News 

Viewpoint from Rev Steve Cullis 20/06/2014 

Dove rightRev Steve Cullis
Superintendent Minister of the East Norfolk Circuit

as published in the Yarmouth Mercury

 

This year I have been struck by the many different ways that the Bible uses the analogy of  the movement of air to talk about the way God’s own Spirit can touch our lives

In the end of John’s Gospel in Chapter 20, John remembers that Jesus “breathed” on his disciples and said “Receive the Holy Spirit”

It is the most gentle of images of moving air in that passage

Imagine the hot stuffy room where the disciples had been meeting with all their fears and uncertainty after the death of Jesus. Imagine how their minds must have been almost overwhelmed as they were struggling to comprehend the resurrection of their friend Jesus

These words speak of the gentle breath of the God cooling; bring peace, bringing healing and life back to them. They surely echo the still small voice which Elijah heard in 1 Kings 19, the breath of God which brought life in Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones

The gentle stirring of air is one of the ways that God’s Spirit can come to us today: bringing refreshment when we are overwrought and anxious, life again when we are weary

The other image is at the opposite end of the spectrum of how air moves. It is from Acts Chapter 2 when the Holy Spirit fell with great power on the disciples on the day of Pentecost. There the description of the movement of air is that of a gale, a violent rushing of air

dove leftThe closest experience I have of that kind of wind came when I was a trainee minister based for one year in Texas. I was awoken on night in May by the sound of an express train rattling the house. It took me a moment or two to realise that the railway track wasn’t that close, another second to realise that it was the sound of the wind. I did all the things I had been advised to do, and after a few minutes the “train” went on its way. Next morning the damage to trees around the house was massive – thankfully not to the house.  Seemingly not a Tornado but a brief violent wind had taken huge trees and simply pushed them to the ground

It is that power that is in evidence in the way that the book of Acts describes the coming of the Holy Spirit – like a wind rippling with power and energy

C.S. Lewis used the character of Aslan in the Narnia stories to remind us that “God is not a tame God”.  We are not to tie him down, tell him what He is to do and when He is to do it. There is power in the Spirit of God to bring life and move that which needs to be moved on

May the Spirit of God bless you this week as he moves in our world and touches our lives