Good Morning! Welcome to this mornings service.
Worship today is led by Rev Christine Fox
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God Bless x
Thank you to all those who have been part of putting together this weeks service.
Message - Rev Christine Fox
As the days begin to shorten we value the bright days, and we are glad when someone puts a light on as the day draws in to the evening. The darkness is banished by the light – and we appreciate the light more when we have been in the dark. The words of John 3:16 are familiar to many – for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’; they are followed by a connection of Jesus with the light – ‘light has come into the world but people loved darkness instead of light’.
At the time many did not appreciate Jesus the light of the world – only later did people look back and see that Jesus indeed came to destroy the darkness of separation from God. Jesus came to restore that relationship with the loving Creator of all things that is ruined by people who turn away from love and truth, who prefer sin – which is anything that is life-destroying - to love, which is all that is life-giving.
All people travel a journey through life, some see more darkness on it than others – Ali and Salumeh come originally from Iran and we have become very aware from the news over the years of some of the life-destroying aspects of that country. – But even if a person has lived in a country that is not under authoritarian rule, or torn by conflict, sadly everyone will have been affected in some way by the influence of destructive people. Everyone has experienced the darkness in some way.
Jesus, Son of God, gave his life as a shining light of self-giving love. I imagine that most of you listening have discovered that! But if you haven’t then get to know Jesus yourself – read the gospels – ask someone who knows Jesus to introduce you. And when you start to reach out to get to know him you may well find that he comes and meets you, by his Holy Spirit, flooding your life with a new light of understanding and peace.
Today marks a very special moment for Ali – and all of us here as we share it – but God hasn’t only just turned up in his life – God has been alongside him all his days already – only now he believes that Jesus is God’s Son and is prepared to come into the lime-light and be baptised (though he says he is very shy!). It’s very hard to put into words the experience of the presence of God in our lives. So we use images. We’ve talked about Jesus as the light of the world, though he is indescribably so much more. And the Water of baptism is another symbol of something we find hard to describe - of the washing away of sin, even the drowning to death of our old self as we somehow share in the death of Christ so that we are made new in him. This is what Jesus came to earth to tell us – that he makes you spotless before God – removing all barriers to your relationship with God the creator of all things!- all you need to do is to believe!
With great joy we open our arms to embrace – even if not physically – anyone who is a friend of Jesus – and so is a friend of ours; a child of God and therefore our sister or brother. In the light of Christ we journey on together; his peace with us no matter what the season of our lives. Amen