Viewpoint from Rev Albert Cadmore 08/06/2012
Revd Albert Cadmore
Recently retired Parish Priest at West Somerton and Horsey
The Holy Spirit – today?
As churches celebrated Pentecost, or Whitsun, just a couple of weeks ago, my thoughts turned to a book written back in 1973 by a clergyman, David Watson, who was perhaps best known for his work at St Michael le Belfry in York. In his book, ‘One in the Spirit’, David Watson quoted the American Baptist Pastor, and writer, Dr Carl Bates who had once said, ‘if God were to take the Holy Spirit out of our midst today, about ninety five per cent of what we are doing in our churches would go on, and we would not know the difference.’ Watson then went on to say, ‘Yet undoubtedly, the Spirit of God was the key to everything in the New Testament Church. The fifth book of the New Testament should really be called the Acts of the Holy Spirit. If God had taken the Holy Spirit out of their midst in those days, about ninety five per cent of what they were doing in their churches would have ceased immediately. Everyone would have known the difference’
We may strongly agree or disagree with those statements, but however we view them; they are certainly food for thought for us today. On the day of Pentecost, the eleven remaining disciples, with Matthias who replaced Judas, changed from being an inward looking group, confused in the aftermath of the resurrection, and largely meeting in private, to confident speakers ready to preach to the gathered crowds in Jerusalem. They changed from being disciples (or followers), to apostles, which means those who are sent out to proclaim the Good News
We might ask, so where does that leave the Holy Spirit in the lives of churches and Christians today? The answer is that there are exciting stories of people, whose lives have amazingly been turned around by what they would describe as direct encounters with God via the Holy Spirit. Such stories are a great source of encouragement to us all. But there are also many stories of the Holy Spirit working quietly and persistently through the life and witness of faithful people, repeatedly carrying out small and often easily overlooked good-neighbourly acts of kindness and love. On that theme, I am reminded of St Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia, written to encourage the people there to hold firm to their faith and not be misled by false teaching. Paul told them, ‘let the Spirit direct your lives,’ and he reminded them that the fruits of the Spirit are, ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control’
If being filled with the Spirit means being blessed with all those fruits of the Spirit, or qualities, then we could all do with some of that! And if it really took off in a big way, then surely all around us would know it and take note