Rocky Road Epistles Chapter 11

Rocky Road Epistle for Pentecost Sunday 31st May 2020

Chapter 11

Happy Birthday RRBC and all churches around the world!  As your minister I am excited to welcome you to chapter 11 of the RRE.  Excited because Pentecost always stirs up a sense of expectation and joy.  We celebrate the starting of the church when the Holy Spirit came down on disciples gathered in Jerusalem.  Those disciples would never be the same again.  When this lockdown is lifted, we will never be the same again and life will have changed. 

Between Ascension and Pentecost, we have joined the call for prayer, “Thy Kingdom Come”.  Pentecost is on Sunday, but beyond the day we still need to keep on praying.

To help you in your prayers the next RRBC Prayer Diary comes with this chapter.  Many thanks to Margaret S. for producing this.

The BMS (Baptist Missionary Society) have called for this Sunday to be “Solidarity Sunday” when we can remember in prayer our neighbours around the world.  I have enclosed a sheet with their suggested prayers on for you.  BMS comment that “Covid-19 Coronavirus is changing our world and that the Coronavirus crisis is not going away soon.  But God is in control and he wants to use us all to respond.”  Amen to that.


Jen suggests some very encouraging verses from Romans chapter 8 v31-39.  Worth reading and thinking about.  A reminder that nothing can separate us from God’s love.

Bible Study

On Wednesday 3rd June at 7.30pm. All are welcome to join in and if you do not have Internet you can join us over the phone.

We are continuing a gentle stroll through Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

The passage is Philippians 2 v.19-30,

If you prefer to do this Bible Study at home, then try the following?

ABC method

  1. A title
  2. Best Verse
  3. Challenges
  4. Difficulties
  5. Encouragements

In Next week’s reflection we will be thinking about the symbol of the Anchor, the passage is Hebrews 6 v.13-20

Reflection from Laura

Based on the passage for this week Acts 2 v.1-13

Life involves change.  We all have a choice, we can either fight change or embrace it.  We either take as our approach the title of the musical “Stop the World – I Want to Get Off” or welcome the challenge of change as in the lyrics “Love, love changes everything …. Love will never, never let you be the same” (from the musical “Aspects of Love”). 

There was a clever and thought-provoking parody of the Pentecostal story on the Radio 4’s Daily Service on Monday 25th May led by Canon Stephen Shipley.  (You can still listen to it if you missed it).  In this parody they described a church that did not want change.  People wanted God to stay up in heaven, to keep Jesus back in the past and have nothing spiritual in services.  As for the Holy Spirit being in action - that was described as being highly dangerous. 

Praise the Lord that this was not the attitude of the disciples on the day of Pentecost.  They were ready and willing for all God that had for them.  As we are told in verse 1, they were altogether in one place.  This was not a coffee morning or a social gathering, they were waiting for what had been promised.  Waiting that involved praying and reading of Scripture.  The dramatic description of the events in the passage sounds like Luke is searching for ways to describe the indescribable.  He speaks of a sound like a violent wind from heaven and then something like tongues of fire coming on each of those present. 

Symbols of wind and fire that speak of some aspects of the Holy Spirit:

Like the wind the Holy Spirit:

  • is invisible (but we can see the impact)
  • is powerful
  • cannot be humanly controlled
  • moves unpredictably

Like fire the Holy Spirit can:

  • show us the way
  • warm us
  • enthuse us
  • cleanse us

The Holy Spirit coming like wind and like fire speaks of action and power. 

Pentecost marks the day that the disciples came alive spiritually. 

Pentecost is about coming alive, embracing the change involved.  Notice in the passage that the disciples were together and that each one of them received the Holy Spirit.  We are called to be part of a body of believers, the Bible does not speak of solitary Christians.  But each of us needs to be personally committed to following Jesus as Lord and Saviour and open to the Holy Spirit working in us.  The Spirit enabled the disciples to speak out, Pentecost was not a private party to make the disciples feel good.  They were so full of the Spirit that they had to speak, which in turn caused people around them to ask questions. 

RRBC will never be the same after this time of lockdown, not because of Covid, nor because we cannot meet, but because of the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives.  I ask each of you to prayerfully take time to lift the fellowship to God.  To pray for our future not just for when we can meet again, but how we go forward.  Think about what activities should start again and what should perhaps be forgotten?  What things should be done differently, or are there new things we should take on? 

Let us be people who seek God’s Kingdom on earth, who strive to follow Jesus in our lives as individuals and as a fellowship, and who are ready and willing for all God has for us through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Prayers (from BMS World Mission)

Pray with us for the global Covid-19 Coronavirus response

Pray that God will stop the spread of the virus. Pray that those who are ill or displaying symptoms will be healed, and that the Lord will bless the work of all those developing a treatment and a vaccine.

Pray for the response to the virus around the world. Pray that the Lord will keep NHS workers safe, as well as other healthcare workers across the world also risking their lives in the fight against theCoronavirus. Pray especially for workers in countries that are particularly vulnerable, such as Chad and Afghanistan.

Pray for people living and working under lockdown around the world. Pray also for people across the world who are unable to work and are struggling to support themselves and their families. Pray for BMS-supported work offering food relief in places like Tunisia, Bangladesh and Albania, that it will help vulnerable people get through this difficult time.

Pray for governments and leaders across the world. Pray that they will make wise, pro-active decisions that will benefit all their countries and the global community.

Pray for BMS mission workers and UK staff. Pray for mission workers who have returned to the UK, that they will be able to continue their work as best they can remotely. Pray for workers who are still overseas, that the Coronavirus will not prevent them from carrying out their vital work.

Songs for Sunday

Wind, wind, blow on me,
Wind, wind, set me free,
Wind, wind, my Father sent
The blessèd Holy Spirit.

1. Jesus told us all about You,
How we could not live without You,
With His blood the power bought,
To help us live the life He taught.
Wind, wind, blow on me, …

2. When we’re weary, You console us;
When we’re lonely You enfold us;
When in danger You uphold us,
Blesséd Holy Spirit.
Wind, wind, blow on me, …

3. When unto the church You came
Not in Your own but Jesus’ name.
Jesus Christ is still the same,
He sends the Holy Spirit.
Wind, wind, blow on me, …

4. Set us free to love our brothers;
Set us free to live for others,
That the world the Son might see,
And Jesus’ name exalted be.
Wind, wind, blow on me, …

Jane & Betsy Clowe
© 1974 ThankYou Music, CCLI #5638

Spirit of holiness,
Wisdom and faithfulness,
Wind of the Lord,
Blowing strongly and free:
Strength of our serving
And joy of our worshipping;
Spirit of God,
Bring Your fulness to me!

 You came to interpret
And teach us effectively
All that the Saviour
Has spoken and done;
To glorify Jesus is all Your activity;
Promise and Gift
Of the Father and Son:
Spirit of holiness, …

You came with Your gifts
To supply all our poverty,
Pouring Your love
On the church in her need;
You came with Your fruit
For our growth to maturity,
Richly refreshing
The souls that You feed:
Spirit of holiness, …

© Christopher Idle/Jubilate Hymns, CCLI #5638