Hello everyone! Last Sunday our service was led by our minister Tim and it was a baptism of a member of our congregation’s grandson Jacob William, who was quite contented until he was sprinkled with water and cried until it was dried!! It was lovely to have a full church of visitors from the family and Godparents; the children were so well behaved, as they were used to church, most of them being from Gracious Street Chapel in Knaresborough. One mother who had a really quiet and observant 18m old toddler and an almost 4 year old who were very well behaved and she told me something funny the elder boy had said, after she had said they were going to a new church, as he looked at the cracks in the ceiling, that it did not seem very new!! She had meant a different church, but children have very literal minds!! Tim talked about the importance of love, in that we love Jesus because he first loved us; he encouraged us to live in such a way that others are drawn to our Saviour Jesus through the love we share with each other; after all Jesus gave us the new commandment that we love one another as he loved us. It was a meaningful and uplifting service.
On Wednesday I led a service at the Methodist Homes for the Aged Berwick Grange in the section, where most of them are dementia sufferers. Often there seems to be little or no response, but they did listen, as I paced around describing Cornelius’ visitation by the angel, the subsequent sending for Peter at Joppa. Peter was hungry when he went on the roof to pray and had a vision of animals of all kinds held in a sheet at its 4 corners and a voice telling him to kill and eat, but he replied that he had never eaten anything unclean or common, and God told him that he must call nothing unclean, as He had cleansed it. Three times the same vision came and he was wondering what it all meant, when he was told that 3 men were looking for him and God told him to go with them, as He had sent them. He invited them in to stay the night and set off with them the next day. Cornelius had invited his family and his friends to listen to Peter and Peter explained how he had felt able to welcome the 3 men, even though they were Gentiles and offered them accommodation and went with them, because God had told him to treat everyone equally whether they were Jews or Gentiles; God has no favourites. Peter had hardly started to tell them about Jesus life, death and resurrection, when God blessed them with the Holy Spirit confirming his acceptance of them, so Peter told them to get baptized as there was nothing to hold them back. God does not judge as we do, thank goodness but accepts us all equally. We sang Love Divine, There’s a wideness in God’s mercy, and Thine be the Glory risen conquering Son.
My favourite verses of the second hymn are as follows:
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.
May we learn to love those around us as God does and live as Jesus did.