I remember standing there in my bright yellow bridesmaid’s dress with the ruffles down the front, alone in the crowd. All around me the room was full of excited family members – cousins, aunties, uncles – everyone in the large extended family was there, and they were having a ball. Everyone, it seemed, except for me. I was 100% miserable. It’s so long ago now that I can’t even remember why I was so desperately unhappy. But to this day I still can recall the feeling of embarrassment and even shame at not being able to join in the merriment. It seemed the more my mother told me to “just join in!”, the more I was unable to. She wanted, even expected, me to dance along with the others, and I just couldn’t. So I stood there and bawled while everyone else danced and had a great time.
How old was I? you may be wondering. Oh, I can’t really remember, probably about six or seven. It was towards the end of a long hot day at the wedding of a cousin, and telling a tired earlier version of me to “Just get into the spirit of it!” only made it worse.
So what’s the relevance of this to the June version of the Cherry News? It’s this – we’ve just had a Christian feast day called Pentecost – something that most of us will have been unaware of. It’s referred to as the birthday of the Church – a time to celebrate the beginning of the group of people who came to be called Christians 2,000 years ago. What kick-started it all was an astonishing event which Jesus had foretold before he died – he told his followers that after he rose from death and returned to heaven, they should wait in Jerusalem until they received “power from on high”. So they waited. They wouldn’t have known exactly what they were waiting for, but then...suddenly the spirit of God arrived in the place where they had gathered, with the sound of a rushing wind, and then flames of fire appeared on each of them, and these believers were changed. Filled with God’s Spirit, now they were able to do what Jesus had done – miracles, healings etc and they started a movement which swept the whole world. This is something I’m happy to write about because I’m on the inside of the experience of sensing God’s Spirit in my life –I’ve seen many wonderful things happen which can’t be otherwise explained. I’m so grateful that I’m not in the same situation as when I was a six-year-old bridesmaid, left on the edge, unable to join in the joy. God’s Spirit brings so many good things to the people he created. Enjoy! (Get into the Spirit!)