Pope, Archbishop share messages of hope and renewal in service to have a good time Pentecost Sunday
Archbishop Justin Welby
The Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury have shared messages of hope and renewal in an unprecedented global online service to mark Pentecost Sunday amid the restrictions of Covid-19.
“It is my great joy that despite the physical restrictions we’re all living within, we’re all able to gather together to worship on this Pentecost Sunday, the day we rejoice in the most wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit, who brings to birth the Christian church,” Archbishop Justin Welby said.
“Since Ascension 10 days ago, many in this country and across the world have been praying fervently for a fresh empowering of the Holy Spirit as we pray ‘Thy Kingdom come’, waiting for God’s power to renew us that we might faithfully witness to Jesus Christ.
“My prayer on this day is that each of us may know the empowering presence of God with us so that we may effectively live out this good news.”
In a special message for the virtual service, Pope Francis reminded people of the comfort in the midst of suffering that is to be found in the Holy Spirit, and the call upon believers to share this comfort with others.
He said it was especially important now to share this message with the many people “severely tested” and experiencing “inconsolable grief” as a result of the pandemic.
“This is Pentecost: we celebrate the day on which the Spirit of God came down with power. Since that day, God’s life dwells among us, bringing us new and previously unknown hope, peace and joy,” he said.
“At Pentecost, God ‘infected’ the world with life. How different this is from the contagion of death that has ravaged the earth for months now.
“Today, more than ever, it is necessary to implore the Holy Spirit to pour forth into our hearts the life of God, who is love.
“Indeed, if there is to be a better future, our hearts must change for the better.
Pope Francis encouraged believers to spread hope and comfort to the world
He continued: “On the day of Pentecost, people who spoke different languages assembled and encountered one another. In these months, however, we have been required to observe appropriate and necessary measures to keep our distance from one another.
“Yet we have also come to understand better in our hearts what others are experiencing. We have been brought together by fear and uncertainty.”
He called on believers to “radiate hope” as he spoke of his desire to see Christians “be more deeply united” in witnessing God’s mercy.
“Today, our world is experiencing a tragic famine of hope. How much pain is all around us, how much emptiness, how much inconsolable grief. Let us, then, become messengers of the comfort bestowed by the Spirit.”
The service marks the finale to this year’s annual ecumenical prayer movement for evangelism, Thy Kingdom Come.
Since 2016, the prayer movement has brought together Christians around the world to pray in the run-up to Pentecost for God’s Kingdom to come, with 65 different denominations now participating.
This year’s virtual service was joined by worship artist Matt Redman and friends, who sang a special version of the popular hymn, Amazing Grace.
He said: “I love that we’re making the most of this physical distancing moment, and coming up with new ways to connect, and to worship together. This ‘Amazing Grace’ hymn video is a lovely example of this – and it was so special to be a part of. Lots of different voices, from lots of different places and walks of life – but one heart and one song!
“I hugely applaud all that Archbishop Justin and his team are doing through Thy Kingdom Come – it’s become a fantastic part of the annual rhythm of the UK church – and it’s such a joy again to be a part of.”