Last Sunday we were uplifted by a service led by our minister’s wife, Mrs Carolyn Lawrence who taught us how to be at ease with God as we try to overcome all the things which would take us away from leading lives which are not God centred. Carolyn was welcomed by Keith Harrison and it was a joy to worship in glorious sunshine with the outstanding countryside which surround our church building, the distant woodland of the Maer Hills being associated with Charles Darwin.
For her call to worship Carolyn read from Isaiah chapter 61, the Good News of deliverance “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me”. Rod Smith was on the organ when we sang our opening hymn “When morning gilds the skies, my heart awaking cries, May Jesus Christ be praised!”. Thus we offered prayers of praise and thanksgiving following which prayers for others were offered, with The Lord’s Prayer.
There were two bible readings, the first from John, chapter eight read by Keith Harrison in which Jesus says to the Israelites “If you obey my teaching you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”. The second reading was from Galatians, chapter five, read by Jill Harrison in which St Paul speaks of Freedom being what we have and implores his listeners to stand, then, as free people and “do not allow yourselves to become slaves again and let love make you serve one another”.
In her sermon Carolyn spoke of our living in freedom, thankfully, but we share the grief of those who live in war zones and in great danger thinking of Ukraine, the West Bank, Sudan and other places. But freedom from physical danger may also be coupled with the lack of freedom if we become slaves of bad habits, dangerous ideology and that which would separate us from God’s love. The freedoms in Christ may be summarised in four parts. First Jesus sets us free from sin as it is our human nature to be selfish; second, Christ can free us from Guilt as he died to take all that guilt away; third, Christ brings us freedom from from legalism meaning rather than merely obeying the letter of the law we must show acts of kindness and love; and fourth, Christ sets us free from fear which can hold us back., for Jesus sets us free to live by the Spirit and his light and love.