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Archbishop Message at Pentecost

Monday 21st May 2012

The Archbishop of York has recorded a video message in preparation for Pentecost on Sunday 27 May (this festival is also known as Whit Sunday). The video message is available to watch this week from the social media website YouTube.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said, “The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to Jesus’ first disciples meant a celebration of new life for the Church.  For this reason, Whit Sunday, or Pentecost, is often called the birthday of the Church.  This is a time to celebrate God, and especially at Pentecost, this is a wonderful opportunity to pray for a new life by the Spirit of God, which is both life-changing and life-transforming.  Let us be the Good News of Jesus Christ.”

On Saturday 26 May, as part of the celebrations for Pentecost, the Archbishop will join churchgoers from the North East of England, processing up 199 steps to Whitby Abbey and will then preside at a communion service.

The full text of the Archbishop’s Pentecost message follows:

When the day of Pentecost had come they were all together in one place and suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind and it filled all the house where they were sitting and they appeared to them as tongues of fire distributed and resting on each one of them and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

What did this all mean? Well the coming of the Holy Spirit really means this. New life for the church, new life for individuals within the church, new life by the Spirit of God, another life very much like that of Jesus Christ that is free, unmerited, sudden, life changing and life transforming. Those words like a wind, the rushing of a mighty wind. I am reminded of a story of a woodpecker that was busy pecking away all day at this huge gigantic oak tree. Suddenly there was a gale force wind that put an end to this oak tree. And the woodpecker said my oh my I never knew I had such power in my beak.

The coming of the Holy Spirit was to enable the very life of Jesus to live within the life of his disciples and that coming of the Holy Spirit did two other things. First, it gave the disciples the ability to speak. There were many people coming from all over the world to that place but they heard them telling them about the mighty acts of God. And do you know what causes trouble in the world? It’s not necessarily the words we use but what other people hear us saying. So the Holy Spirit gave the gift of speaking clearly that other people were able to hear but also the gift of hearing.


Pentecost is about this life, which is passed on, one from the other. It’s like a candle that you light and I can take it from the other candle to this candle and the thing about this Holy Spirit,  it passes on from one to the other, and the good thing is that it never goes out.

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