I have been thoroughly blessed by the exceedingly vast wisdom of the garden experts on T.V. recently who have informed me that rhubarb is in fact not a fruit but a stem. This is great news. Why? Because I often think of the growing of fruit is like the nurture of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Rhubarb appears to put a huge spanner in the works, as it just seems to keep growing, regardless of its treatment or care. Growing things takes effort, concentration, and care.
We have just celebrated the hugely significant festival of Pentecost—the moment when gifts were given in abundance, something like a trolley-dash in a toy store or supermarket, gifts galore as the Church was equipped for the journey ahead. It began with languages; real, tangible skills of communication that signalled the spreading of God’s word to the world, but it didn’t end there.
The Spirit set to work transforming ordinary people into skilled evangelists, teachers, healers, peacemakers, the works. It kept coming and God’s new Church kept growing, but it was far from plain sailing. In fact, the sea was significantly choppy; people lost their lives growing the Church and sharing the Gospel. They constantly needed to reflect on what they were doing in trying to evolve.
I’m very glad to say that our churches are in that same place of reflection and evolution, led by the very same Spirit that descended upon the Apostles. Unfortunately, that also means that we’ll sometimes get things wrong along the way. As we think about really significant moment in the journey of our congregation and as we work towards moving forward when we completely come out of lockdown and put in place the new structures following what has seemed like a never -ending pandemic.
I pray that we will not get lost in the motions of business and forget the opportunities to celebrate. The list of appointments and tasks to do is much more than a list; it’s a collection of people willing to serve, to give of their energy and time as they respond to the action of the Spirit in the church. That needs to be celebrated. So, belatedly, thank you for all the hard work, sweat, stress, tears, inspiration, and imagination that goes into each of the roles that you gladly take on.
A special thank you to those of you that have worked tirelessly for many years in roles and have recently stood down. I hope to be able to make a big fuss of all of you in church very soon, and especially before I move on to my new appointment. I know that each of you do what you do, not for recognition and applause, but because of the call on each of you to serve, but the occasional thanks and support do no harm at all!
I pray that each of you will be refreshed by the Spirit in preparation, as we give thanks to God for all that is past and trust him for all that’s to come, and in confirmation of all that we already do.
As you continue to stay safe and take care. Be assured of my ongoing prayers.
With my love and blessings