At the end of May we observed the great festival of Pentecost. In the days when it was called Whitsunday it was known primarily for the Bank Holiday which fell the day after. Whitsunday then was the least recognised of all the Christian Festivals, but now matters have improved and today we are far more conscious of the Holy Spirit, and so we should be, for it is the Spirit who binds together individual Christians to become the Church. On the first Day of Pentecost Christ’s disciples were made aware of the sound of a wind which ruffled no hair on any of their heads, and of the sight of a fire which did not burn down the place where they were assembled. They were given a gift of languages which enabled them to preach the Gospel to Jews from throughout the world. They discovered that they had been given Christ’s powers to heal and to do mighty works and to speak unafraid and with authority.
As through the Apostles’ ministry the Church grew yet another manifestation of the Holy Spirit emerged, it became clear quite quickly that the Spirit called different people to different ministries. St Paul recognised the significance of this. In a number of his letters he likens the Body of the Church to a human body. Some body parts are clearly more prominent than others yet every part matters. The body cannot function as it should if even the smallest part goes awry. I can testify to this, having once, as a student, chanced to pour a kettle of boiling water over my right big toe and been virtually unable to walk until the resulting blister had been pricked!
The Church’s mission is to share Christ’s love with the world. To do this effectively every part of the Body has to support every other part. At the end of this month Adam Barclay will be ordained as a Deacon, in August or September Cathy Bladen will become our new incumbent. We shall, very properly, expect them to minister to us, but we in turn must minister to them. We must never cease to pray for them; we must offer support and encouragement; and in the unlikely event that we disagree with them we must do so constructively, stating our case rationally and without any yelling and shouting. From my own very happy experience I cannot actually see heated disagreement happening. ‘We are the Body of Christ. By one Spirit we were all baptised into one body…’ These are the words which introduce The Peace in our Services, that Peace of God which enables even our imperfect selves to be the Body of Christ on earth. May this Peace remain with us all, always.
With all blessings,
Revd Philip Oliver (Retired Priest)