A Turn of the Page
by Al Jenkins
How often do you read a book and cannot wait to turn the page to see what happens next?
The Christian Church has just celebrated Pentecost, its birthday! The
disciples on the cusp of a new chapter; in their lives and the life of the world. In my mind’s eye I can imagine Peter standing on the balcony of the Upper Room, the morning sun rising behind him as he addresses the busy market, exhorting the crowd to repent and be baptised in the name of Christ. He is filled with the Holy Spirit and wants the world to know it. Do we?
Not every turn of a novel’s page will deliver hero or heroine, excitement or drama. But I truly believe that Scripture does. Stories of ordinary people, like you and me, inspired by God to love and serve his people. My
favourite Apostle is Peter. He is an ordinary fisherman called by Christ to be a “fisher of people!” This time I envisage Peter as a confused man standing by his boat, honoured, intrigued and probably mystified. As
Peter’s story progresses his human failings play their part, perhaps most memorably in his denial of Christ.
Peter’s narrative presents us with the image of the frailty of the human
being. However, unlike novels, our story always has a hero, the perfect
exemplar, in Jesus Christ. His love for us is immeasurable, his forgiveness eternal, his service without rancour. These qualities are so beautifully
expressed through his interactions with Peter. Most tellingly just before
Ascension when he speaks with Peter, a man almost at his wits’ end with guilt, and chooses him to lead the Church. Christ chooses each one of us in spite of our weaknesses to do our part in service and worship. He lives and works in us in the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Rowan Williams speaks of service and thanksgiving as, ‘a ‘soaking-in’ of what God is. When all these things come together (says Cassian) we are on fire with the Holy Spirit. And when we look at Jesus we see someone whose entire life is on fire in that way, with the Spirit.” Are we?
As I prepare for ordination and turn the final pages of this chapter, I say goodbye to St Denys’. I thank God for his call to serve and live in this
community, which has provided me with love, prayer and support over so many years and especially throughout my training for ministry. Jayne and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We are looking forward to the next chapter together, confident that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide us. What might your next chapter look like? Please let me know. Blessings.