From the Manse

Spontaneous Enthusiasm

While our minister is on sabatical the President of the Methodist Conference, Revd Steve Wild, explains what fires him up.

One of the Rochdale stories I grew up with was how a lad was converted in his bedroom reading John's Gospel. He felt such a wave of enthusiasm that he ran out of the house and up the road to tell his friend - in his socks, without putting his shoes on! The fishermen in the boat spot Jesus on the shore - Peter is so excited he jumps out of the boat and swims to encounter Jesus on the beach.

What radical spontaneous enthusiasm. I am an enthusiast for Jesus Christ, and have a great passion for the gospel message and what it can achieve. I feel that it is the love of Jesus that fires me up.

As a youngster, I visited the Taize community in France. The experience astonished me: here was Christianity on a large canvas and like nothing I had ever encountered. It excited me. In those days I was a bit puzzled by the chants and worship.

It was Holy Week: on Good Friday a procession with the cross meant deep sadness, but on Easter Day the love of God broke into my heart and this has been the touchstone of my life ever since.

Passion and love I felt the Spirit giving me ar\ energy and passion that has never left me. I did truly feel a love for every single human being on the planet; a true sense of the Father's heart - both a joyful and painful thing, I've discovered. This has been confirmed to me as Charles Wesley writes, "And let me live to preach thy word, and let me to thy glory live ... Thy love let it my heart o'er power, and all my simple soul devour". I am as convinced now as I was then, that it is Christ's love that energises us and I ask for more of that love all the time.

Revd Steve Wild