Dear Friends,

How do you like birthdays? Do you try and forget when yours is, or do you make a big splash every year? Do you like presents, or would you rather have experiences? This month Christians celebrate the birthday of the church. It’s celebrated fifty days after Easter, which of course means it moves around and this year that puts it on the 9th June.

We remember the story in the book of Acts in the bible, when the Holy Spirit was given to the followers of Jesus ‘And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.’ Acts 2 verses 2-4.

It’s the moment from which a confused, frightened group of people with a little hope changed into an inspired, energised group of people who had the confidence and courage to go and tell the world that they had found something wonderful.

Birthdays can be a time for re-evaluating, looking back and planning forwards. How have you changed for better and worse in the years you have been on the planet, what do you want to achieve in the future? It could be said of the church that it (we) need to do the same – its history since those heady early days has not been completely swathed in glory let’s face it.

So, if you are a part of the church or not, it’s good to take stock and work out where next – for yourself, your family, an organisation you are part of. To look back at the places where we have not taken care of ourselves or others; where we have not been that nice, or thoughtful; where we have allowed ourselves to become lazy and self-serving and out of condition. To look also at the things we have done well, the talents we have made best use of, the times when things worked well, or we did the right things that resulted in our wellbeing and that of those around us. Christians can ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit to feel real and vital and to help us change and move forward in hope and courage and energy like those first Christians. The Spirit hasn’t gone away, but just like with our bodies, we don’t always listen to or take her advice – and it shows!

Perhaps the beginning of summer is a good time in the year to take stock of ourselves and the things we belong to – the hope (!) of better weather, the abundance of nature around us and longer days somehow make us feel that new things are possible. So, if you decide to begin a new healthier eating regime, or to take up a pastime that will enrich you, or some exercise, or if you think it’s time repair a relationship or to take yourself in hand in other ways I wish you every success. And if June is your birthday month too, I wish you a very Happy Birthday!

Every blessing,

Rev Tanya