Pentecost Sunday 2022

Sermon by Reverend Matt Harbage


Spirit of Truth. Speak to us now, as we have gathered and heard the Scriptures. Amen.

What do these three have in common?

  1. Football legend Rio Ferdinand,
  2. John Torode & Gregg Wallace from Master Chef. AND
  3. Coronation Street actor Antony Cotton.


They will all receive Honours from the Queen this Jubilee year as she recognises those who have contributed great things to our nation in sport, culture, compassion and service. (OBEs/MBEs). Why am I talking about Honours?

Well, just as the Queen gives Honours on her birthday, on the day of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, we celebrate God giving us the gift of the Holy Spirit:

When we become Christians, we begin to follow our King, King Jesus. And Jesus gives us Honours.

These Honours are not just for some of us, but for all of us.

First, we are given the honour of being made Sons and Daughters of the King.
The Bible tells us that through faith in Jesus, we are made children of God. We are adopted
into his royal family.

On Monday, I met a multi-millionaire. It was a brief encounter. He was driving through an estate in his Land Rover.

Whenever I meet someone with serious power or wealth and I am tempted to feel nervous: I
stop and remind myself,

“I am the son of a King. Adopted into God’s family.”

It makes me feel more relaxed, and more myself. None of us need feel inferior to anyone else.

What makes us valuable is not money, or power, but God, and God alone.

Along with the Honour of being made a child of God, a second Honour gifted to us by Jesus and promised to his first disciples, and to us, is the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is often depicted as a dove, and if you’d like a little challenge, see if you can find the two stained-glass windows in church which have a dove in them. One of them is hard to find!

But the image of a peaceful DOVE is only half the story because along with the Holy Spirit being the great comforter and advocate, the Holy Spirit is also depicted, as in our Gospel today, by fire.

Fire is powerful, and it can become uncontrollable. Fire can give life, and warmth, like our church can be a little campfire: a welcome home, a place of love, or fire can bring death and tragedy. We must never think that God is all meek and mild.

God’s Holy Spirit brings truth, which can be more powerful than even flames. I’ve seen Truth tear a family into pieces, turning mother against daughter; and I’ve seen truth heal deep wounds.

At the end of the service, we will go out with candles, lit from our great Easter flame. I pray it would be a reminder to you that you carry the light of Christ out into the world. You are a child of God. A child of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

You carry within you the Holy Spirit of God. The Spirit which has the power to give life, – raised Jesus from the dead even – and brings truth, in fact, it brings all the blessings we need to be the church.

My prayer is that the flame of the Spirit burns brightly within you. That we would live a life of loving
service and joyful faith. The words of today’s Collect Prayer sum it up beautifully. Let us pray:

Holy Spirit, sent by the Father,
ignite in us your holy fire;
strengthen your children with the gift of faith,
revive your Church with the breath of love,
and renew the face of the earth,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.