The Fifty days of Easter season came to an end yesterday with the Day of Pentecost (28 May 2023), or Whit Sunday, and Ordinary Time resumes today (29 May 2023).
Today is a bank holiday in England. Before this day gets busy, I am taking some time this morning for prayer and reflection. In this first week in Ordinary Time, between the Day of Pentecost and Trinity Sunday (4 June 2023), I am reflecting each morning in these ways:
1, Looking at an image or stained glass window in a church or cathedral I know depicting Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, or the Feast of the Day;
2, the Gospel reading of the day in the Church of England lectionary;
3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.
This morning, on the day after Pentecost, my principal image is a modern depiction of the Day of Pentecost from the site Crossroads Initiative, to which Heather Kiernan first drew my attention last week.
But this morning I am sharing three other images of the Holy Spirit from the chapel of Saint John’s Hospital in Lichfield, which has been at the heart of my spiritual life since I was in my late teens.
On entering the chapel, the holy water stoup calls on us to join in the invitation, ‘Come Holy Spirit.’
Inside the chapel, on the east wall of the north aisle the Holy Spirit shapes and forms the top panel of the Triptych (1999) of the Baptism of Christ by Saint John the Baptist.
In the courtyard outside the chapel, there is yet another reminder of the work of the Holy Spirit in figures of ‘Noah and the Dove,’ a sculpture by Simon Manby, commissioned in 2006.
Mark 10: 17-27 (NRSVA):
17 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 18 Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19 You know the commandments: “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honour your father and mother.”’ 20 He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ 21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ 22 When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ 24 And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ 26 They were greatly astounded and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’ 27 Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’
The theme in the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) this week is ‘Pentecost.’ USPG’s Chaplain, the Revd Jessie Anand, introduced this theme yesterday, reflecting on Pentecost and languages.
The USPG Prayer invites us to pray this morning (Monday 29 May 2023):
Let us pray for the island peoples of the Philippines. May they rejoice in their different languages and identities and find unity in their national identity.
O Lord, from whom all good things come:
grant to us your humble servants,
that by your holy inspiration
we may think those things that are good,
and by your merciful guiding may perform the same;
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Gracious God, lover of all,
in this sacrament
we are one family in Christ your Son,
one in the sharing of his body and blood
and one in the communion of his Spirit:
help us to grow in love for one another
and come to the full maturity of the Body of Christ.
We make our prayer through your Son our Saviour.
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org