Todays meditation comes from Laura Symon, currently studying at Highland Theological College

On Sunday, we celebrated Pentecost – the birthday of the church! An excellent excuse for some cake to mark the occasion, I think! Pentecost is the day when the Holy Spirit descended to the first Christians, and their mission really began.

The Holy Spirit has many names and does many things – a guiding wind to our sails, a fire within us for justice and righteousness, a whispered balm to comfort us in times of pain. That first day, the Spirit came to give life and hope to a frightened group confined to a room, and filled them with power and the ability to speak life to many others – even those of different languages and backgrounds. They spoke of what had changed because of Jesus, and of what would change as men and women, young and old could dream and speak to the future.

It is a dramatic and inspiring story. But it’s not the only story of the Spirit celebrated this week– we also have the ’Visitation’, recounted in Luke 1:39-56. It feels very strange reading what feels like a Christmas passage in June, but it is a lovely story of women and connection. A pregnant Mary travels to the hills of Judea to greet her older cousin Elizabeth – who unbeknownst to her is also expecting a miraculous child of her own.

‘And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit,and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”’

In an instant, the Spirit opened Elizabeth’s eyes to see things as they really were. Mary’s pregnancy had significance beyond what could be seen at first glance. Even now, two centuries later, the Spirit still opens our eyes to see the world for what it really is – and for what it could be.

Many have said that while they look forward to the end of lockdown, they don’t want a return to the way that things were before. The pandemic has awakened community spirit, kindness and a return to a slower pace – lessons that we hope to carry with us into a post-COVID life. As the Spirit breathes new life and understanding into our hearts, we can dream dreams of a more loving future – the world as it could be, marked by the kindness and goodness of God’s love. The Comforter and Guide will give us eyes to see what is broken in the world, a hope for better, and the drive to work for restoration – we have only to do as Mary did, as the disciples did, and say yes.

I leave you with a hymn – a relatively new one by the Gettys, ‘Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God’.

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