Gafcon Chairman’s Letter Pentecost 2020

May 30, 2020 by

Beloved in Christ Jesus: Greetings in the name of our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

At Pentecost we rejoice that we are indeed ‘not left as orphans’ (John 14:18), but through the crucified, risen and ascended Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit is poured out upon us in fulfilment of God’s promise. It is by the Spirit of Jesus in our hearts that we are able to cry ‘Abba! Father! (Galatians 4:6) and even though many of us may not be able to able to sing the praises of God together in this time of pandemic, may our hearts nonetheless overflow with praise and adoration to God who so wonderfully restores us through his Son in the power of the Holy Spirit!

But this work of the Spirit in our hearts is part of a much bigger picture. When my brother Primate Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit addressed the Kenyan nation on 25th May he began with a reference to Romans 8:22,23:

For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

Much of his pastoral address is very practical, rightly directed to the pressing needs of those who are suffering, as are many in East Africa, not only from the impact of coronavirus, but also from locust plagues and flooding. But the biblical context he chose helpfully reminds us of the bigger picture of Pentecost.

Authentic life in the Spirit involves groaning as well as rejoicing. Disease is a sharp reminder of the pain, frustration and decay built into this present world order, but these things should not lead us to despair because the groaning of our hearts resonates with the whole creation in a deep sigh of longing that comes from the Spirit himself. And just as Jesus is the first fruits of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:23), likewise the first fruits of the Spirit anticipate all that is to come. So we can face the brokenness of the present, but with hope.

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