A Word of Peace
In our last Word of Peace, we remarked on some striking parallels between the experience of Jesus’ first disciples waiting fearfully as the Easter weekend unfolded and that of Christians facing the Coronavirus some 2,000 years later.
Suddenly, through locked doors, the risen Jesus appeared with his message of peace – and continued to reappear. Now as we rejoin the disciples in the upper room at Pentecost, we find them all together in one place, praying and wondering how the promised Comforter would come.
And then He came! On that first morning of Pentecost, people from all over the world had gathered for Passover in Jerusalem and heard the good news about Jesus from Peter, with the others, in their own languages.
This Pentecost, the world has also been brought closer together through the pandemic. Christians all over Europe sang the same song, “Hallelujah”, drawn together by technology. In the same way, seventy Christian churches and denominations united to sing a blessing over the whole of the UK – a joyfully moving act of reconciliation in itself.
And, just as neighbours came forward to provide help wherever needed, so the world is coming together now too in a new way to challenge racial injustice and inequality.
Before he died, Jesus promised that although they would face dark times, the Father would send the Holy Spirit to be with them at all times. During these last difficult months, those living alone have especially missed the presence of others alongside them, and families have been painfully separated from loved ones.
Pentecost reminds us that the Holy Spirit brings people together, and inspires us to move between individuals and foster peace between groups, both in person and virtually.
In Ghana, for example, our CHIPS team has been working hard to combat misinformation about the virus, helping to prevent the escalation of distrust between opposing sides. In Brixton, we are supporting the urgent needs of those disproportionately affected by the crisis, while helping them to maintain and further build a sense of community during lockdown.
It is then God the Holy Spirit who forges the “bond of peace” between people and enables that unity to last (Ephesians 4:3).
At this time of year, we are reminded that the work of CHIPS is based on all three Persons of the Trinity: Ephesians 2:18 clearly states that all parts of the Godhead are involved in peace-making “For through Jesus both sides have access to the Father by one Spirit.”
More than ever, we need this firm foundation from which to draw on all the spiritual resources available to us and move forward with the fresh confidence of those first disciples after Pentecost.
Elfrida Calvocoressi, Chair of Trustees