Barham Downs Churches

  • The Rectory
  • The Street, Barham
  • Canterbury
  • Kent
  • CT4 6PA

01227 668190
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Catching Fire

The phrase ‘catching fire’ will no doubt spark (pun intended) a variety of images in our mind in both a negative and positive sense.  In the last few years the Hunger Games films have been widely viewed, in particular by the younger generation. Like many similar storylines of the future and alternative futures the outlook for society is bleak and dystopian. The second film in this franchise takes the title of ‘catching fire’ to underline the fight back of the oppressed peoples against a powerful, wealthy and minority-rule elite. In a year of a General Election does this not sound familiar when we hear the complaints of ordinary people about not being listened to or being properly represented?

Jesus did say that we will always have the poor (with a timely reminder about the destitute and the dispossessed within our county) and although his mission was not to stay after his resurrection, the promise of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples and followers was one which would see them ‘catching fire’ when from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability” [Acts 2:2-4]. For all its imperial might and glory, Roman occupation, in particular in Judea, bred resentment of heavy-handed occupation and crippling tax levies. Some felt that only a violent response (like in the Hunger Games) was the only option and Luke records that a certain ‘Theudas’ and ‘Judas the Galilean’ (Acts 5:36-37) attempted insurrections and failed.

The Disciples, who ‘caught’ the Holy Spirit from God with pictorial tongues of fire, did not resort to violence despite early persecutions in the first century, but instead became a Church that offered fellowship, love and truth to all that they encountered. It was the birth of the Church that eventually transformed Saul to Paul; from persecutor to Apostle.

Pentecost is a reminder not about our ecclesiastical differences, and dare I say where the church has let people down, but it should always be a moment where in the worship of the Triune God we are catching fire with an energy and love not bound by the falsehoods of this age. With five church services within our benefice on the 4th June I invite you to come and catch a spark and let us just see how God enables us.

Yours in Christ

Rev’d Stefan   (aka RevT)