Good to talk

 30 May 2020 |

This weekend, the Church celebrates with thanksgiving the feast of Pentecost. Sadly not in its buildings but still church together. We remember the story set out in the Bible in the book of Acts, of the coming of the Spirit in a wild wind and in burning flames, resting on the heads of the believers assembled in Jerusalem. As the gift is given, the gathered group is pushed out into the streets and there to preach. I suspect, like me, you might find street preachers a little embarrassing; you give them a wide berth, eager not to be seen to be associated with them. I, too, like the bystanders hearing this group of enthusiasts, ask questions and make conclusions: what does this mean? And, they must be drunk!

I am a preacher. Admitting that feels rather strange. Preachers don’t have a very good reputation. We are seen as people who tell others what to do, how to behave, as if we have the key to life and our job is to make everyone else feel small and inadequate. I don’t see it that way, you might be pleased to hear. I claim no special insight, no special position. I can behave well; I can behave badly. I am no more moral than anyone else and often confused about what is right and what is wrong. I am a normal person struggling with life and struggling with how to deal with life. I try, I fail.

And in that struggle with life, I am asked to speak. And I try to share in everything I feel and see and hear. And in doing so, I hope that people, whoever they are, will join me in that struggle. I understand in the story of Jesus that he met people where they were, challenged the self righteous and welcomed the excluded. In biblical language, he raised the lowly and put down the mighty. Unconventionally, he eat with people who were regarded as lower than low, he healed the discounted; when others wanted to put him up on a pedestal, he knelt down and washed their feet! He surrounded himself with people who were unimportant, who made mistakes, who betrayed him and hungered after recognition – his merry band of ordinary people. That, for me, is Church and at Pentecost we celebrate its birthday, a new beginning.

Challenging God, stir us up to fight for justice,
to stand alongside the unwanted in our society;
to confront those who ‘lord’ it over others;
to seek to bring people together, reconciling the world;
to forgive;
and, most of all, to love, in Jesus’ name.