Reflection for Pentecost 2021

Do You know how they got their Powers?

 This was my Pentecost assembly at St Thomas’ school in Golborne……

Could you name each superhero?

Can you describe any of their special powers?

Do you know how they got their powers?

I’ll concentrate on my favourite, Spiderman. (The one with the mask on) He is Peter Parker, just an ordinary man, but now has all the skill and agility of a spider; plus, spider-sense, and incredible strength!  How did he get these powers?….it’s obvious – he was bitten by a radioactive spider!

A Pentecost reading from Acts 20.25-32 – Paul’s Farewell Encouragement

25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.

26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you.

27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.

28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you leaders. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 

29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.

30 Even  from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.

31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

32 Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up….”

What Power made Paul’s friends leaders?

This is about 59AD; the churches are growing in number at an astonishing rate. Each fellowship is thriving.  Church members are not simply “attenders” but committed disciples.

 Most of the leaders are raw – they are no longer just Jewish, most are Gentiles and have no previous experience of anything like synagogue or church life, and no formal training.  Yet, they have grown into effective apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. How?  These staggering  truths defy explanation!


Paul is never to visit these churches, or see these Christians again, but in his parting words he opens up a miraculous answer:

“The Holy Spirit has made you leaders …. “(Acts 20.28)

“God …… can build you….” (Acts 20.32)

The same Spirit who made rustic fishermen from rural Galilee into Apostles is still working in the lives of unsophisticated believers who simply trust in His promises.

Was the Power of Pentecost a One-off?

It was about 1900.  A middle aged Scottish woman had taken her adopted Nigerian children on camping adventure into the wild hills. Suddenly, a leopard appeared; it had crept up on them through the jungle, entered the tent and seized the baby boy in its mouth. Mary grabbed a flaming log from the campfire and drove it into the leopard’s face. The leopard dropped the boy and fled howling. The baby was unhurt.  This was Mary Slessor, a woman on her own, and one of the greatest missionaries to reach the Calabar swamplands of southern Nigeria. The Holy Ghost had made love and courage the core of this Christian’s life.

Mary had grown up in a chaotic household in the slums and tenements of Dundee.  Her father had a drink problem, and most of the income paid for his alcohol – he had no job.  Mary never went to school.  She spent long days in a mill processing jute.  At 14, she became a Sunday School teacher.  At 27, she set out to the Calabar as a missionary. 

Only her own personal Pentecost would explain where her strength and inspiration came from.  The Lord has a Pentecost for every one of us.


Holy Spirit, sent by the Father, ignite in us your holy fire; strengthen your children with the gift of faith, revive your Church with the breath of love, and renew the face of the earth, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.  Amen. Amen!