Here is my script for the BBC Radio Devon Sunday Morning Service that will go out on Pentecost Sunday (sadly the iPlayer begins after my hilarious reference to G. K. Chesterton and dead dogs)!:
Pentecost is a most wonderful and vital part of the history and life of the Church.
In fact, the Church comes into existence only by receiving the creative life of the Holy Spirit of God.
We remember it as a past event, and without its continued present reality, the Church would cease to exist.
Although G. K. Chesterton humorously observed that, “At least five times [Christianity] has to all appearances gone to the dogs. In each of these five cases, it was the dog that died.”
Occasionally I conduct a live BBC Radio Devon service on Sunday mornings and recently did one where I spoke about ‘time’ in the context of Pentecost, looking at the significant difference between ‘chronos’ time and ‘kairos’ time. A few people have asked for my notes, so here they are.
“We’re not at Pentecost yet as far as the calendar goes, but this morning I want to give us a foretaste, that reminds us of God’s right time.
“Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”
I took this picture at a YWAM training base in the UK whilst teaching on the School of Biblical Studies
I have been struck at the incidental comment in the first verse of our reading, that Peter and John were going to the Temple “at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.” Blink and that seeming insignificant detail would be lost. This is a very deliberate inclusion by the author. The hour of prayer was the ninth hour, that is 3pm in our currency.
The first century Jerusalem Temple had different prayer times: