Hello everyone! What a funny day it is weather wise; one moment there is an apparent blue sky and sunshine and the next it is pouring with rain with the sun still shining. Fortunately the strong winds and driving rain of yesterday have abated.
I must admit I was glad of the extra hour in bed this morning, especially as I was leading a service, which began at 10am this morning and I did not need to get up so early. I was relieved to keep my service to just under an hour this week, as the previous service I had taken had somewhat overrun in time! This time I kept my sermon to four pages, so that I had scope to add should something else come to mind, whilst I was preaching. I was then able to be relaxed throughout the service without worrying about the service lasting too long.
I was pleased to see that there were some children, as I could involve them in the children’s address. I had a box of sweets and asked them if they would like a sweet, and as expected they would! There was one family of 4 children with one girl and three boys and another young teenage girl, so I asked the girl from the family of 4 to come and assist me. I handed her the box of chocolates and asked what would happen if she ate all the chocolates and a member of the congregation suggested that she would be sick. One of her brothers said that he would be annoyed, to which I replied that I would have probably been furious! I asked what she could do with the box of sweets and as I’d hoped the teenage girl suggested she could share them, which is what I asked her to do; she went round to all the members of the congregation to share out the sweets, as I compared God’s love to the sweets. I explained that God gave us all his love to share with other people who don’t know his love; he did not want us to keep his love to ourselves. How could we share it? We could listen to someone’s problems, hold a person’s hand, put an arm round someone or hug someone who felt alone and miserable. We can be a friend to those who have no friends or are bullied.
The message of my service was to love God with all my heart, soul and strength and my neighbour as myself. As God loves us so much, and accepts us as we are, we want to share his accepting love with others. God is more accepting and forgiving of people than we are, as it says in his hymn no 230 in Hymns and Psalms:
There is grace enough for thousands
Of new worlds as great as this;
There is room for fresh creations
In that upper home of bliss.
For the love of God is broader
Than the measures of man’s mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.
But we make his love too narrow
By false limits of our own;
And we magnify his strictness
With a zeal he will not own.
If our love were but more simple
We should take him at his word;
And our lives would be illumined
By the presence of our Lord.
By Frederick William Faber (1814 – 63)
When we fall in love we want to do all we can to make our loved one feel loved, just as Adele sings about making the man she loves feel her love in her latest single – ‘Make you feel my love.’ When we realise just how much God loves us, we want to share that love with others, so they too can ‘feel that love’. It does make sense to treat others in the same way that you would like to be treated; do as you would be done by, but most of all we can only truly love others as we learn to love ourselves. My beloved with his accepting love showed me how much God must love me; gradually as I realise how much I am loved I am learning to love myself and therefore love others. This is the day that the Lord has made and I rejoice and am glad in it.