As we reach 50 days since Easter, we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles on the Christian festival we refer to as Pentecost as they were in Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish festival of Shavuot - the Feast of Weeks. Shavuot is a big festival in the Jewish year. It celebrates the wheat harvest and also commemorates the day on which God gave the Torah to the nation of Israel. It was therefore theologically a very significant day for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Jerusalem would have been filled with Jews from all over the known world returning to join in the festivities and many languages would have been being spoken. During our Communion Service, led by Canon Tony Jewiss, assisted by Linda Billenness (who preached our sermon) and Bob Carr, we heard again the story of the first Pentecost and then prayed during our intercessions in Maori, German, Spanish, French and English before later gathering around a Pentecost Installation beside our Paschal Candle. There, as we stood around the Paschal candle holding candles that had been lit for it, Tony led us in the Act of Commission as we undertook to "carry the light of Christ into the World's dark places", before Bob extinguished the Paschal Candle, its 50 days complete. We would like to especially thank Canon Susan Wallace, Liturgical Director of the Transcendence Fresh Expressions organisation for the ideas which inspired much of the content of this service. Some more of Sue's work can be found on her blog here. We are also very grateful to Tony Jewiss for providing us with a set of versions of the Lord's Prayer in a multitude of languages. These have been left displayed on the various altars within the Church of St.Andre for visitors to examine.