I was born and brought up in Seaside which is among one of the oldest districts of the town. A part of seaside now long gone consisted of two rows of lime painted cottages known as Custom House Bank. The late Harry Davies in his ‘Looking around Llanelli’ tells of all the women of the bank staying up all night if a baby was due; and a death on the bank meant that neighbours rallied around and lent their best crockery and furniture and ensured new mats and that walls were repainted for the funeral. Like many other communities there was a natural care and neighbourliness that was part of life and a sense of responsibility which families had for each other. There was little money, times were hard but the sense of care and belonging were and remain the binding strengths which makes a district into a community.
On the Day of Pentecost which we celebrate this Sunday a new community was born, the community of the church. The early Christians met together and shared everything they had. By 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 being shared through this community of which by faith we are part. When Jesus told us to love our neighbour he broke down the accepted barriers of His and every age. Our neighbour is anyone who is in need and because of Jesus’ love and example we do not have the option of passing by on the other side. As in the Spirit of Pentecost we celebrate this new Community we too must always seek the good of each other and share the amazing love that God has for our broken world! That’s the true blessing and joy of belonging to His church – the Community of God’s people.
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