Last Sunday our morning’s worship was led by our minister, the Revd Mark Lawrence. Our steward Keith Harrison gave a warm welcome to Mark and visitors who had joined us for the service. Mark has been leading us in the Beatitudes which are part of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew’s gospel and he explained his theme was the difference between the Old and New Testaments. He used verses one and two of Psalm 29 as his call to worship “Give unto the Lord glory and strength, the glory due to his name, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness”.
With Rod Smith playing the organ we sang “When morning gilds the skies, my heart awakening cries; may Jesus Christ be praised”. There followed prayers of praise and thanksgiving after which Keith Harrison read from Exodus, chapter 20 in which Moses delivered the ten commandments as given to him by God. Jill Harrison read our second bible reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter ten, in which Paul offers a prayer for Israel and says it is by our faith that we are put right with God, it is by our confession that we are saved, not by obeying the strictures of ancient law. We had a third bible reading again by Jill Harrison from Matthew, chapter five, which was part of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount in which he says he has not come to do away with the Law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets but to make their teaching come true.
In our prayers for others, we remembered those in Government, seeking good leadership, wise counsel, and integrity, also for leaders in the many walks of our national life in these troubling times.
In his sermon Mark set out the differences between the Old and New Testaments stating that the Old revolved around the administration, deliverance and strict following of ancient rites and practices, whereas Jesus came not to abolish the law but to bring Grace and Salvation; for Jesus is essential to spiritual history. His coming fulfilled the Old Testament and when he was crucified the old order came to an end and the new order began. But we need to understand the Old Testament to appreciate the New as Jesus came to fulfil the moral, judicial and ceremonial law of the Old. Central to this is our need to love God, love our neighbour and love ourselves. Jesus is the personification of the love of God.