Prayer for the week

The collect and its explanation

Collect

Pentecost – Sunday 20th May

God, who as at this time
taught the hearts of your faithful people
by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit:
grant us by the same Spirit
to have a right judgement in all things
and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort;
through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Readings

Acts 2: 1-21; John 20:19-23

Explanation

The collect this week speaks of a balancing act between the heart and the head. We pray that we will have right judgement (head stuff) and a sense of rejoicing (heart stuff).

Having right judgements is not perhaps the first thing we think of when we think of Pentecost: more often we think of fresh supernatural outpourings and the transforming fire which leaves communities and individuals changed for ever.

We don’t so often think in terms of making up our minds on contentious issues. At a time when our country faces a difficult decision at the upcoming EU referendum having a spirit that helps us form right judgments is a matter for prayer and rejoicing. 

Invoking the Spirit means to engage both the mind and the heart. Neither one has precedence over the other. Spirit lead worship that “goes with the flow” and the heart must not belittle structure, form and careful planning. Equally we must avoid a cool, rational religion which looks down its nose at enthusiasms and spontaneity.

The first Pentecost was a time not only for speaking in tongues, but for urgent biblical exegesis and theological explanation. It isn’t an either/or. Head and heart must go together, and we need perhaps to reconnect with the Spirit-driven impetus towards forming right judgments.