Almondbury with Farnley Tyas

Sharing the love of Christ in the community

Trinity Sunday, 7th June

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

As we celebrate Trinity Sunday, I think it is important to reflect further on the Gifts of the Spirit and so I’ve taken some key quotations from the Bible and set them below.  These were written to help new Christians come to an understanding of what this overpowering Gift of God’s Spirit meant for them and for their world.  Today it is just as important for us to ask these questions and to truly consider what the Gift of the Spirit means and is and does in our lives.  Many people get muddled up or scared thinking they have not received the Holy Spirit, that like some fairy tale, they have been overlooked in the giving of Gifts.  But we know that is not true.  God’s Spirit is intended for all, and it is only for us to recognize and accept and use the Gifts, and we don’t even need to rely on our own strength to do this - but to ask God.  We are always in a relationship with God and where we are weak, God is there to uphold us.  So, in the next week please reflect on the passages below and consider what gifts you have received, and consider if there is a gift of the Holy Spirit that you feel you need at the present time.

A Reminder - the traditional gifts of the Holy Spirit are described as: Wisdom; Understanding, Council or Prudence; Fortitude; Knowledge; Piety; Awe of the Lord.  Though it is important to remember that God is never bound by any list contrived by human knowledge and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are boundless and always available when needed. 

Hebrews 2.1,3b,4

We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard… salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to God’s will.

1 Corinthians: 12.4-11 

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.

Colossians 1.9-10

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to God’s glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of God’s holy people in the kingdom of light. For God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 

We each are given gifts for the common good - the good of all people.  Which means that we are empowered and expected to live a life in the service of others, as Christ lived his life on earth healing the sick, comforting the broken hearted, feeding the people, and ultimately sacrificing his own life to rescue all of humanity.  The Holy Spirit gives us gifts not so that we can ‘save ourselves’, that is enter by ourselves into the Kingdom of Heaven than surrounds us, but much more importantly so that we can bear some of that light to others. We have been blessed to be part of Christ’s rescue mission to the world, part of the Trinity’s transformative love that is working yesterday, today and tomorrow to transform this world more and more each day until it is indistinguishable from the Kingdom of God.

What Gift of the Spirit has God’s given you?  What Gift do you seek?  Take some time this week to ask yourself these questions in prayer, in contemplation, in your day to day activities.  When we work within the Gifts of the Spirit given to us, we are most closely aligned to God’s will and then we are strong in God’s power and grace.  And notice, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the first disciples, there was no ‘sorting out’ no ‘weighing up’ of who was to receive - young and old, healthy and infirm, female and male, all received.  Because there is no ‘sorting hat’ with God. God has a gift for each of us - and within that gift is the strength to use it! 

Practical Matters:

Continue to pray for the reopening of our churches, for ideas of what that may look like, and what gifts we can give to our communities who have suffered much during this time.

Consider giving, as you are able, to charities that are helping people cope at this time, including the Welcome Centre in Huddersfield. https://www.thewelcomecentre.org/

Worship:

We are all invited to celebrate together through a streamed Eucharist at 10.30 on Sunday through Zoom.  Anadelle, our parish administrator, will be in contact through the e-mail group list with the joining instructions. Its very easy, so do try.  Its not quite the same as being with each other in person, but it is so nice to see everyone’s faces, and hear each other’s voices.   Please feel free to forward the joining instructions to anyone you think may would benefit from worshipping with us.

If you do not have the internet, or can’t get on to Zoom, you can join in worship on BBC One at 10.45. This service will be led by the Reverend Canon Leigh Richardson, sub-dean and precentor from St Davids Cathedral in Pembrokeshire:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000jyy7  

Here are links to live streamed services in the Leeds Diocese including services from other parishes in our area if you want to try these - they include morning and evening prayer, as well as Sunday worship:
https://www.leeds.anglican.org/covid-19/live-streaming#churches 

Thank you for all the love and care you are giving to each other, your neighbors, your family, and strangers during this time. Continue to be faithful in prayer and this will sustain you. 

God’s blessings pour upon you and those you love, sustaining you with God’s light and power during this time,

Revd Jessica Malay