I am writing this at 6.30am on Easter Sunday morning. I know that’s a little strange, but the truth is, I’m a little behind with things this month and the deadline for printing is on Tuesday, today is obviously Sunday – Easter Sunday!
The other reason is, I couldn’t sleep! I woke up at 5.30am! Excited. It’s the greatest day of the year for me, its the day that above everything else means through Jesus, we have the victory! Sin and death are defeated. As I read the resurrection passages in the bible this morning you get a real sense of that excitement flowing through the disciples as they began to realise that Jesus is alive. They were running around, there was a real buzz and its that excitement, that buzz, that I feel this morning, I can’t wait to get across to church for the Easter service to celebrate that Jesus is risen, but alongside that I can’t wait to get across to church to celebrate that fact with my church family.
Yesterday we had our church day out. A number of us headed to Freshfield in Formby for a fun day out at the beach. It just happened to be a ‘scorcher’ and most of the North West also had the same idea!!!!!!!! That said, we had a lovely time relaxing together, chatting together, sunbathing together and watching the children splash about in the sea and make sandcastles. The truth is, just being together was brilliant. We had a common bond, a connection which was clearly evident as I watched people just ‘hanging’ out together. What is it that is able to bring a group of people together and enable them to be so comfortable and relaxed with one another? What is it that means I can’t wait to get across to church this morning and celebrate Easter with everyone?
The answer – ‘The Holy Spirit’. Jesus said in John 14: 16-17 ‘ And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.’
In Acts 2 we see the coming of this promise as those same disciples who I read this morning were running around like excited children received the promised Holy Spirit. They were changed for ever and the world would never be the same again. The reason for this is that God, through his Holy Spirit (if we invite him) ‘lives with you and will be in you’. God lives in us! Wow- How amazing is that! That changes things! It changes the way we live, the way we see others, the way we see the world. It changes our thoughts and our actions. It fills us with an excitement that cannot be explained, particularly on Easter Sunday! (Like this morning!) It also does something else which is incredible. It means that when we come together with other believers, we are united. We are not strangers, we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Matthew 28: 48-50 Jesus says ‘“Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Do you see it? Those who have the Holy Spirit living in them carry a unique bond, they are connected through God’s Spirit. Its that which enables what would otherwise be a bunch of strangers to hang out on a beach and be completely relaxed together, its that connection that means I can’t wait to celebrate with others this morning, because we are family!!
Have you invited the Holy Spirit into your life? Are you a member of this family? One things for sure, it’s the greatest feeling ever. To be a part of God’s family and to share this experience with others. This Pentecost I pray that you will experience afresh the joy of being filled by His Holy Spirit and that you will allow him to work in and through you.