I consider myself very fortunate in the jobs I am called to do; I love being a Presbyteral Minister and I thoroughly enjoy being in the Trent and Dove Methodist Circuit. I also enjoy the variety being Deputy Chair of District brings and the sheer range of people I have to meet. I serve on the District missions team, the District Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team and at Connexional level I am a part of the Fresh Expressions Group who are tasked with producing a Good Practise Guide for fresh expressions of Church.
Outside of all of this I am about to become the President of the Rotary Club of Burton upon Trent, a privilege I’ve had before in a former area but a privilege nonetheless.
A variety of jobs/tasks but tonight I am experiencing the greatest of them all: the job of being a Grandad to Piper (and soon to Emett, our grandson to be born in September). Piper is having a sleepover at Grandma and Grandad’s house tonight and because Grandma had to go to an activity at her Church Grandad was given the awesome responsibility of getting Piper to bed. Now its worth sharing that Piper is a boisterous, lively, fun loving two and a half-year old with boundless supplies of energy. She positively revels in the excitement of simply being alive (oh if we all had that sort of energy !).
Tonight has been special because I managed to get her into her pyjamas without fuss, wash her, give her the chance to brush her teeth, play a while and then settle her down. I simply did what I always do, lay alongside her so that she could stroke my arm (which she seems to enjoy when she’s tired) and she simply drifted off. What a privilege I’ve had and what an awesome responsibility.
Why do I share this with you ? Because as you read this we will have entered the season of Pentecost, the Church’s recognition of the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-11). The Holy Spirit remains a source of confusion to many people as its easy to imagine God as ‘being out there’ or Jesus I human form, but its hard to imagine a being with our apparent shape who is simply like our breath, integral but non visible. Consequently we often neglect the third part of the Holy Trinity, partly from lack of understanding and partly because of fear of the unknown.
John 14:26 records the words of Jesus as “but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you”.
The Holy Spirit was once described by a child as “Jesus’ other self”. Whether that’s an appropriate description of not I’m not sure but it works for me, for Jesus promised that after he returned to Heaven we would not be left alone but God would send the Holy Spirit to help us, guide us, lead us, look after us, comfort us, encourage us and remind us of his love for us.
In many ways as I gently nursed Piper to sleep tonight it reminded me of how God wraps his arms around me, by the Holy Spirit, and brings reassurance, affection and love. I can rest easy in his arms because he is with me at all times.
May God bless you all