We have just celebrated the pouring out of
Godís Spirit upon the early Church, the birthday of the Church. We were
enabled through the lectionary texts to explore some important questions about
Godís desires for culture and human community. This included questions to
do with the nature and purpose of human culture from Godís perspective?
How is the idea of ďunityĒ sometimes used to destroy Godís vision for human
flourishing? What does true unity as a diverse people look like, from a
Christian perspective? We also were challenged to think about our Christian
identity and how we can sustain that identity in community.
As I write this article I have a lot of
paper work to go through as I prepare for the Methodist Conference to be held
at the end of June in Birmingham. I pray that you may join with me in praying
for that explosive power of the Holy Spirit that energised the first disciples,
and how the manifestation of the powerful work of the Holy Spirit gave rise to
the gift of speaking in tongues/ Glossolalia, to rest upon all those
representing our various Churches at this Conference.
I am always inspired by the
challenge that results from the cooperation, collaboration, mutuality and
sacrifice, as a result of the spirit filled conversations and decisions made at
Conference, although at times, it may not feel like that. I continue to
believe that the narrative of the first Pentecost still has much to teach us,
as we struggle with the continued challenge of embracing and affirming
difference in our contemporary 21st century Britain.
The inclusivity of Pentecost reminds us
that John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, although I would wish
to argue that Susanna Wesley is the founder of Methodism, was committed to a
gospel that spoke to and was available for all people, irrespective of rank or
social status. Essentially, the ĎFour Allsí of Methodism is a radical
restatement of the availability of grace for all peoples and that this prevenient
spark calls us into relationship with God and most crucially, with one
As the holiday season begins, it is my
prayer that we all have some time to rest and pay attention to those who are
closest to us and especially to ourselves. May we be renewed and strengthened
by the power of the Holy Spirit!