Our Journey from Easter to Pentecost

Pentecost is the fifth Sunday after Easter Sunday also known as Whit Sunday and celebrates the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Acts chapter 2 is set against the backdrop of the celebrations of Pentecost in Jerusalem and the arrival of the Holy Spirit.

We are inviting you to join us on our journey from Easter to Pentecost. We are going to be sharing testimonies, reflections and stories of how the Holy Spirit is working during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

If you’d like to share and contribute to this journey please email comms@sheffieldmethodist.org

Tuesday 5th May

Aimee Roddam, Schools Worker in Doncaster shares her testimony with us.

Friday 1st May

Daphne Sidney is a Worship Leader in the Trinity Circuit and shares with us her journey on Easter Sunday morning.

Reflections on an Easter Sunday Walk

I had promised myself an early start – not early enough to catch the sunrise, but early – 6am. When it came, I wasn’t ready, I turned over, snuggled down, warm and cosy. ‘’Sorry, Lord, it’s still duvet time’’. Hadn’t I heard that somewhere before? I remembered the disciples unable to stay awake as Jesus prayed in anguish to his Father with his arrest so imminent; a time when he so much needed the support of his closest friends.

An hour later I was up and out. My neighbour’s lawn was white with frost but starred with sunlight; the promise of a beautiful day and walking through the sleeping village nothing stirred, no sound was heard. No cock crowed, though my denial in thought, word and deed far outweighs Peter’s.

As I walk on, I think of the women so many years ago going early to the tomb in trepidation, in fear of discovery, carrying with them spices and oil – a last gift to their beloved friend and Lord.

I stopped at the crown of the humpback bridge to enjoy my favourite view of the river, so calm this morning. No sign of the turbulent, awesome waters of a few weeks ago during the floods. Now all is still, silver mirrored waters belie deep undercurrents. There is an air of expectancy as if a breath is being held.

I dunk down under the barrier to reach the path beside the river and stop for a moment at the small beach to reminisce on happy times spent with the grand children as they swept the water with long handled nets catching little tiddlers to put in jam jars – as much weed caught as fish! And I thought of the risen Christ cooking fish for the disciples by the side of the lake as they returned from fishing; a catch of abundance. The joy, the excitement of reunion.

I continue on my journey passing what can only be described as a ‘blot on the landscape’. The farmer has been busy moving truck loads of soil to form a huge mound. So large, that the other evening youths from the local town, with no respect for social distancing, were racing up to the top playing ‘King of the Castle’; exuberant in their strength, agile, confident, arrogant, almost threatening. Would they have been part of that sneering, jeering mob – ‘if you’re the King of The Jews save yourself? Get down from the cross.

As I passed by something white caught my eye and I turned to look. Out of this dark, ugly mound was growing a narcissi – gleaming white petals surround a glowing golden trumpet – Christ the Lord is risen today sounds out loud and clear. Out of dirt comes forth beauty. I remember the ‘lilies of the field, they toil not neither do they spin but Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as one of these’.

On the other side of the river sheep and lambs huddle together along the bank. They were brought into the field yesterday. Still sleepy, it is too early for them to rise; the only movement detected is heads, large and small noting my progress.

I walk on glorying in the glorious scene before my eyes. In passing I flush up a lark and it rises far into the sky, melodious in its song. Memories from childhood come rushing in and I hear once more that haunting violin as I make my final farewell to my husband. Ralph Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending – an apt good-bye.

As I approach the last field I look anxiously for the lapwing’s nest in the far corner. Good, they are still there; once so common they are now endangered – a red starred bird- but they come back to the same field every year. They will not like the situation caused by the virus as during ‘exercise time’ many more people than usual are walking along a normally little frequented route. One of the pair rise as I pass and soars high over my head in leisurely flight and I hear the eerie cry – pee-wit.

I turn to retrace my steps and am transfixed by the sight of a swan on the river – regally she glides, snowy white completely still as if carved from marble. What a wonderful sight. I never tire of seeing them on the river. Around the bend I find two more, bottoms up, their long necks enabling them to dredge the dark bed of the river for food. From darkness comes light and life.

The sheep are unable to stand a second time of passing without rising. The mothers huffily gather their lambs about them and slowly move away to pastures new.

Back in the village a wren flies up practically from underfoot and perches momentarily on the top of the gate leading to the yard where the ‘mothers-in-waiting’ used to come before lambing. No longer used it will be an ideal quiet place for the small bird to raise her brood.

A single bright red tulip proclaims her beauty, growing beside the road amongst rubble and waste – a royal colour fitting for a king’s robe with crown of thorns.

Almost home I notice the rhubarb plant vigorously growing in the small patch of ground where two buildings abut at an angle. Belonging to no-one it is bitter as gall until sweetened – sweetened by the resurrection.

