Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pentecost 2012

Some random thoughts about Pentecost on the eve of Pentecost

Reading Acts 2 again, I have been struck by the way in which the story is about speaking. The Spirit comes and people speak: pray, praise, proclaim the gospel. What is a sign of the Spirit at work in our lives? Our speech!

In some recent discussions about liturgy which, in a sense, have been about lively and living liturgy (how to have it?) rather than liturgy that feels just a little bit on the dull side, my mind keeps returning to the 1970s and early to mid 1980s. Wasn't one spontaneous effect of the charismatic movement in those days, lively liturgy. We used the prayer book (viz "1970 Liturgy") because we didn't have any idea that we didn't have to use it, and when we sang we had lively songs which seemed, well, livelier than now (when, do not get me wrong, we have wonderful songs). At any moment singing in tongues might break out or a word of prophecy. The Spirit seemed to move among congregations in ways that doesn't seem to happen now. It is the Spirit's complete and absolute right to move or not to move. But I think it is our right to say, "Come back!"

Or am I being just nostalgic and remembering a few wonderful but rare moments in years otherwise, mutatis mutandis, no different to church life today?


Father Ron Smith said...

Come Holy Spirit, and fill the hearts of the Faithful with the fire of your love, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!

Anonymous said...

Just nostaligic? I don't think so, Peter - it *was a springtime in the church with greater spontaneity and joy. Christian Advance Ministries, Sound of Living Water, Tom Marshall .... But we were thirty years younger too!
Come Holy Spirit, Amen!

liturgy said...

Peter, your point is SO important! And I hope will lead to further reflection. One Eucharistic prayer, one clearly assigned collect, one set of readings, one response to one greeting known by heart and genuinely said to each other, not to a book,… led not to oppressive, boring, rule-bound worship (as has been so often the reaction to things I say here from people in comments), but, led by well-formed, God-focused worship leaders, to vibrant, vital, authentic, efficacious worship, in which all felt fully involved.

Nostalgically yours


Tim Chesterton said...

They were wonderful years, Peter. I became a Christian in the context of the charismatic movement in the early 1970s, and I will always be grateful for it.

Father Ron Smith said...

Pentecost well and truly celebrated at St. Michael and all Angels, in Christchurch, this morning; with Baptisms; Renewal of Baptismal Vows;
Anointing of the Hands of the congregation for ministry, and the Sharing of Christ in the Eucharist.

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire!

Bryden Black said...

Readers of your blog Peter might like to read this homily from B16 re Pentecost:

Kate said...

Why do you talk of the Spirit's presence / movement in the past?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Kate
(If I am understanding your question correctly) I am not wishing to imply that the Spirit is neither present nor moving in the church today. However my reading of church history is that there are periods when the Spirit moves in the church in an "extra"ordinary manner compared to her "ordinary" manner (Monatanism, Welsh Revival, beginnings of the modern Pentecostal churches, etc).