This is a busy time of year for major festivals in the church, isn’t it? There is quite a lot to reflect
on in the space of a couple of months, from life to death to resurrection to ascension. It must
have been quite a roller-coaster of emotional energy for the disciples too. First came the joy of
the day when the crowds cheered “Hosanna” as Jesus entered Jerusalem, then April began on
Maundy Thursday when we remembered the Last Supper. That was followed by the nightmare days of His trial and crucifixion as we travelled the way to the cross on Good Friday and through into the bleakness of Easter Saturday. Then came the celebrations of Easter as we rejoiced in the astonishing news that Jesus was no longer in the tomb but going on ahead to meet the disciples in Galilee.
This month we mark two more important moments – firstly, Ascension Day on 13th May when we recall Jesus leaving the disciples as He is taken up in a cloud. The emotional highs and lows continue as the disciples experience the joy of meeting Jesus again, which was followed by Him leaving them again.
But Jesus had promised them that they were not going to be left on their own. Soon they were to be given a new source of power that will enable them to carry on His mission – soon they were to receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 1: 8) and it is the arrival of this gift on the day of Pentecost that we celebrate at the end of the month (23rd May). The disciples, quite literally, had their spirits renewed through the power of the Spirit. We find this idea of God’s people receiving renewal in Isaiah (40: 31) as well: “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” As the long weeks of lockdown slowly draw to an end and our churches reopen for worship again, let us look for God’s power of renewal in our churches in this season of Pentecost so that our worship, and our part in God’s mission, can soar on wings like eagles!