Morning Worship last Sunday was led by Mrs Carolyn Lawrence, our minister’s wife, who was warmly welcomed by steward, Keith Harrison. Some verses from Psalm 19 were used by Carolyn as her call to worship “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handy work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge”. Carolyn introduced her service theme of “The Use of Words” before we sang our opening hymn “Jesus is Lord! Creation’s voice proclaims it “ with organ music provided by Rod Smith.
We were led in prayers of praise and thanksgiving as we were reminded of God’s glory in creation, as we were equally reminded of our shortcomings and need for God’s love and forgiveness. There were two bible readings, the first read by Keith Harrison, was from Matthew, chapter 18, outlining the teaching of Jesus on prohibiting and permitting. The second from the letter of James, chapter three, was read by Jill Harrison, and here James issues some wise comments about the words we use and that they can be a source of evil, goodness and thanksgiving. We prayed for others in their need in many parts of the world, remembering Mental Health Awareness Day on Monday, Christians Against Poverty, which helps those in financial need, and the work of our Foodbanks.
The hymn “May the mind of Christ my Saviour live in me from day to day, by his love and power controlling, all I do and say”, was sung before Carolyn preached on her theme, “The Use of Words”. The words we use are all powerful and in Luke, chapter six, Jesus said “each tree is recognised by its fruit”. So the things we say reflect the things in our hearts, and Carolyn outlines some of these things….lying and truth; sarcasm and optimism; complaining and praising; boasting and humility, to name but a few. However, she took four opposite words beginning with ‘gossiping against building up’.
In Matthew 18, Jesus teaches us how to deal with people who have wronged us. Second, ‘complaining against giving thanks’. We should do everything without complaining and Carolyn described her exercise each day during Lent of being thankful for three things. Third, ‘lying and truth’. There are many verses in scripture about telling lies but being truthful is about integrity. How sincere are we in our daily lives and do we cover our mistakes instead of owning up to them, as we need to avoid being insincere. Fourth, ‘cursing against blessing’. Negative things are negative curses in our lives so we need to cancel out the negative, think positive and use our words to bless others and to be thankful for the blessings in our lives. Carolyn’s powerful words challenged our thinking on these and other words we use.