I have been fascinated to hear about different traditions that families used to keep around Whitsuntide. For many it meant a new set of clothes; an outfit that became the ‘Sunday Best’ for the rest of the year. Some were given a pen while for others a pair of white socks were always given. In many communities there was a Whit walk; a parade through the village, often with people wearing their best clothes and the ladies in White. This would end with an open air service and celebration.
What lies behind these celebrations is the commemoration of the coming of the Holy Spirit on the early disciples at Pentecost. When the Holy Spirit came on Jesus at his baptism, He appeared as a white dove. Whit is derived from white and this is why white clothing has been popular at this time.
The exciting thing about this festival is that it reminds us of a great event that happened long ago, but that is just as relevant today. I am encouraged to hear many stories of people experiencing the Holy Spirit here in Stanley in many different ways.
We can receive the Holy Spirit today and he will make an amazing difference to our lives. He puts the spotlight on Jesus, and encourages our relationship with Him. For some their experience of the Holy Spirit has led them to faith. He also helps us be transformed into the likeness of Christ, disturbing us and making us discontent until we ask God’s help to change. He also empowers us for serving one another. The Gifts of the spirit make us helpful and useful for our community. There are many people who have received healing and comfort through prayer, other’s who have experienced God’s love and presence in a tangible way.
We may not get a new set of clothes now, but we can receive a fresh blessing from the Holy Spirit. How do we receive? Its simple, we just ask. Go on give it a try, you will never regret it.
Rev Bill Henderson