By Rev Robert Barthram, Jul 21 2015 08:38AM
In my letter last month I welcomed you on board a journey through the month of May. When you read this hopefully you will have arrived safely at the end of your journey but I write this with several of the stops on the journey to come. One of them is the festival of Pentecost, the third great festival of the Christian Year.
There is no real acknowledgement of this festival in the wider world and so there is the danger that for us too it can be seen as, ‘just another Sunday’ but it is certainly not. At Pentecost we celebrate the gift of God the Spirit just as at Christmas we celebrate the gift of God the Son. With the work of the Son complete there is the promise of, ‘power from on high’ (Luke 24:49), the promise is kept and that power came and remains with his followers. The Church and its mission began and because of that we are part of a worldwide Church all these years later. Truly a cause for celebration.
On the St. Andrew’s building you can still see the banner that was put up when we welcomed the Olympic Torch to Reading. It still has relevance as a welcoming statement. It reminds me of some words from a book written by Bernard Thorogood a former General Secretary of the United Reformed Church and I share them with you as you journey through the Pentecost season.
Wind and Fire
“The fire of the Spirit was not a general flame,
not bushfire, contagious, engulfing all.
But a flame on each one.
So we never claim to carry the flame
from place to place,
as though the Spirit is our private box of matches
or little incense pot.
But the fire is there, already, now.
It shines in the eyes of the eager,
joyful, trusting children of God.
It is there in the hands of the healers
and servers and bearers of heavy loads.
It is local. A flame on each one.
There is also the wind, and the wind travels;
across oceans and mountains, always in movement.
May God let us be the breezes of the Spirit,
which fan the flames and fill the house
and let the smoking flax burst into a glory of fire.
Wind and fire, life of the Spirit,
universal and local, be our energy;
wind and fire, elements of Pentecost,
power for the kingdom, be power for our city.”
With best wishes,