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Rev Adam Pawley

The Rector Writes,

It is extraordinary. This coming Sunday 1st May, if Leicester City Football Club (my home team), beat Manchester United, then they will become champions of the Barclay’s Football Premier League for the very first time. The team that began the season with odds of 5000-1 to become champions, and who at one point looked certain to be relegated last year need now just one win from their last three games to achieve the title. The story is unbelievable. So unbelievable that everyone is talking about it. Everyone is writing about it. Everyone is singing and shouting about it. Fellow Leicester man Gary Lineker believes, “Leicester are on the edge of
sporting immortality”. So unbelievable is this story too that the bookies stand to lose £10m if Leicester win it. The same odds for discovering the Loch Ness monster! Has anything like this happened before? Surely not? Surprisingly as a Christian I dare to believe that it has…

There is another story that when it happened was so unbelievable everyone then too felt the need to talk about it, write about it, shout about it and sing about it. What is more is that though I am loving the excitement at the moment I wonder will in 2,000 years time as many people still talk about Leicester City as being “on the edge of sporting immortality” as those who still talk today about Jesus Christ as ‘the centre’ of all immortality?

Christian writer Graham Tomlin tweeted recently: “Between 1970 and 2005 numbers of Christians worldwide rose from 1,236m to 2,135m. Secularisation isn’t working”.

31,962 made it into the King Power Stadium last Sunday to see Leicester demolish Swansea Town 4-0. Even if we assume the whole of the UK are cheering on Leicester now (bar a small number of Spurs fans), 64m is a small percentage of 2,135m. Christianity is one big immortal celebration that’s still going on 2,000 years later and will never end.

It’s May. In addition to Leicester (hopefully) securing the Premier League title, we have two major Christian celebrations this month (and in Wales, important elections too make sure you vote!) in many respects thesecelebrations are as important as Christmas and Easter we celebrate Ascension and Pentecost.

The bodily ascension of Jesus to the right hand of God in heaven and the coming of the Holy Spirit God’s presence on earth today are stories of extraordinary events that made it into the books of the Bible. So amazing and seemingly unbelievable were they that like the resurrection they had to be written about, shouted about and sung about by people of the time too. Lots of people are excited about Leicester closing in on the league. But worldwide far more are more excited about the things of God at work in this world than the work of a football team.

Pentecost is the celebration of the coming of the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. What is more the Holy Spirit, who’s been around since the creation of the world (Gen 1:1) and before (!) will always be with us.

This year the Premier League has given us a New thing: New Champions (be they Leicester or Spurs) but I have a very strong hunch that it won’t be 2,000 years before there are new Premier League champions again. The Champion Holy Spirit however is here to stay. He will always be with us and being with us He is here to continually bring New things. At Pentecost He brought and today He continues to bring New attitudes, new desires, new ways of worship, new insights into God, new languages, new power, new miracles, new breath and new life for both the individual and for the church. How amazing and how extraordinary.

As much as I am excited about Leicester City winning the Premier League, I am still much more excited about God working in our lives, in our churches and in our world. Will you dare therefore to join me in the never-ending excitement of the coming of the Holy Spirit this Pentecost?

In Christ,
Adam.

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