19 May 2024

Daily prayer in Easter 2024:
50, 19 May 2024, Pentecost

Pentecost depicted in the Church of the Transfiguration in Piskopianó, in the hills above Hersonissos in Crete (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2024)

Patrick Comerford

The 50-day season of Easter comes to an end today with the Day of Pentecost (19 May 2024), sometimes known as Whit Sunday, celebrating the fulfilment of the promises of Easter.

Throughout this Season of Easter, my morning reflections each day have included the daily Gospel reading, the prayer in the USPG prayer diary, and the prayers in the Collects and Post-Communion Prayer of the day.

Later this morning, I am taking part in the Parish Eucharist in Saint Mary and Saint Giles Church, Stony Stratford, reading one of the lessons and leading the intercessions. But, before this day begins, I am taking some quiet time this morning to give thanks, for reflection, prayer and reading in these ways:

1, today’s Pentecost reading in the Acts of the Apostles and today’s Gospel reading;

2, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary;

3, the Collects and Post-Communion prayer of the day.

The Ascension (left) and Pentecost (right) in the celing of the Church of the Transfiguration in Piskopianó in Crete (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2024)

Acts 2: 1-21 (NRSVAUE):

1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

5 Now there were devout Jews from every people under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs – in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Fellow Jews and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit,
and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
20 The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

The Day of Pentecost depicted in Saint John’s Monastery in Tolleshunt Knights (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

John 15: 26-27, 16: 4b-15 (NRSVUE):

[Jesus said:] 26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27 You also are to testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.

4b “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

The 12 Apostles depicted in an icon in the Cathedral in Rethymnon, Crete (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2024)

Today’s Prayers (Sunday 19 May 2024):

The theme this week in ‘Pray With the World Church,’ the Prayer Diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), is ‘Pentecost Reflection.’ This theme is introduced today with a Reflection by the Revd Duncan Dormor, USPG General Secretary:

‘In our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power’.

Pentecost: the day the church was born – through the pouring out of the Spirit – carrying the Gospel message from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. A defining moment in which we witness the chaotic joy of new birth; the breaking waters of the Spirit of God dramatically issuing forth new life. And just as that first cry of the newborn infant is universally understood – so too, for those gathered – there is a clear understanding that a radical community is being created. And miraculously, everyone understands.

Those present hear the divine, life-giving message. But not because they suddenly grasp the languages of power or privilege – the Latin of Imperial Rome; the Greek of high culture and philosophy or the Hebrew of the religious elite – but rather because the Spirit speaks in their own tongue.

The Spirit speaks into the hearts of all in the language of childhood, with the same tongue whispered or sung by their mothers; with all the distinctiveness and colour, poetry and rhythm and cadence and timbre, and all the associations that come with it: The language of the heart.

‘In our own languages, we hear.’ This simple, powerful, Pentecostal reality still has the potential to transform and challenge an Anglican Communion still dominated by that other imperial language – English. So that the spiritual gifts born of diverse languages and cultures may be released to inspire us all within a truly global Church.

The USPG Prayer Diary today (19 May 2024, Day of Pentecost) invites us to pray:

May we be filled by the Holy Spirit,
And spread your Good News across the nations.
Let us celebrate the diversity of humankind,
Using language as a gift not a barrier.

The Collect:

God, who as at this time
taught the hearts of your faithful people
by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit:
grant us by the same Spirit
to have a right judgement in all things
and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort;
through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion Prayer:

Faithful God,
who fulfilled the promises of Easter
by sending us your Holy Spirit
and opening every race and nation
the way of life eternal:
open our lips by your Spirit,
that every tongue may tell of your glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Additional Collect:

Holy Spirit, sent by the Father,
ignite in us your holy fire;
strengthen your children with the gift of faith,
revive your Church with the breath of love,
and renew the face of the earth,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Preparing for Penrtecost this weekend in in Saint Mary and Saint Giles Church, Stony Stratford, (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2024)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version, Updated Edition copyright © 2021, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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