Whitsun 2012

Sunday was Whit Sunday, the day when we remember the fulfilment of Pentecost when Christ poured out the Holy Spirit on the disciples and brought the Church into being. Perhaps it's because we're Pentecostals, but Pentecost is one of the high points of our church calendar. (And that's not really a new thing that came with Pentecostalism: historically the three major festivals of the Christian church have always been Christmas, Easter and Whitsun. And even the UK parliament has a Whitsun recess.) In fact, Whitsun is such an important occasion in the Christian year that it's one of only 4 times in the year that the BBC shows a full church service on national television (and more on that later).

In Leeds we celebrated Whitsun with some visitors. Ps Dom Bird and Scott Jones from Sunnyhill Church (the Poole assembly of the Apostolic Church) joined us for the day, and, at the Breaking of Bread, Dom preached powerfully about the radical nature of God's grace. In the evening we had our second Whitsun mini-convention, when several of the other Apostolic Churches in Yorkshire joined us in Leeds to celebrate Pentecost. We had a band from Bradford to help lead worship and Scott gave his testimony. It was wonderful to hear how God had turned his life around and how hiding on the church roof and breaking a church window led to salvation, and also eventually becoming an elder in that church. Dom preached in the evening on how the Holy Spirit empowers us to go on God's mission and our need to go in faith. And when it was all over and the last song had been sung, there was tea, coffee, chicken (!), and a whole lot of fellowship.
It was a really good day, but not only because we had good fellowship, good preaching, a good testimony and good singing. All of that was good, but what was even better was the evidence of God at work in people's lives. And another good thing was that, as we were hearing of God's call to go, God also brought a few non-Christians in to us and so we had the opportunity to share the gospel with them.

Then tonight I watched the BBC's Whitsun church service on iPlayer: Live Pentecost Praise from Brighton. Amazingly, the BBC screened a service from an evangelical/charismatic church, the Church of Christ the King in Brighton, mother church of Newfrontiers. So rather than the Whit liturgy from Common Worship, they showed a contemporary gospel-preaching church. And, live on BBC1, through the songs and the preaching, the gospel was presented clearly to the nation. That's amazing! So I'm praying that God would use that proclamation of the gospel, whether when it was broadcast on Sunday morning or throughout the rest of the week on iPlayer to bring people all over the UK to salvation.

So, a good Whit Sunday all round.