I write this just after a heady weekend here at Holy Trinity. The PCC plus several other members of the congregation attended an ‘Awayday’ (held at home – within our own church building) on Saturday 22nd September, which was led by Revd David O’Brien from ReSource, a national charity which exists to support ‘little and local’ parish churches. He also preached for us at the Sunday morning Eucharist. A major theme of the weekend was how each one of us in the church membership, whoever we are, has an important role in God’s work building His Kingdom in Blacon. It is not that God sends just other people to His work, He also sends YOU. Every one of us. And the way He enables us to do His will in the world, is through the work of the Holy Spirit in us.
Then on the Sunday afternoon, I went with a number of others from Holy Trinity to Chester Cathedral for a service celebrating 20 years of the Diocesan Foundations for Ministry Course. During this, we saw Patricia Poole receive her certificate for completing that course earlier this summer. But the major theme of the service was – again – how God uses every member of the church to build His kingdom. This service at the cathedral had been arranged by people at the cathedral quite separately from anything we were planning at Holy Trinity, but it was the same message again. Perhaps God was using these different preachers, and different contexts, to speak to us? God is of course bigger than any one individual, and certainly does speak to us through all kinds of different things happening. The Holy Spirit can and does work through all kinds of people in different ways.
The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to every single Christian. There is not any Christian who does not receive gifts of the Spirit. These are not so much gifts that we might want, but gifts that God wants to give us. They may be quite different for different people. God’s gifts given to every believer is part of His provision for the church. Whatever we need is provided for us by God who is sometimes called in Hebrew Jehovah Jireh, the Great Provider. I firmly believe that what Holy Trinity needs going forward will be more than provided by God (using us).
It is God’s provision for us that we will be particularly grateful for at our Harvest Thanksgiving on 7th October. At Harvest time we rightly tend to focus especially on the provision of tangible items of crops or fruit – but we should not forget that even more than the provision of foodstuff, is the work of the Spirit within us.
One of the most moving aspects of this past weekend for me, has been how we have re-learnt the power of the Holy Spirit working among us. Several of us experienced Him working in us, and leading us in prayer for one another. This was something we also put into practice further on the Sunday morning, when we were praying for one another during the service. It was not because Tina (or David O’Brien) had dreamt up this idea. That was because we felt led to do that by the Holy Spirit. This was God in charge, not us. We sometimes do not recognise what the Holy Spirit is doing within us because we don’t let go of our own control, to let Him do what He wants. But that is foolish of us, because God knows us better than we know ourselves – and so you can guarantee that what God wants is absolutely the best for us, and will always fulfil us completely.
Let go, and let God be in charge. Then the Holy Spirit will work in and through us to His praise and glory.