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The train called Pentecost

Here’s a Blog for Pentecost which links railways to today’s theme.

Pentecost is when we think of the Holy Spirit descending on the disciples and empowering them to preach (and to do lots of other things, going forward). They had been frightened for the future, but in an instant they are transformed. So rapid is the transformation and growth in confidence that bystanders think they have been drinking. Peter stands up and in a loud voice says that, on the contrary, this is the fulfilment of Joel’s prophecy: “Your young men will see visions, and your old men will have dreams.”

One of the signs of the Holy Spirit is FIRE. Fire was a well-established sign of God’s presence. Think, for instance, of God speaking to Moses out of the burning bush. Fire is also mysterious (it seems to have substance but you can’t catch it and put it in a jar). It is also very powerful. Here is our first connection with train. Think of the power of fire in a steam locomotive. The fire (via the generation of steam) propels a whole train!

Now for the second link. We thought yesterday about heritage lines. One way of thinking of those is that an old derelict railway line, with associated stations and signals, etc, is given new life. It’s a similar image to Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones, which is often read around Pentecost. The bones are reassembled with sinews and muscles and, with the addition of the wind, the equivalent of an army is created! Renewed life. More than that. New life! Born again, as scripture puts it. Just as the new life of a Heritage line is a joy to behold, so is the life of the Spirit.

Did you know that there are actual Ghost trains? Google it if you don’t believe me. A ghost train is a real train that only runs on a line occasionally (eg once a week) often at a silly time (eg 5am). It is usually empty but “proves” that a line is still a working line. It is cheaper (at least in the short run) to keep the line open than to go through a mountain of paperwork and legal formality to close it. In some cases, maintaining it as a working line holds out hope that it could one day be a viable line again.

Pentecost message? Don’t go through life like a ghost train! Let the Spirit breathe new life into you. Be a proper train! Have the abundant life Jesus promised to give!

The passengers on a ghost train!

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United Benefice of Leighton-cum-Minshull Vernon and St. Leonard's Church, Warmingham

Deanery:  Nantwich
Archdeaconry:  Macclesfield
Diocese:  Chester

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