In Northern Ireland

   12.32am Monday. Six Catholics were murdered and five injured, one critically, as they watched the match on TV last night in a pub. I have preached twice today, at 11am and 7pm at Ava Street Pentecostal Church. We encountered a roadblock on our way there this morning, and three on the way back tonight. We have driven down Shankhill Road, Springfield Road, crossed Falls Road, seen bombed-out buildings, premises barricaded, military vehicles in the streets, baby-faced soldiers with guns at the ready, heard stories of atrocities.

   Tonight’s meeting was difficult. I spoke this evening to a congregation, about 33, larger than anyone could remember in the church, on Jesus made known in breaking of bread. It seemed to be well received, at least by some. But tonight, when I spoke on Zacchaeus, it was hard. There seemed to be an opposing spirit and I struggled through without any real liberty or feeling of anointing. We had a full church, about 55 present, considerably more than they usually get. I prayed for about half-a-dozen people. The services were typical Pentecostal, no different from the way they used to be 30 years ago. The people are so much bound by their “freedom” that there is no room for the Spirit to move.

   In between the meetings we were entertained by Alan [Pastor Alan Campbell] to lunch at Belfast Castle, former home of Lord Shaftesbury. Sylvia and her fiancé Billy came too, five of us in all. We had a lovely meal and happy fellowship together with much fun and laughter. Afterwards we visited the dungeons where there were antiques etc. for sale. I went to bed after we got home.

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webwork by Jim Nagel at Abbey Press, Glastonbury — this edition published 2007-06-30