UNITED REFORMED CHURCH
News from St Andrew’s
Craig’s letter of 20 May
Revd Craig Bowman
This Sunday is Pentecost when we celebrate the arrival of the gift Jesus had promised his followers – the coming of the Holy Spirit. Many familiar images are used to represent the Holy Spirit, including fire, water and a dove. In the Celtic Christian tradition the Holy Spirit is also represented as a bird but it is not the peaceful and serene dove landing on Jesus at his baptism. The Celtic people chose the wild goose and the Iona Community use this image as their logo and the name for their worship group and publications.
What is it about the wild goose that spoke to those ancient Celtic Christians? Well, to begin with, wild geese aren’t controllable. You can’t restrain a wild goose and bend it to your will. They’re raucous and loud (as are the domesticated ones). Unlike the sweet and calming cooing of a dove, a goose’s honk is strong, challenging, strident and unnerving – and just a bit scary.
After the reassuring post-resurrection messages of the last few weeks, culminating in Jesus’s promise to send them a helper, this week we encounter that helper. Over the coming weeks we will find that the Spirit of God can be compelling, demanding and unsettling. The Celtic Christians chose a good symbol.
One other custom associated with Pentecost is wearing red. In some churches it has become a tradition to wear red on Pentecost Sunday. I invite everyone to consider wearing something red this Sunday. For those present in the church it will provide a bold splash of colour but if those who are joining in at home also choose to do so it will be a symbol of our togetherness even whilst we are still physically separated.
The church is again open for worship and the service at 10.30am will also be streamed live on the St Andrew’s YouTube channel. The audio version of the service will be available from 10.30am via the church website or by calling 020 3870 2810.
I have received the news that Annette Brand, who was known to a small number of people at St Andrew’s, died on the 6th May in St Helier Hospital. If anyone wishes to attend her funeral at Randalls Park Crematorium on Tuesday 1st June please contact me and I can put you in touch with her daughter-in-law.
May the Spirit of God who brooded over the waters and brought order out of chaos find a home in our hearts this week.
Posted on 20 May 2021