Well how do you draw crowds on Pentecost Sunday? Er, by eating fire behind the pulpit. Seriously …
A fire-breathing vicar has lit up his Gloucestershire church with a party trick he learnt in order to entertain friends at barbecues.
Reverend Nick Davies, of St Philip and St James’ Church in Cheltenham, was marking Pentecost.
“I don’t get many ooh’s and aah’s and gasps during my sermon but I did this morning,” he said.
At Pentecost the church celebrates the descending of the Holy Spirit for the first time on Jesus’s disciples.
The Bible says the disciples were together when they were filled with the Holy Spirit and what appeared to be tongues of fire came to rest on each of them.
Mr Davies has never accidentally set fire to anything but he said the church banners were moved to the far end of the building just in case.
“There were some suggestions that some people would like us to get rid of the pews, and this could be a good opportunity, but I resisted temptation,” he said.
Around 150 people were in church to witness the party trick during the morning service.
“[The Pentecost story] reminds us that God is like a roaring fire who blazes with love for us and our world,” he added.
“It was good to give people a little bit of a wow sense of going to church, of the day of Pentecost, and if we can send people home with a little bit of that wow factor then it’s a morning well spent.”
The endless search for the wow factor continues Sunday after Sunday. I am still wondering how the early church managed to preach the gospel without entertainment. What other seeker sensitive gimmick will we be seeing next? A stripper’s pole in the pulpit or a live lion on stage?
Wait a minute, both have already been accomplished! (sigh) Just give me the gospel without these tongues of strange fires. Just the gospel … that I may hear of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection for my sins.
No ‘ifs’ no ‘buts’ and no gimmicks!