How do you like birthdays? Do you try and forget when yours is, or do you make a big splash every year? Do you like presents, or would you rather have experiences? This month Christians celebrate the birthday of the church at Pentecost. It’s celebrated fifty days after Easter, which of course means it moves around and this year that puts it on the 9th June.
We remember the story in the book of Acts in the bible, when the Holy Spirit was given to the followers of Jesus ‘And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were meeting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.’ Acts 2 verses 2-4.
It’s the moment from which a confused, frightened group of people with a little hope changed into an inspired, energised group of people who had the confidence and courage to go and tell the world that they had found something wonderful in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Birthdays can be a time for re-evaluating, looking back and planning forwards. How have you changed for better and worse in the last few years, what do you want to achieve in the future? It could be said of the church that it (we) need to do the same.
In the Draycote Benefice we have recently been engaged in that process. We met in February to look at where we are and where we would like to be. Since that initial meeting we have thought and prayed about what God wants us to do next, and one of the most important issues that came up time and time again is to be at the centre of the community. Physically, our buildings very often are, but our big question is what can we do for you? How could we serve you better? What could we do that would help you engage with the message of Jesus Christ? Not easy questions to answer, but if there is something that you think we need to do, please let me know. We don’t exist in isolation and our desire is to be of the community, for the community.
At Pentecost we ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit to feel real and vital and to help us change and move forward in hope and courage and energy like those first Christians. The whole of the Benefice will be gathering at All Saints Church at 10.30am on 9th June for our United Benefice service where I pray that we all are filled with the Holy Spirit and that we can be live and work to the glory of God and the service of our community.
And if June is your birthday month too I wish you a very Happy Birthday!
Love and prayers