Sunday 19th April, 2015

Welcome to everyone worshipping with us today at St Matthew's. If you are visiting for the first time, we'd love to get to know you better, so please introduce yourself and stay for a cuppa after the service.

We had some sad news last week to hear that Cliff Barrand had died. Everyone I've met that knew him, and I certainly agree also, that he was one of the nicest men you'll ever meet. We have not seen as much of him as we would have liked in recent years, due to ill-health, but his warmth and care never diminished. Our prayers are with Kathleen and the family.

In contrast, we're also praying for God's blessings on Paul and Jenny Edwards as they start their new life together after their wedding yesterday J

What with the baptisms over Easter it's been a real "hatches, matches and dispatches" couple of weeks!

That's life isn't it? The passing of time and the coming and going of seasons, even the daily rhythms of waking and sleeping; all serve us and steady us as we each grow older (and hopefully wiser). The sun will set tonight and rise tomorrow morning and we will go on.

I guess Cliff's passing has made me think again of the wonder of eternity. We will go on. In the loving arms of our heavenly Father, as it were, we will know and be fully known. And we will be loved and fully love, no longer hampered by our mortal bodies with all its frailties and sin-marred souls. Finally and forever washed clean, fully reconciled with our creator we will go on in pure and eternal relationships with Him and each other.

The Apostle Paul said, (1Co 15:19 TNIV), "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all others."

And yet we are not to live as though heaven is our only goal. We are called to live out our relationship with God and with other people, in our best and most redeemed manner. That is to say, as we invite the Holy Spirit to be ever more present in our lives He will transform us into the likeness of Jesus Christ and enable us to live reconciled lives.  As the writer to the Hebrews says,

(Heb 12:1-3 TNIV)   . . .  let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  (2)  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (3)  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Let us go on . . .    God bless,  Ian.