Sunday, May 27, 2007

Catching fire?

Pentecost. The descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples, 2,000 years ago. And, we hope, on us, renewing us – firing us up, in fact, to refer back to yesterday’s post. We had an interesting sermon on that this morning, noting how these first Christians had to share their good news with a Jewish crowd there to celebrate something else. We thought about the excitement that must have rippled through that crowd, and how it doesn’t always seem that way now. And I thought about yesterday, and how people do still catch fire if they feel free to do so. There are many constraints still in church life; some of them are to do with our personal inhibitions and some are imposed by the church itself, and by people being unwilling to take risks, and by the fear of overstepping the boundaries.

We had a visiting family today – an extended family from Hyderabad in India - in the UK to visit a son who is working here. They must’ve been frozen – when they left home the temperature was 49 degrees, and in Dunoon this morning it was all of 10 degrees – but they were obviously delighted with the service and the warm welcome. (Don’t know about the smell of melting carpet when there was a mishap with the thurible – but perhaps it was all part of the warmth bit). They were spending the holiday weekend in Argyll, and had looked on the internet for a church they could attend – and found us. Things are looking up, if we no longer have to rely solely on visitors sighting the church from the ferry. They told us that there is a congregation of 4.000 in their church, who meet in a building about the same size as ours but sit on the floor – and then go home and proclaim the gospel through a megaphone, and hold house meetings to tell their (Hindu) neighbours, who are apparently converting in droves.

When they left, I wondered to one of them – a girl of about 15, I think – if we’d ever see them again. “We will meet in Heaven,” she said, firmly. And I felt we’d had a sense of what that first Pentecost had been like, after all.

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