For longer than I can remember, or have been coming along to Struthers Pentecostal Church, there has been a conference at Easter. I've always thought that 'conference' is not the best name for the event, but I can't think of a suitable alternative, so we're stuck with it (not that I'm in a position to rename it anyway!).
Let me explain for those who are not 'Church folk' or are not members of, or associated with our Church in any way. For Christians, Easter is a very important time; it's the time of the celebration of the rising from the dead of Jesus Christ. The bible tells us that he is the 'first-fruits' of the resurrection, and that those who follow him and commit their lives to follow him, will after death, rise again to an endless life. Fiction? There's more evidence than you think - and recent evidence at that - see http://www.aglimpseofeternity.org/ for Ian McCormack's story of when, after being stung by the box jellyfish many times (one sting can kill you), he was pronounced dead and later 'came back to life' - with an incredible story of what happened in those 'missing' moments.
Anyway, I was delighted that I felt well enough to go to some of the conference. I got to the Friday evening (in Greenock), Saturday evening (in Glasgow) and the wonderful Easter Sunday morning service in Greenock. The original Struthers Church is in Greenock and the conference is centred there. Many people travel from all over the U.K. and beyond to get to these conferences, and as well as the services it's great to catch up with friends I haven't seen for a while.
Photo of the interior of Struthers Memorial Church Glasgow, courtesy of Eric Wylie. (click for larger image)
I loved getting to the three services and found that simply being 'in the atmosphere' was uplifting. I was reminded of the verse in scripture where Jesus says something like: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst" (Matthew 18:20 - I just looked it up!). There is something special about Christians meeting together (also as the bible instructs us). It's almost impossible to define, but, a special sense of God's presence comes amongst us and there is a refreshing sense of wellbeing and health in the air, and a delight within us that we are there. I loved it and wished I could have got to more of it.
It was at the conference that I discovered something that amazed me: friends are actually reading this blog! As I was saying various 'hellos' to friends I haven't seen for a while, I was constantly told "We're reading your blog! Please keep writing!" So, I've discovered that this eulogy may well fall under the eye of many a person I don't know about - so, I'd better try to keep it interesting and informative - and watch my sentence construction, content and spelling too! But seriously, if you're reading this, then Thank you! I appreciate it.