Many churches these days, like our own, use – instead of ordinary candles – oil-filled ones. The advantages are that they are cheaper, cleaner, they’re not carcinogenic, and they never burn down. However long they burn for, they always look just like new.
There is a downside though. You buy your oil-filled candle, put it in the candlestick, fill it with oil and light it. It looks wonderful. It burns away and never drips or gets any shorter. But that presents a problem – because you can’t see when it needs refilling from the outside. And unless you regularly top it up with more oil, although it always looks alright it is getting emptier and emptier. And in the end it will just go out. Unexpectedly.
Christians are like oil-filled candles. They look fine on the outside. But they need regularly filling up on the inside – and you can’t tell from just looking at the outside when they’re getting empty. And just as oil-filled candle needs regular refilling, a Christian needs a regular filling of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, although outwardly we may look fine, we just get emptier and emptier – and in the end we stop burning. And simply not notice that we’ve gone out!
Pentecost Sunday – the day the Spirit came. Luke has told us in chapter one of Acts how the apostles have been gathering together to pray, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, the other women and the brothers of Jesus. They weren’t just sitting around waiting for something to happen! They were praying for something to happen!Continue reading