At our outdoor Ecumenical Good Friday service, part of the liturgy included this statement:
Today we celebrate Good Friday, the day when the Spirit of Jesus was released into the world for always and everywhere.
As I read this, I turned to my friend Adrian, the curate from the local Anglican church, and asked him, ‘Is that true?’ He reread the statement and said, ‘It seems a bit early.’
During the moments between services and visits and writing sermons, I would try and read a little from the current book I’m reading, Cafe Theology, by Mike Lloyd. I came across this passage where he writes on the Ascension:
The Ascension is the ground upon which the Spirit could be poured out in new ways. In John’s Gospel, Jesus tells His disciples that ‘It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you’ (John 16:7)…Jesus’ return to His Father releases the Spirit to come to His people and His world in new ways…The going away of the Son enabled the powerful new coming of the Spirit. (p. 120).
I have typically focused on the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost (or for John, on Easter Day), but I haven’t given much thought about when the Spirit would be released. Mike Lloyd’s thoughts on Ascension make much more sense to me than does Good Friday.
Does anyone know how Good Friday might be considered the day of the Spirit’s release, or are there any thoughts on when this happened?