June 8 is Pentecost Sunday when the church celebrates the Holy Spirit, 'God's Empowering Presence,' being made available to all.
Yet sometimes we are reluctant to get too involved with the Holy Spirit. Maybe we don't want the Spirit of God to transform us, we worry about what that may mean. Maybe we associate it with the bizarre, or with over-emotionalism or with religious nuts. Maybe we consider anything to do with the Holy Spirit is incompatible with the kind of worship we prefer.
In both matins and evensong the old Prayer Book has the congregation respond: 'And take not thy Holy Spirit from us.' Thomas Cranmer, the man behind the Prayer Book knew what it felt like to be aware of the Holy Spirit in his life.
Jesus says: 'If you know how to give good gifts to your children how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.' The Holy Spirit brings good gifts we do want, so we should not be apprehensive.
A few years ago now I took a clergy friend to the church we were then attending - the worship was traditional, with robed choir and full vestments. On the surface there was nothing exceptional about it. The congregation was fairly small. About half way through the service my friend, who was not the sort normally to say such things, turned to me and whispered: I can feel the presence of God here.'
I can think of no higher accolade for any church. And my friend was right, for very slowly but surely that church has seen growth ever since. I pray, that when that same friend visits us he will say the selfsame thing.
What do we want?
The question is: 'Do we desire to be continually overflowing with the Spirit?' Are we willing to pray 'come Holy Spirit' and to go an praying it until we experience the Spirit's presence within and among us? If we are, we can be sure of receiving the good gifts Jesus promised and we will sense that presence of God amongst us too.