Having been welcomed by Keith Harrison, our preacher, Paul Bishop, called us together with a hymn: We have come into this place to worship you. Rod Smith accompanied us on the organ. The theme of our service was forgiveness as examined in Matthew 18, read by Norma Buckley, where Jesus tells of two debtors. The first is forgiven a huge debt by his master but then refuses to forgive his own servant a very minor debt and punishes him. Peter asked Jesus how many times one should forgive? Jesus’ answer indicated that we should never cease to forgive.
Paul echoed our thoughts when he said how hard it can be sometimes to forgive a hurt or injustice. Resentment and anger get in the way. Yet this only serves to make ourselves miserable as we carry about our grievance. We should remember the enormity of the hurt and terrible abuse that Jesus bore on our behalf and then he asked God to forgive his killers “for they know not what they do”!
In our prayers we asked for God’s love and mercy for those suffering from earthquakes, floods and persecution, confessing that these disasters are usually attributable to what we are doing to our planet. Our service concluded with a great hymn: Just as I am without one plea but that Thy blood was shed for me, followed by a blessing.