As already mentioned ..... was a Salvation Army soldier, his faith was in Jesus, he come to know Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. His life as many of you will not always been one of a man of faith, but as a man of faith was how he had lived his life for the last 16 years, prior to that time ..... had believed In a higher power and 16 years ago he encountered Jesus in such a way that his life changed dramatically.
The lesson today reflects the faith that ..... had. With this in mind we have two readings, The first in part will be recognised by most people. (John 3:16-17)
“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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
“He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.”
These two readings point to something that .....encountered in his life, that while ..... was not always the easiest of people to get along with, he found forgiveness in Christ, he knew the love and forgiveness of Christ.
...... knew what it was to fear God, many of you may be thinking that God should not be feared but the interesting thing is that the Psalmist says that God has compassion on those who fear him. This Hebrew understanding of fear is more in keeping with what in English we would understand as awe. When we come to really know God, who God is and what he has done and does do for us we become awe struck. A little like the first time we witness a powerful storm, or we are out swimming in the sea and powerful surf breaks over us, or maybe like encountering true love for the first time. Knowing God in this way as we realise the forgiveness of our sins also leaves us awestruck. ..... knew this awe that came through encountering the Grace of God. Grace that undeserved favour, favour that comes as we accept what we could never achieve through our own power or strength but what has been done for us on the cross. ..... had a few favourite says about his faith, one was “but for the grace of God there go I” and another was “Let go and let God”
There may be those here who would like to encounter the Grace of God that ..... knew and still knows now in the presence of Jesus. All that is required is to ask this of God and publicly acknowledge Christ as your saviour. For Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through him.
Let’s join together in saying the words of the Serenity Prayer.