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Viewpoint from Rev James Stewart 25/05/2012

The Revd James Stewart
Curate – Great Yarmouth Team Ministry
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With the increase in the price of first and second class stamps, and modern electronic communications, people have begun to say that the age of the ‘old fashioned letter’ has passed. Even so most of us still receive letters on our doormats – some expected and sometimes unexpected, some with good news, some with less so. But I wonder how we would react if we received a letter from God – particularly one which addressed the state of our churches?
This is of course exactly what happens in the book of Revelation when the Lord of Hosts writes to the seven churches of Asia Minor. The churches had very different characters – one was persecuted, another seemed to have fallen asleep, while another had endured patiently. Each letter finishes with the same refrain: 7Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches’ As we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost this command seems particularly relevant
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With Pentecost we celebrate the birthday of the church, the coming of the Holy Spirit in rushing wind and burning fire - the breath of the Holy Spirit which gave those first Christians new life and new inspiration. Just as Jesus had left them and their lives seemed full of chaos and fear they are jolted into a new life, stirred by the Holy Spirit. These timid and stressed-out disciples found themselves preaching and testifying to who God was and what God had done in their lives. And the people listened. The crowd grew. The church was born. They once had no name, no faith, and no future, but now, through the gift of the Holy Spirit they glimpsed a new life and a new future
God's Spirit still works this way. The Holy Spirit, the breath of God, is at work, here and now – inspiring us in many ways. Pentecost reminds us to respond to that command in Revelation – to listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. A Spirit which can bring us courage, a reserve of strength and a passion of faith we did not even know we had
So what might the Holy Spirit be saying to the churches of Great Yarmouth? What words of inspiration might the Holy Spirit be whispering in our ears? And, further, if a letter were written to the churches in Great Yarmouth – what might it say? It may speak of Great Yarmouth’s distinguished heritage and history of involvement with the community. It could address the issue of unity, but above all it may recognize the many in our community who are longing for the presence of the living God in their lives and the need for openness so that love can be shared with all in our community
Perhaps the Holy Spirit is prompting you. Now is the time to pay attention. You never know – the communication may even come in the form of a letter! So keep watching that doormat!