St Andrew, Glencairn

Glencairn Methodist Church

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June 2009


Pentecost, Trinity and Extra-ordinary Time!


Christians believe that God is revealed to us as a Trinity of Persons. We state this in the Affirmation of Faith found, for example in the Church of Ireland Book of Common Prayer, page 400:


I believe and trust in:

  •    God the Father, creator of heaven and earth,

  •    God the Son, Jesus Christ, who redeemed the world,

  •    God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the Church, the People of God


There is one God but a Trinity of Persons in that God. While the Holy Spirit gave life to the Church is a particularly spectacular  way some seven weeks after the Resurrection of Jesus, and ten days after the risen Lord returned to heaven, it should not surprise us to find that the Holy Spirit has been active since the creation. To give just some examples, we read in the Old Testament that the Spirit:

  •    was engaged in the Creation (Genesis 1:2)

  •    gave the gift of interpretation of dreams to Joseph (Genesis 41:38)

  •    endowed Bezalel with the skill of fine craftsmanship (Exodus 31:2)

  •    gave the give of prophesy to the seventy elders of Israel (Numbers 11:24-25)

  •    endowed Othniel and Gideon with the wisdom require to lead Israel (Judges 3:10 and 6:34)

  •    gave Zerubbabel the management skills required to direct the building of the second temple (Zechariah 4:6).

Furthermore the Psalmist prayed, "Make me a clean heart O god, and renew a right spirit within me; cast me not away from your presence, nor take your Holy Spirit from me." (Psalm 51:11-12) And Ezekiel was led by God to give this word of prophesy to the defeated Israelites, "I will put my Spirit in you and you will come to life. You will know that I am the Lord; I will put my Spirit in you and you will live." (Ezekiel 37:6b and 14).


But probably the greatest outpouring of the Spirit occurred on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts chapter 2. The cowering timid disciples were suddenly energised to get out of their comfort zone into the public arena and proclaim the gospel. They prophesied, they spoke in tongues, and they continued Christ's healing ministry among men and women. On that Day and ever since, people have responded to the call to "Repent and Believe", and when they did they were inspired and enabled by the Holy Spirit to fulfil their calling. People who have been in despair have been lifted up, those who are ill have been healed, lives that were lost have been restored. This call is to you today!


Now what about this "Extra-ordinary Time"? I am being a bit mischievous! You see the church refers to the days of the year which lie outside of the "seasons" of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent and Easter as "Ordinary Time" (Book of Common Prayer page 19). I am saying to you that no time is "ordinary" in the sense of "commonplace". Every day of our lives is an extra-ordinary gift from God to be used to worship him in all that we do. That Day of Pentecost was an extraordinary time!


"Ordinary Time" is a technical term and is not meant to convey "commonplace". The word "Ordinary" in this context is derived from the idea of "ordinal numbers", the terms used to allocate places in an ordering  of things - first, second, third, and so on. There are two periods of "Ordinary Time" in the calendar - the period from the end of the Epiphany Season on the Feast Day of the Presentation (2 February) to Shrove Tuesday, the day before the start of Lent; and the period from the Monday after the Day of Pentecost to the Eve of Advent Sunday. Thus in the first period we have the so many Sundays before Lent, and in the second period we order the Sundays as so many after Pentecost or so many after Trinity Sunday. So now you know!


For further confusion read some of these web pages:


Aren't Church calendars such extra-ordinary creations!




3 June 2009 (in the week between Pentecost and Trinity Sunday but still in Extra-Ordinary Time!))


NOTE - Previous "Monthly Messages" are archived at