Bishop Anne’s Comment: Share the Gift

Pearl of Great PriceBishop Anne of Aston

Our archbishops have called for “a great wave of prayer for evangelism” in the week leading up to Pentecost. As we prepare to celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the first disciples, I have been reflecting on their utterly uncontainable joy as they spoke of the good news of Jesus’ resurrection to those of a myriad different languages and nationalities.

The archbishops encourage us not only to pray, but to ask God to renew us in our own sharing of the faith – but are we all called to be evangelists? Some will embrace this call to evangelism whole-heartedly, some may be less sure.

The commission given by Jesus is to go and make disciples of all nations. This commission is as central to the life of faith as is prayer. Whilst some are of course especially gifted as evangelists, all of us are called in some way to bear witness to the faith that we have – that is to tell the story of Jesus and to tell our own stories in the light of the encounter that we have had with the living, risen Lord. This quite simply is what it means to embrace and tell with joy of the “evangel” – the good news.

That word “joy” again. It’s an important word. For it seems to me that if we look at all the challenges around us – whether within our parishes and chaplaincies, the wider church, or the life of our city, region, and nation, we may wonder whether our communities will ever begin to resemble God’s kingdom come on earth. If, however, we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, and if we keep our ears attuned through prayer to the song of the Holy Spirit within us and within the world around, then we will “with joy draw deeply from the wells of salvation”. (Isaiah 12.3)

This joy comes through knowing the fullness of life that is in Christ – life that burst the tomb and that we receive as sheer gift; life that comes through knowing the rescuing, restoring love of God at work renewing us and all creation.

It is no less than this gift that we have to share – a precious pearl of great price. It is when we truly recognise the wonder of this gift that our own sharing of the good news will also come from a place of uncontainable joy and we shall become attractive and deeply authentic witnesses to the love which we have found at the heart of the universe.

Joy and gratitude are closely linked. As we approach the week of prayer for which the archbishops have called, I offer the enigmatic words of the medieval mystic Meister Eckhart who said – “If the only prayer that you ever pray in your whole life is ‘thankyou’ – this is enough”.

For the profoundest prayer for the evangelisation of our nation will begin with a recognition that we have indeed a pearl beyond price, and our calling is simply to share the gift – with joy.

Bishop Anne signature

 

 

 

The Rt Revd Anne Hollinghurst
Bishop of Aston


In the week leading up to Pentecost Bishop Anne and Bishop David will be sharing encouragements, challenges and blessings on Facebook and Twitter.

Do share them as they appear each day at 7am, Noon and 7pm.

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4th May 2016 Posted in: News by Stella Jennings 0

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