|Bishop Alan "Buckingham"--in a red robe for Penecost|
Some of you may have been waiting since Monday to read more about the photos I posted on Monday. Thursday has finally come and I have time to write about Pentecost Sunday 2013.
This Spring has been the coolest in 35 years...and it has been grey, overcast or rainy most of the Spring. The three churches in the parish were holding a joint service, to be followed by a barbeque in St. Mary’s Vicarage back garden. The weatherman predicted a day of showers and chilly temperatures. The Maverick and I prayed for a clear day, or at least for the rain to hold off. As it turned out, the Great and Loving Father blessed the day with the only partly cloudy skies and very comfortable temperatures.
The Maverick started his “church” day by going to the 9.30 am Family Worship. This is a once-a-month service for families with young children. The Maverick goes when he isn’t working and participates with the activities.
As mentioned above, St. Marys’ church was full, as members from the congregations of St. Francis and Christ the Worker joined us to celebrate the “Birthday of the Church”—the day of Pentecost. The three vicars share the service as well. The sermon included a black bin liner (trash bag), a glove and an orange. The vicar giving the sermon equated our lives to each of these items.
· The bin liner—without air in the bag, it is empty, shapeless and has no substance to it. But, fill the black bag with air, and it takes shape. Without the Holy Spirit, we are spiritually empty, without breath or life and unproductive for the Kingdom of God. But we were created to be fill with the Holy Spirit—full, His Presence giving our lives shape and purpose.
· The glove—apart from a hand, a glove can not perform any kind of task. But once the person puts his/her hand in the glove, the glove fulfils it’s purpose. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to dwell in us in order for us to be directed and equipped to fulfil the destiny God has created us for.
· The Orange—it has sections, but is a whole. The Fruit of the Spirit has different facets—love, joy peace, patience, long-suffering, kindness, goodness—and theses attributes complete the whole of the Holy Spirit’s fruit in our lives. We need the Holy Spirit to work in us the character of Jesus, but to produce the seed, which is the Word of God, that we plant in the hearts and mind of others.
For the Maverick, this was the second worship service of the day. We agreed that the sermon was not only clever, but profound in it’s application.
Directly after church, we made our way over to the barbeque. Since I’d been providing prayer ministry, I was one of the last to arrive. Several people wondered if I was even coming. The scent of burgers and sausages cooking on charcoal grills filled the air as I made my way to the garden. Clusters of people sat with white paper plates filled with rolls, salad and crisps, eating and chatting in the afternoon sun. After eating, I had a little wonder-round and enjoyed holding 14-week-old Millie, whilst chatting with her parents. After the raffle numbers were called and the prizes collected, people began to drift away. It was about 3.00pm; children needed naps, or had homework to do.
Knowing there was to be yet another church service, I made my way home to rest and hopefully use the interim time wisely. (I rang my sister and chatted for a while!)
It is usually in May each year that our area of the Oxford Diocese has it’s confirmation service. A few weeks ago I said to John that I wanted to attend. When he asked me why, it was because I like to go and encourage and support the candidates who are making this step of commitment to Christ and to the church. Then week before last, our Vicar asked me if I would be the sponsor of one of the candidates who recently finished the Alpha Course. Feeling honoured to be asked to take on this privilege, I said yes.
At 5.30 pm, “Jay & Joans” picked me up and off we went to St. Mary’s church in Datchet. Once inside the church, I looked for “The Maverick” as he had gotten a lift from the Vicar and his wife. My idea was to find my seat and get settled, taking time to focus and mentally prepare for the service; a sponsor must stand and present the candidate to the Bishop. I wanted to make sure I knew just when in the order of service I was supposed to do that.
I walked up the centre aisle, making my way towards where John was standing by the seats. Vicar “R” came up and said: “Do you have your programme?”
“Yes.” I said, holding it up. I’d not yet had a chance to look at it.
“I’m sorry, but you can’t sit next to John—he’s in reserved seating.” Vicar “R” said.
Thinking that sponsor sit in reserved seating, and that John was a sponsor for someone else, I couldn’t understand the significance of Vicar “R’s” statement.
Puzzlement must have shown on my face, as Vicar “R” said, “Look on the first page of your programme.”
What I read left me standing with my jaw on the floor, my mouth so wide open a freight train could have rolled through. When had this been arranged? Who else knew?
Vicar “R” stood there, laughing at my wide-open eyes, and gaping mouth. He was enjoying himself entirely too much.
I looked at John and registered that he had changed from his jeans and polo shirt into suit and tie. Finally, I found words—although I’m not sure if they were really the ones I wanted.
“You stinker!!” I exclaimed to The Maverick. “When did you arrange this?”
“It’s been a while in the making. I’ve been wanting to do this for a couple of years and it just worked out to do it now.”
The Maverick’s grand surprise left me bedazzled and I really had to concentrate to make sure I didn’t miss my cue in presenting “Joans” to the Bishop. At sporadic moments during the service tears would fill my eyes, as joy and love filled my heart. I knew this was not something my husband had done flippantly or to please me. Knowing he isn’t one to stand on pomp or formality, for him to want to participate with this service and be officially received into the Church of England, my esteem and respect for him grew exponentially. It was truly a beautiful thing.
So, that’s the story that goes with the photo of “The Maverick”
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,