom you love and care for, serve and come into contact with, by the grace of God, may be renewed, strengthened, and preserved in safety, by the Spirit, on the Day of Pentecost and beyond.
Blessings and peace.
Your friend and Bishop
The Rt. Rev’d C. Leopold Friday
Bishop of the Windward Islands