A few weeks ago, Christians celebrated Pentecost. The day when, in the upper room, the Holy Spirit Jesus had promised descended on the disciples and all those present and turned them into evangelists. It’s a great day in the Christian calendar and this year London Christians put together various events all over the city to commemorate this great milestone in the Christian life.
Perhaps the most high profile was the Pentecost Festival organised by Share Jesus International (SJI) in coalition with other Christian organisations and churches including Christian Aid, Holy Trinity Brompton and Jesus House. This culminated in a finale event at the O2 arena with some 17,000 people attending to celebrate what they called ‘the Church’s birthday’.
During that week, I enjoyed an acoustic evening at church.co.uk on Kennington Road. The hospitality was excellent, the music soothing and the performances were varied and inspiring. It was a chilled out evening with a coffee shop atmosphere. Sitting with friends enjoying a light supper, music, poetry and singing, I couldn’t help thinking how far Christianity had come from my days in a convent school.
Perhaps for this reason, among the many incredible perfomances I enjoyed: from the clear, beautiful, Darlene Zcheche-like tones of the female vocalist, to the acoustic talents of Philip Tripp and the multi-talented one-man band; I most enjoyed the unconventional, creative poetry of Tamsin Kendrick.
Her poetry is innovative both in subject matter and style. Her delivery, casual and authentic with words tripping off her tongue as if she had invented them herself. There were no exaggerated gestures, hand movements or expressions you sometimes see with poets, just an easy casual confidence that conveyed every nuance and carried you along with the excitement of her interpretation of life.
‘I Am The City’ conveyed the vibrant excitement of London life taking its toll, with ease, authenticity and humour. Using herself as an analogy, she easily convinced you you were the city as well ‘..vacuum-packed and factory dry,’ surely everyone there recognised themselves in the line, ‘The city controls my lungs, breathes me out and in, concretes my skin and disciplines me.’ It was an exceptional performance and my favourite of the evening.
At the end of the evening, I walked over to Tamsin to congratulate her on her performance and take a picture, as an after thought I said, ‘Are you any relation of Graham Kendrick?’ ( a famous worship-leader and song-writer whose songs are regularly sung as modern hymns in many churches around the world). With an endearing mischievious smile she said, ‘He’s my Dad,’ ‘Oh my goodness’ I said, ever so slightly star struck, as I waived my friends over to tell them my find!
Pentecost made me reflect on the work of the Holy Spirit and how essential it is to life. I was reminded that really, as Christians, we can do nothing except through the Holy Spirit, we need His help for life: being creative (like Tamsin), being kind, especially to those less fortunate (like Christian Aid), being a good worker (like those in the church family and leadership) and most of all propagating the gospel.