There have been many gatherings over these past few days – services and community events marking the historic anniversary of her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and many of you will have been organising, participating, encouraging and praying. I enjoyed being at a variety of events … and everything involved eating cake, although strangely enough no marmalade sandwiches!
It was poignant on Sunday, in the midst of all the feasting and community celebration, to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost and pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit as we continue to pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth is in heaven,
In our Pentecost services our worship resounded with thanks, not least as we gave thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit; and ‘Thank you’ was repeatedly expressed throughout the Jubilee celebrations as individuals and crowds thanked the Queen for her years of service flowing from her faith in Christ.
However, today with Bishop Robert, I want to say thank you to YOU. Thank you for shining Christ’s light in so many different ways across the landscape of your week. Thank you to those who lead in many different ways and in different contexts, when it’s joyous and when it’s tough. Thank you to those who live Christ’s love often in unsung ways and amid the ups and downs of daily life. Thank you to those who pray and encourage.
Thank you to you, however old you are – whether you remember the Coronation or if you are too young to remember the Diamond Jubilee. Thank you to those who don’t even think this message of thanks is for you, yet it is, because in our places of difference and our places of agreement we are members together of the Body of Christ across this Diocese.
We will soon be reminded of that in the opening words of the ordination services in our Cathedral (June 18 and 19): ‘The Church is the Body of Christ, the people of God and the dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit. In baptism the whole Church is summoned to witness to God’s love and to work for the coming of God’s kingdom.’
Thank you to her Majesty the Queen for her part in this, and thank you to you for yours.
In these days after Pentecost as we give thanks for the gift of God’s Holy Spirit, may we be those whose hearts are thankful:
‘Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:4-7 read on Friday at the Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen’s reign).
This comes with thanks this day