I want more..Infinitely more!

I wonder what you would have said if I had told you at Christmas that within a couple of months, we would be only able to contact each other by phone and would not only have to celebrate Easter together by letter but also would reach Pentecost in the same situation? 

I’m guessing you’d have thought I was completely mad.  

We spent January considering the ‘infinitely more’ of God, looking at how we would be seeking more of God this year and considering what we as a church could be dreaming of and asking for.  

This wasn’t it. 

This situation we find ourselves in right now just didn’t feature in our hopes, our dreams, our prayers and our plans.  

I would hazard a guess that the disciples felt the same.  Jesus had called them from their lives to come and follow him.  They had seen him do the most wonderful things and had recognised him as the Messiah, the promised one who would save the nation of Israel.  I think that we can safely assume that the Messiah coming, being arrested, being killed, rising and then disappearing up into the cloud didn’t feature in their hopes, dreams, prayers and plans.  

But today we read of God’s plan, his ‘infinitely more’ plan coming to fruition.  Jesus talked about it in the gospel of John.  We read it a couple of weeks ago, how Jesus told his disciples that he was leaving them and going to the Father but how that was a good thing because then the promised Holy Spirit would come and fill them and empower them and enable them to be his witnesses throughout the whole world.  It was always God’s plan.  From before the world was created, God knew and God planned.  

The fact is, the world had to get to the state it had got to, waiting and longing for a Messiah, so that God’s glory would be revealed and his Spirit would come.  Look what happened when he did!  Just read through the second chapter of Acts.  The disciples were all in a room together (I confess to feeling a little jealous of that right now!) just waiting to see what God was going to do next and his Spirit fills the room, the whole house, and rests on them and changes them and fills them with power and boldness and from that moment, the church was born. 

Happy birthday to you

Happy birthday to you

Happy birthday dear Church!

Happy birthday to you!

We aren’t all sitting at home waiting for the Holy Spirit to come and to touch us and to give us power.  He is already here and he is already working. I know that David and June have seen it within the care homes as they hear stories of what he is doing through their letters.  I have seen it as I chat with you all and hear of how you are being drawn to your bibles more and more, as I hear of how you have been loving and caring for each other from a distance.  I read the other day that the number of people ‘attending’ church services has risen from 5-6% to around 25% whilst the church buildings are closed.  I have seen how the old idea of ‘church’ has changed from being a service held in a hall for an hour on a Sunday morning to countless ways of connecting with each other via the internet, letters, socially-distanced conversations across the garden fence.  

Do not be deceived.  God is here.  His Holy Spirit is here and he is working.  

I don’t know about you, though, but I want more.  

I want to see people saved and lives changed.  I want to see the reality of God’s presence and power being recognised all over the world as people come face to face with what it means to be the church.  I want to be changed from the inside out as the Holy Spirit gently pushes me to look at those parts of me that aren’t holy, that aren’t totally his and to sort them out.  I want to dream bigger dreams and see the infinitely more of God becoming a reality right here, right now.

Do you?  If so, I want you to pray this prayer, written so long ago by William Booth but as powerful a prayer today as it was when it was written.  Let’s pray this together as a church on this Pentecost Sunday and then get ready for the infinitely more of God to fill us, our church,  our town and our world!

O God of burning cleansing flame 

Send the fire 

Your blood-bought gift today we claim 

Send the fire today 

Look down and see this waiting host 

And send the promised Holy Ghost 

We need another Pentecost 

Send the fire today 

God of Elijah hear our cry 

Send the fire 

And make us fit to live or die 

Send the fire today 

To burn up every trace of sin 

To bring the light and glory in 

The revolution now begin 

Send the fire today 

It’s fire we want for fire we plead 

Send the fire 

The fire will meet our every need 

Send the fire today 

For strength to always do what’s right 

For grace to conquer in the fight 

For power to walk the world in white 

Send the fire today 

To make our weak hearts strong and brave 

Send the fire 

To live a dying world to save 

Send the fire today 

Oh see us on Your altar lay 

We give our lives to You today 

So crown the offering now we pray 

Send the fire today