Message from the chaplain: 14 June 2019

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
— John 16:12-15 (NRSV)

On Sunday 9 June, the church celebrated Pentecost: God’s gift of the Holy Spirit to Christ’s disciples appearing as tongues of flame, and enabling each to speak the message of God in various languages such that listeners could all understand God’s message in their own languages. It was, and is, the gift of the Holy Spirit to the church – to us – the body of Christ here on Earth.

Sunday 16 June is Trinity Sunday, on which we celebrate our Triune God: God the Creator; God the Son and Redeemer; and God the Holy Spirit who sustains the people of God. These together are three persons, yet one God, such that our God is in essence God-in-relationship, and God invites us into the intimacy of this relationship.

One of the first stances of prayer (which became known as the orance position) entailed standing face uplifted, arms raised with hands upturned as if to embrace the Holy. How better to welcome the Spirit of God as the Spirit weaves us together with God, the three-in-one? Surely the words the Spirit declares (John 16: 12-15) can only be words of love, of comfort – words for which we yearn, all be they words that also challenge us and whittle our character into that which our God who is love imagines for us and created us to become, in relationship with God?

In South Africa, Sunday 16 June is also Youth Day, the day on which we remember the agency of the youth in 1976 in standing against the evil that was apartheid, a regime that sought what God did not: separatism, not unity, and to the terrible detriment of so many. As we remember and celebrate all that the youth did, that day, let us uplift our country in prayer to receive anew God’s Spirit who continues to weave unity in love, within and among us all.

Revd Claudia Coustas