The New Room is sharing a Friday reflection each week during the time that we are closed. Even though we cannot currently join together for our usual Friday lunchtime Communion service in the chapel, we hope that these short reflections will act as a point of spiritual focus, enabling a moment of quiet thought and prayer.
I will pray [to] the Father and he shall give you another Comforter, that [s]he may abide with you for ever. John 14 v 16 King James Version.
On Sunday 31st May we celebrate the arrival of the Holy Spirit empowering the early Christian disciples, which happened on the day of a Jewish festival called Pentecost. In Acts 2 we learn of the Holy Spirit appearing as the rush of a loud wind, of tongues of fire appearing and everyone speaking in different languages that are understood by all. Consequently our Christian Pentecost celebrations may have tended to be jubilant, noisy affairs, often taking the form of a party to joyfully proclaim the birthday of the church. This year we may find it more helpful to hold on to an old-fashioned translation in the King James Bible of the Holy Spirit as Comforter and I have taken the liberty of updating it to say she. When my twin grandsons were born we bought them little comforter blankets. These were soft with a cuddly rabbit in the corner and I like to think of the twins snuggling up to their comforting blankets. Describing the Holy Spirit as Comforter reminds us that God wishes to comfort us, to reassure us of his love and protection in a time of disease and to help us to relax in our relationship with our God through the comfort of the teaching of Jesus. To receive the Holy Spirit is to have the comfort of Jesus himself with us. Jesus who always knew exactly how to comfort his mother when he was dying, how to comfort Mary when she was surprised by him at the tomb, how to comfort his disciples when he was leaving them bodily. Jesus knows exactly how to comfort us too in our times of distress and loss. We are given the gift of the Holy Spirit as Comforter, to help us and to also help us to comfort others.