As I write, we are still in shock over the recent terrorist attack on the concert-goers in Manchester. We are left to ponder what can drive someone born and bred in this country to visit such horrors on young people and their families. Be assured that this is not of God, not of any god but especially not the God who loves us so much he sent his Son to restore our relationship with Him.
This Son is Jesus Christ who ascended into heaven: on 4th June we celebrate the sending of the Holy Spirit on the disciples in Jerusalem at Pentecost- sometimes called the birthday of the Church.
Jesus called the Holy Spirit ‘another helper’ and I think this is important as we reflect on our lives in such troubled times. No matter what is happening in the world, we can be sure that God is with us, each and every day. As Jesus lived and taught his disciples all those years ago, today the Holy Spirit does the same for us. This Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth (John 16: 13), but we for our part have to be willing to be led and cooperate with him.
At the end of May we enjoyed the floral displays at the Friends’ annual Flower Festival, each one this year on the theme of ‘Sing to the Lord’. It was a wonderful marriage of hymns and flowers that together with human skill created a symphony of praise to our heavenly Father. It was also, I think, a much-needed reminder of the goodness and beauty life offers too.
When we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us through life he’s working much like a florist skilfully taking flowers and arranging them to show them at their very best. Some flowers seem so small and insignificant, yet when in the right place and in combination with other flowers together they are stunningly beautiful. As the Holy Spirit puts us in the all the right places in our church community we too are beautiful in God’s eyes.
But it can be difficult to know where God wants us or what he wants us to do. Remember that we have each been given gifts and talents with which to serve God and one another – so when the Holy Spirit prompts us to try something different we are to trust his judgement and step out in faith.
This summer as we enjoy the warmth of the sun and wait the last few weeks until our new Vicar Richard Walker arrives, pray with me that the Holy Spirit would lead us as individuals and as a church community into this next, new phase in the continuing life of the Parish.
Now it’s been my joy to write these letters to you through the vacancy, and as this will be my last one I’d like to take the opportunity to thank you all for your prayerful and practical support over the last year. Particular thanks must go the Wardens, Church Officers and PCC members for keeping us all on track; and to the readers and clergy who have enabled us to keep our pattern of services unchanged – which has been quite an achievement; but most of all my thanks and praise go to the God who continually guides and sustains us by his Holy Spirit.