Thought for the week – from the Rev. David Jones
I recently officiated at a funeral of a lady who was originally from Seaside and a lifelong member of Bethel. Mrs Margaret Jones was born and brought up in ‘Custom House Bank’ a lovely lady who will be greatly missed by her family. The ‘Bank’ as it became known is now long gone, it consisted of two opposite rows of lime painted houses, two up and two down and where care and kindness were the normal way of life.
Harry Davies in his ‘Looking around Llanelli’ tells of the women of the bank staying up all night if a baby was due; a death meant that neighbours rallied around and often lent their best crockery and furniture and ensured new mats and often giving a coat of paint to the rooms for the funeral. Like many other communities there was a natural neighbourliness – community in the true sense of the word.
Forty days after Easter we celebrate the festival of Pentecost when the community of the church was born. The early Christians met together and shared everything together. Following the example of Jesus, they loved and cared for each other to such an extent that in Antioch their fellow citizens exclaimed ‘See how these Christians love one another!’ That love overflowed into a dark and often hostile world and many to this day have come to faith in Jesus by the experience of God’s love shared through the community of the church.
By today the Christian church is rapidly increasing in the world. China, Asia and especially Africa are seeing rapid growth along with other countries were there is opposition and persecution. Here is Wales there has been a marked decline in church attendance but there remain in many churches and chapels these who seek to follow the ways of Jesus with signs of encouragement when new friends are welcomed into the community of God’s people – the church.
The gift of the Holy Spirit that first Pentecost filled the early believers in Jesus with the authority and gentleness that would change the world. Their witness and preaching enabled by the Holy Spirit brought new disciples as from one generation to the next the church proclaimed the good news of Jesus Christ. This Sunday we celebrate the coming of the Spirit – the birthday of the church as we strengthen the bonds of love and friendship that is ours as God’s people and welcome all who would join with us! Welcome!