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Pentecost 5 June 2022

The Holy Spirit moves the church towards a new vision

A message from the Presidents of the World Council of Churches for Pentecost 2022.

A symbol of the trinity, cross and resurrection decorates the pulpit in the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, March 2020, Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

As these days of Pentecost arrive, we recall the commitment of the church to bring good news to those who suffer the most from armed conflicts, from the harmful effects of economic ambition throughout this time of pandemic, and from the devastating damages that we have caused the planet.

Acts 1 and 2 relate that, in Jerusalem, the apostles received the promise of the power to witness and the encouragement of the Holy Spirit to bring the good news to all ends of the earth. It is not until Act 8 that these geographical advances in evangelisation are reported: not through the mouths of the apostles but instead though Philip, a deacon. This happens as a consequence of the persecution against the church.

In the Acts, the Holy Spirit brings new gifts, new ways to evangelise, new places to reach, new ways to live life, and pathways to reach those who have been discriminated against; it takes lives lived in the service of persecution and death and transforms them into lives in the service of Christ’s name and his good news; it gives power to confront political, military, and economic powers. The church understood the need to build safe spaces and thus save lives.

We pray that the impetus of this Spirit continue to move us in that direction. That it keeps putting words of eternal life into the mouth of the church. That its creativity is manifested through its unexpected actions and that, through its breath of life, take us wherever it wishes.