Last Friday (1st May) was our wedding anniversary, Bonnie and I have been married for 38 years. It does not seem possible, where did those years go?
We had planned to go away for a few days to celebrate and relax. Sadly, that was cancelled due to the current coronavirus crisis and we spent our anniversary at home and had a far simpler celebration.
It does not however change the fact that we have been married for 38 years and we thank God for his many blessings over those years.
I note too that today, 8th May, is VE Day, when we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of WW2 in Europe.
One of the innovations that was developed to aid the war effort was Operation PLUTO.
“Operation Pluto”. – means… “pipeline under water transportation of oil ” The challenge was how to supply fuel across the English channel to support the allied troops. From January 1945 to May 8, 1945 almost 1 million gallons (4.5 million litres) were pumped daily. In total, over 172 million gallons of petrol were pumped to the Allied forces in Europe by VE day.
“Operation Pluto” is considered one of history's greatest feats of military engineering. The pipelines are also the forerunners of all flexible pipes used in the development of offshore oil fields.
Eisenhower acknowledged the significance of this feat when he said: “Second in daring only to the Mulberry Harbours, was PLUTO.”
Innovation is often key to successful outcomes in difficult times.
What can be more innovative than God’s plan of salvation and the birth of the church?
These above two anniversaries make me mindful of the fact that the Church has an anniversary coming up. The anniversary of the birth of the Church. On the 31st May the church celebrates Pentecost Sunday.
The festival of Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks. In the Christian tradition, this event represents the birth of the early church.
Acts 2 - 1, '...When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them…Those who accepted his message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day…Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved...'
The church is 2,020 years old on the 31st May 2020.
Pentecost Sunday is a great time to celebrate and reflect on the what God is doing in his Church and to seek out the refreshing of the Holy Spirit as we seek to continue serving God.
However, even though there are mutterings that the lock down rules might soon be relaxed, it will not be soon enough or extensive enough for us to meet, in the way we have done in the past.
That does not mean we cannot or should not celebrate on that day. We can pray, worship, break bread knowing that in Christ we are still together, of one mind and spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:16, '...Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf...'
This is not the place to discuss in detail the events of that first Pentecost or the implications of the coming of the Holy Spirit so please read chapter 2 of Acts for the story of how the Church was born.
The Apostle Peter was enabled to “preach” that day because he has been empowered by the Spirit, purified by the Spirit and given the ability to communicate the gospel to the people. The result we see in verse 41 was 3000 people “added to their number”. The Holy Spirit’s purpose is to fulfil the plan of the Father and the Son.
From Acts 2 we understand that the Holy Spirit came to empower, to purify, to reveal and to unite the disciples and the church. He comes to prepare hearts to receive the message of Christ.
So in the days leading up to this important festival let us take time to seek God and wait upon Him for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit and expect new opportunities to share the Gospel, the good news, with a world that needs to hear.