Updated: Jun 3
Dear All Saints and St Mary’s
This Sunday, as our gospel reading, John 14.15–21 turns our attention from Easter to Pentecost, our reading from Acts, Acts 17. 22–31, also takes a leap forward. Over the past few weeks, we have been following the events that took place in Jerusalem after the coming of the Holy Spirit. This week we hear about Paul’s visit to Athens.
Athens was, in some ways, like the city we live in. It was prosperous. It prided itself in its multicultural heritage. It had a strong intellectual tradition. Yet, when he arrived, Paul knew something was missing. The presence of so many different idols really bothered him. So, he started talking to people about Jesus. He talked to the Jews in their synagogues and to anyone who would listen in the marketplace. This drew the attention of some Greek philosophers who, in their intellectual curiosity, wanted to hear more. When Paul addressed them at the Areopagus, he started from what he had seen in the city. He tried to lead his hearers from their pluralist philosophy to a commitment to the one true God. Yet, in a society where sitting on the fence was regarded as a good thing, this was hard for many of them to accept.
This is another way in which our modern city is like Athens. There is a reluctance to make commitments and decide what is true and what is not. Many people would rather not decide between following Jesus and all the other things that shape their thoughts and values. Yet now as then, God calls us to follow Jesus. It is a decision that we make afresh in everything we say and do.
This Sunday, we have our usual second Sunday pattern of services, as follows:
Holy Communion (said)
Messy Muddy Church
We have our usual pattern of weekday services, with Celtic Morning Prayer on Wednesday at All Saints and Holy Communion for Ascension Day on Thursday at St Mary’s. Next Sunday, there is a baptism at St Mary’s and Holy Communion at All Saints. This gives the following services for the week:
Celtic Morning Prayer
So, as we look towards Ascension and Pentecost, let us pray for the help of the Holy Spirit in our walk with Christ in the words of the collect for this Sunday:
Risen Christ, by the lakeside you renewed your call to the disciples. Help your Church to obey your command and draw the nations to the fire of your love, to the glory of God the Father. Amen
Yours in Christ.
Mark Simms Licensed Lay Minister Benefice of All Saints and St Mary, Fishponds