Notes from Up Russia

In my cricketing days I knew a slow bowler who, when his spin had beaten both the IMG_6410batsman and the wicket, would exclaim; ”It must be your Birthday!”-  a pretty mild form of sledging by today’s standards. Birthdays come in various shapes and sizes and seemingly with increasing regularity!

We can enjoy the excitement with which young children anticipate their birthdays. In later life it seems as if only birthdays with 0s on them are significant: 40,50.60.70- I think I’ll stop there but you get the point!  Simon & Gillian have put their 0s together for a joint party taking them well over the 100s! Of course the Christian Church is much older than that but it still likes to celebrate its Birthday at a festival we call Pentecost or Whitsun which this year will be the 20th of May.

You can read all about the Birthday itself in the Acts of the Apostles chapter two. The infant church comprising possibly no more than a hundred or so were meeting together when the most amazing and powerful experience was theirs.  Basically each one of them was touched by the mighty presence of God; this confirmed them in their conviction that Jesus the Messiah was alive after his crucifixion and that this wonderful news must be told to everyone everywhere. Each year we continue to celebrate that event and to remind ourselves that the story still needs to be told- the good news is every bit as significant in today’s world as it was all those centuries ago. Jesus truly is alive and can make an enormous difference in every situation we may encounter.

After the loss of his wife a man called Michael said to me; “There’s something I’d like to put right in my life. I’d like to deepen my faith by being baptized and confirmed. Twenty years on Michael has just died and his last words were “thank my church family for all the love I’ve known”. Jesus alive in his church had made such a positive impact.

So, let’s celebrate Pentecost and tell everyone; “It’s the Church’s Birthday and it could be yours too! Come and share in the good news of what God has done for us in Jesus and what He continues to do in and through the lives of His followers”!   Brian