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News from the Vicarage - June 2017

Dear Friends,

4th June Whit Sunday - Pentecost Pentecost took place on the well-established Jewish festival of Firstfruits, which was observed at the beginning of the wheat harvest. It was exactly 50 days after the Passover, the time of Jesus' crucifixion.

A feast day to celebrate the country's wheat harvest does not sound exactly world-changing, but that year, it became one of the most important days in world history. For Pentecost was the day that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit - the day the Church was born. Jesus had told His apostles that something big was going to happen, and that they were to wait for it in Jerusalem, instead of returning to Galilee. Jesus had plans for his apostles - but He knew they could not do the work themselves - they would need His help. And so the apostles and disciples waited in Jerusalem, praying together for several days. And then on that fateful morning there was suddenly the sound as of a mighty rushing wind. Tongues of flame flickered on their heads, and they began to praise God in many tongues - to the astonishment of those who heard them. The curse of Babel (Genesis 11: 1- 9) was dramatically reversed that morning. That morning the Holy Spirit came to indwell the apostles and disciples of Jesus: and the Church was born. The Christians were suddenly full of life and power, utterly different from their former fearful selves. The change in them was permanent. Peter gave the first ever sermon of the Christian Church that morning: proclaiming Jesus was the Messiah. His boldness in the face of possible death was in marked contrast to the man who had denied Jesus 50 days before. And 3,000 people responded, were converted, and were baptized. How's that for fast church growth! Of course Pentecost was not the first time the Holy Spirit had acted in this world. All through the Old Testament there are accounts of how God's Spirit guided people and strengthened them. But now, because of Christ's death and resurrection, he could indwell them. From now on, every Christian could have the confidence that Jesus was with them constantly, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

11th June Trinity Sunday - celebrating our God who is Three Persons. Trying to explain the doctrine of the Trinity has kept many a theologian busy down the centuries. Bible makes clear that God is One God, who is disclosed in three persons: Father, Son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit.

While Christmas and Easter are understood by most Christians the festival of Pentecost is not, yet it is as important as the other two. This year attendance was up at both Christmas and Easter. Let's try to make Pentecost the same! Trinity Sunday is something that is special to England. Most Sundays of the year are numbered after it. The Trinity colour is green, the colour of nature. Pentecost is red, the colour of flame & the spirit.

My Prayers and best wishes,

Fr. Philip Edge - Vicar