Looking up

On Thursday last week Huw Tyler urged readers of this blog to ‘live in the shoes’ of people in the Bible. I couldn’t agree more. There is a power to the stories of the Bible which is best released when we plunge into them. In many ways this was the whole purpose behind Stale Bread – to help people unlock the power of the Bible’s stories through the prayerful and humble use of Bible-driven imagination.  Been at it again this week, as I prepare for Pentecost. Below is the introduction for today’s sermon on ‘Pentecost’s most important word’.  If you can’t wait to find out what that word might be, you can always click here (though you might stretch the imagination a little further by puzzling over it first).

With a collective sigh they accepted Jesus’ parting words, and then they watched ,and watched, and watched. Some found the muscles in their necks began to twist and knot, like old ropes exposed too long to the elements.  Others found that their eyes played tricks on them.  The clouds began to form patterns before their eyes

–         a fortress, mobbed on every side by baying troops        

–         a tiny matchstick boat, tossed about on a chaotic sea          

–         a cross, a cross, another cross still – all wavering as if with beckoning arms

When a voice at their elbow disturbed the heaven-gazing, it was almost a relief.  It was a measure of their great stress of mind and anguish of heart that they barely flinched.  There was none of that ‘falling down’ which had marked so many encounters with heaven’s messengers before.  These angels had no need to mouth their standard greeting of ‘do not fear’.

Fear had been replaced with a new master.   His voice was quieter and deeper.  He stirred within, like a fire rekindled, rather than attacking from without with the damp fingers of anxiety.  Determination was the new boss. He cracked his knuckles, opened his shoulders,  put his best foot forward , and a downward roll towards a needy world began with an unstoppable momentum…