I paused as I let myself into my garden.

The world stood expectant, full of promise, full of hope. Did I find the empty tomb – no I didn’t but I found my risen Lord in everything I surveyed. Most surely he was my companion on my Easter day walk.

Christ the Lord is risen today – Hallelujah – He is risen indeed.

 

Tuesday 28th April

Dennis Wyatt is part of the congregation at Victoria Hall, Sheffield City Centre and he helps with the soup kitchen. He has kindly shared this story with us about fulfilling a life long dream in a way he could never have expected.

“There was one thing I always wanted to do – a front flip 360 degrees. I never really went out of my way to train to do this, probably the nearest I got to actually doing it was on the horse in the gym whilst at school.

“Last Summer, after reaching 56-years-old, this idea cropped up in my mind a number of times again. I thought could I train to do it? However, with everything else going on in my life I still didn’t train.

“Then one day, on a visit to Crystal Peaks shopping centre, I saw the calendars for next year being advertised and I thought I best go and get the two we get every year for the special people in our lives.

“I travelled up the 3-storey escalator, bought the calendars and decided to walk back down the very long staircase. It was then that it happened. Two steps down I slipped and off I went 360-degree somersaults landing on my feet each time. I ended up landing the right way up on a wider step and was relieved to be smiling and uninjured.

“The people waiting to get in the lift however were as white as sheets and their eyes were wide open in horror.

“The morel of this tale is to be weary of what you ask God for, but be thankful for the mercy he shows you.”

 

Tuesday 21st April

John French, long term member and Property Steward at Central Methodist Church, Chesterfield shares his testimony with us.

How does anyone answer the question of how/why they have come to Have a Faith.

My journey to my present Faith has taken many twists and turns over my lifetime .

For the first 38 years of my live I had no faith – never went to Church except for Weddings and Funerals, then one evening when I was by myself God touched me on the shoulder and spoke me.

Sometime later I changed my job, which involved my wife and four children coming to live in Chesterfield . Whilst I became involved in my new work my wife went to a number of local churches before walking into Central one Sunday morning . Whilst my wife became involved with Central my only connection was to provide equipment and work on property repairs .

Sometime later I joined a 34-week Adult Discipleship course run by Dr Peter Andrews who very patiently guided us to travel as a group through many aspects of the Bible. Needless to say there were many times when my very fragile Faith failed but at these times God spoke to me very patiently  plus demonstrated his presence by specific actions . In addition I met some wonderful committed people through my wife who kept helping my flickering Faith alive  – plus gave me a copy of Footsteps poem  .

For the next 20 years I never went anywhere without a copy of Footsteps poem  –plus found the immense strength of God whenever I helped other people with problems  in their personal lives .

Several times I was asked to take a more active role in Central but always declined due to my work commitments – but did promise God  to reconsider when my work load decreased . Shortly after I started working part time I agreed to become a Steward at Central  – this totally opened my eyes to the commitment of other people plus strengthened my own Faith

I now realise this was another big step along  my  journey of Faith plus the continued  use of my talents in a very vibrant Church  .

Shortly after finishing  my years as a Steward at Central I became Property Chairman which also involved Finance/Church Council /Circuit involvement – again God using my talents to help wider  groups .

What happens next as we currently come to terms with the Coronavirus epidemic — illness /deaths/ shutdown of business/financial collapse of our economy  I have no idea . What I do know is that my Faith will be tested again – when it falters God will give me the strength to continue using my talents to help other people.

Friday 17th April

Here is McCauley, Community Development Worker at Priory Place Methodist Church, Doncaster, sharing his testimony with us.

Tuesday 14th April

Revd Michael Bowman, Chesterfield shares this reflection:

Reflecting on the contrast between our usual experience of Passiontide and Easter and this year I was struck by how tactile the Gospel record is.

Remembering the experience of Passion Play presented by Beverley Churches Together. We started outside Beverley Minster and proceeding along a road with a donkey to simulate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem waving palms, you need hands to do that.

Cleansing the Temple, overturning Money Changers tables, you need hands to do that.

A presentation of The Last Supper, including the Washing of Feet, you need hands to do that; it’s not just tactile, its intimate, as is the sharing of food at the table.

The arrest of Jesus, betrayed by Judas with the intimacy of a kiss and the manhandling of him is clearly and directly physical.

The flogging of Jesus on the authority of Pilate would have to be done by hand.

Similarly, the dressing of Jesus in purple and the imposition of the Crown of Thorns were all actions by hand and therefore tactile.

Simon of Cyrene was compelled to carry Jesus’ cross, a direct physical connection.

Finally, the crucifixion itself would have necessitated much “hands on” physical effort and the taking down of Jesus from the cross and his burial would similarly have involved much muscular effort even if done gently.