The vicar’s away (on study leave) so the bishop got to play at today’s Pentecost Family Service at Abbot’s Ripton, in deepest picturesque Huntingdonshire. Bubbles were blown. We remembered how the Bible account of creation begins with the picture not of a formless and chaotic sea until God’s Spirit moves over it and order, life and beauty emerge. Cut to gloopy bubble mixture being blown into beautiful, light, refractive, joyous moments of new life. Hands up those who long for the gloominess of their life to be transformed like that into the life full of the fruits of the Spirit (“are life, joy, peace…”). No hands stay down. And nowhere in the bible does it say that the Spirit has any intention of stopping giving these gifts to us. (Cue Ely2025 reference to people fully alive.)
But then a more sombre moment. Those beautiful bubbles are also very fragile, transient, coming to a sticky end. (Thankyou church wardens for sorting out the floor afterwards.) illness, death and tragedy are very real and very hard. So we have a choice. To say that because of that all this bubble stuff is bishoply nonsense. Life is grim. Get on with it. Or to believe that love and joy are foretastes of heaven, of how the story will end, and because of that we can face life both now and then with hope and peace. I know which way I am cashing my vote. And you?