Reading (Acts 2:22-24, 29-33, 36-41)
Peter's Sermon at Pentecost
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
Spring is wonderful. The longer, warmer days mixed with a plentiful supply of showers cause impressive growth in the plants in our gardens and also in the fields and hedges that surround our villages. The only problem is that everything grows, not just the plants that we want to grow, but also the ones that we do not. The weeds are growing everywhere. No sooner have I weeded my vegetable patch than another weed seems to spring up to take the place of the ones I have removed.
My mum’s garden is much worse than mine for weeds. She has fine, sandy soil that is like having one very large seed bed, so the weeds thrive in the poor, well-drained fine earth. A couple of weeks ago I started the job of clearing the weeds in her front garden, it will take me quite a while. As I was busy weeding away I kept on being distracted from the task in hand by the sounds in the sky above me.
I knew what the sounds were likely to be but I wanted to be sure, I wanted to see what was causing the noise. Lincolnshire has many RAF bases and in particular it is the home of the world famous Red Arrows, The Royal Air Force’s Aerobatic Team, and they can often be found up in the skies above Lincoln either practicing their manoeuvres or flying in formation as they leave or return to their base.
Their presence in the skies happens so frequently that many people who live in Lincolnshire do not even look up at the sound of a passing jet so familiar is the sound to them. Yet I remember, not that long ago, a message being sent around our village on one of the many social media groups to say that the Red Arrows would be passing over the village, and people stopped what they were doing and went and stood out in the street in order to get a glimpse of them passing overhead.
Sometimes I think that as Christians we have become too familiar with the events of Holy Week to appreciate the wonder of what actually happened. We are like the people who live in Lincoln who see the Red Arrows all the time and so think nothing of seeing them rather than being people who might see them for the first time and so would stop what they are doing in order to go out to see.
I was reminded of the account in Acts of Peter preaching to the crowds at the first Pentecost and of their reaction when they heard what he said. Luke, as writer of Acts says that “when they heard this they were cut to the heart.” May we hear the message of Holy Week this year as if it were the first time and may we be cut to the heart in amazement of just what our Lord has done for us.
Lord, let me never take for granted what you have done for me.
Song: I stand amazed - YouTube