In my devotions I have been reflecting on `Talking of God`, and part of these reflections has been thinking on how God shapes us through our experiences and how God can use these experiences/testimonies to help others.
This has led me to reflect on three things:
First, is the Aldersgate day on 24th May, a very special day for the people called Methodists. On this day, in 1738, John Wesley had a spiritual experience which he described as God working in his heart through the faith in Christ. Wesley himself described in his journal how he felt his heart ‘strangely warmed’ at a meeting held in Aldersgate Street in London. This experience gave his life a new sense of purpose and direction. After years of wandering in the spiritual wilderness, he now set his heart on the unique nationwide mission that was to capture the hearts of thousands and lead eventually to the founding of the worldwide Methodist Church.
Secondly, 30th May, is Ascension Day. By that act, Jesus took leave of His earthly presence to return to His spiritual home and leave the gift of God’s Holy Spirit to those behind, so we could carry on His work in our world. This year, for 11 days, from Ascension Day to Pentecost (9th June) Thy Kingdom Come, which is a global prayer movement, invites Christians around the world to pray for more people to come to know Jesus.
After the very first Ascension Day the disciples gathered with Mary, constantly devoting themselves to prayer while they waited for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Like them, our reliance on the gift of the Holy Spirit is total – on our own we can do nothing.
And finally, Pentecost Sunday, this year is on 9th June when we celebrate a birthday which has worldwide significance. The birthday of the Christian Church. It is the day that the Spirit, which Jesus promised His disciples, comes to earth. Not just to earth, but to our hearts and souls. So, we have all the reason to celebrate. And as we celebrate, it’s good to recall how simply the Christian Church actually began - with just a group of ordinary people who had no property, no buildings, but who had an openness and willingness to depend on God and trust Him to provide the gifts they needed. At Pentecost, we read how God gave the gift of the Holy Spirit as a source of great energy and power and in that power, the apostles immediately went out to proclaim Christ (Acts 2: 1 – 11).
Pentecost is about conversion, change and transformation - new beginnings. Sometimes we live our daily lives with the old familiar, trials and weaknesses and crosses not allowing God to shape us through our experiences and allowing him to use these experiences/testimonies to help others.
Pentecost proclaims that God’s Spirit is available to anyone, anywhere, any time. What we need is a deep, passionate longing for God, more than anything or anyone. And God will come and breathe His life into us all, and the effects will show. May we echo the words of John Wesley’s brother, Charles who wrote the following verses:
‘O for a heart to praise my God, A heart from sin set free,
A heart that always feels thy blood, So freely spilt for me.
Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart; Come quickly from above,
Write thy new name upon my heart, Thy new, best name of love.
(STF 507, verses 1 & 6)
May God grant us an ever-increasing experience of His heart-warming and life-changing love.
Grace and Peace
Revd. Faith Nyota