Families came together last Sunday to celebrate and give thanks for Father’s Day. It was good to see an excellent congregation. Our minister, the Rev’d Mark Lawrence led the service using the last of the Beatitudes as his theme, “Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness sake; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”. We sang a well know Charles Wesley him which brings us together as one “And are we yet alive, And see each other’s face?”
Mark led our prayers of praise and thanksgiving and demonstrated the startling fact that some 360 million Christians are being persecuted for their faith throughout the world, by showing a video produced by the charity “Open Doors”. Mark prayed for the persecuted churches particularly for the Christians in the ten countries where they are most persecuted and discriminated against ranging from Afghanistan to India.
Our morning’s bible lesson was taken from Matthew, chapter five which was part of Christ’s Sermon in the Mount and in his sermon Mark led on from the last of the beatitudes in which Jesus says how blessed are those who are persecuted for their faith as theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Mark spoke of the blessings we enjoy as we are not persecuted for our faith in this country and yet millions throughout the world are. He spoke of the importance of personal relationships in building up mutual trust and goodwill between nations and faiths. “What is the Kingdom of Heaven?” asked Mark. “Jesus said my kingdom is not of this earth and because of our faith we are told we are adopted into the Kingdom family”. Mark concluded with some word of St Paul in Romans, chapter eight in which Paul says, “nothing shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord”
Following the hymn “Stand up! Stand up for Jesus” we celebrated Holy Communion in which Jill Harrison assisted Mark with delivering the bread and wine and closed with our rendition of “Onward Christian soldiers” sung with gusto and ably led on the organ and piano by Neil and Jill Barnett.