Dear Church Family
As we said goodbye last weekend to Greg Downes, so Greg left us with a challenging message - to be people of Word and Spirit: to be people who are even more committed to living and obeying the truth of Scripture, and people who are even more filled with the Holy Spirit. (If you missed it you can listen again by clicking here or by going to the 'Resources' section of the website and finding 'Talks').
Bezalel is the first person in Scripture who is described as being 'full of the Spirit' (see Exodus 31:1-11). The Bible is very clear that this is for the sake of creativity. God pours in the Spirit, and out comes artistic expression, design ideas and the ability to make beautiful things. That's because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of creativity. As he comes to us he often releases all sorts of creative and innovative things.
As we begin this Advent season this weekend, let's be asking the Spirit to come and release fresh creativity amongst us, and let's celebrate the Spirit's creative presence. As many of us take up the the Bible Society's 'Advent Challenge' so we'll be given each day some new suggestions of how we might live out our faith. Let's enjoy these new challenges! As we bring friends and family to the Minster Carol Service on 10th December let's appreciate the creative gifts of the musicians, actors, speakers, designers and many others involved in this beautiful act of worship. If you're in York this weekend, why not pop into the Pyramid Gallery (43 Stonegate) and see Gill Douglas' 'Treasures of Darkness' art exhibition (she'll be there in person on Saturday at 12noon)?
At The Belfrey we love creativity! It's a sign of the Spirit. That's why, whilst valuing our history and heritage, we also celebrate the new. Encouraging the new is actually very important, and an aspect of discipleship we often miss, which is why I included a whole chapter about it ('N is for New') in my A-Z of Discipleship. We need to welcome innovation and allow people to have a go. The risk of this is that sometimes things will not working out quite as intended or will take time to get right, but as the saying goes, it's best to try and fail than fail to try! As we know from watching children play, creativity is wonderful - but often messy!
So this Advent and Christmas, be creative. Have a go. Try some new things. Eat some new food. Play some new music. Maybe decorate your home differently. Invite someone to the Carol Service who you normally wouldn't. Let's be inviting the Spirit of creativity who first filled Bezalel with creative ideas to fill us to overflowing. The results may be surprising...
Happy Advent to you and your family.
PS. Don't forget that Belfrey services are a bit different this Sunday! 9am begins with breakfast, followed by a service around 9.45am. There's no XI at 11am, as we're celebrating Christingle (with oranges, sweets and candles) at 4pm as it goes dark. The6 will still meet at 6pm. All will have an Advent flavour.