Newsletter for Moreton Hall
For many of you Easter was an event that is now long past, particularly as the children have gone back to school after their Easter holiday. But what people fail to understand is that the Easter celebrations within Christianity go on up to and including the day of Pentecost which this year is 20th May. In that fifty day period Jesus Christ appeared many times and on one occasion to five hundred people. What was the purpose of his death and resurrection and all these appearances?
The answer is so that people could be forgiven. The rejection, maltreatment, unfair trial and horrible crucifixion of Jesus Christ was humanities’ worst example of its rejection of its Father God. After the death of His Son God could have had a very good reason for inflicting a horrible judgement upon not just His own special people, the Jews, but the whole of humanity. But He did not. Why? Because God longs to forgive; He loves His people; He is offended by their sin; He just needs for them to admit they are wrong, turn and ask His forgiveness.
Christians are, above all else, forgiven people. They should be, and often are, people who realise they are wrong, say they are sorry, ask for forgiveness, and receive it, and then go on to learn the blessing of being able to forgive others.
But we live in a culture and a society where forgiveness is seen as both stupid and weak. We can think of thousands of reasons why we should not forgive and we consider those people who do forgive to be stupid, simple, weak and, worst of all, creating an environment where further injustice can happen. But the complete reverse is true. If you can learn to forgive, at that moment you let go of so many hurtful and self destructive emotions and feelings that you, yourself, are liberated and, in a strange way, you also liberate them. Often being forgiven brings people to a right mind about themselves, their world and their part in it. One of the reasons why God freely forgives is that it is the way to set free.
In the twenty seven years I have been ministering on Moreton Hall estate, I have had thousands of conversations with people but I have come across five statements which people make which always cause me concern. They are:
‘They cannot be forgiven; they are too bad or too awful’
‘I don’t need forgiveness, I am all right’
‘I cannot forgive them under any circumstances’
‘I cannot be forgiven’
‘I cannot forgive God for what He has done to me.’
If you can identify with any or all, of those statements, you have a problem with forgiveness. Being forgiven and being able to forgive is something I have struggled with. However when I have managed to do it, I have rewarded with such a wonderful sense of liberation that it make life so much better than you can imagine. No only did it make me a better person me a better person it made whole world around me a much more pleasing place.
If you want to know more about the power of forgiveness, or if you want to be forgiven, or if you want to see what forgiveness can do for others, why not join us at any of our services over the next few weeks. Or if you want further information of a private nature, please contact me directly. From the 10th to the 20th of May we will be setting aside special time to pray for our estate and the world This is an international imitative led by the Archbishops, please join us or send us your requests.
May I also draw your attention to Sunday on 13th May? On that day we will celebrate and honour our Parish Nurse, Lesley Williams, by holding a special ‘Parish Nurse’ Sunday service. We do hope you will be able to come along and find out more about Parish Nursing.
Sunday 13th May is also the beginning of Christian Aid week. We will, as usual, be knocking on doors in the Moreton Hall area and collecting for the important and incredible work that Christian Aid does around the world. Moreton Hall has always been very generous and I hope this year, with all the suffering you see on your televisions, you will be prompted to be even more generous than you normally are so that people who have lost everything will find the hope and help they need to face a very uncertain future.
With every good wish,
Revd. Canon Jonathan Ford.
Minister Christ Church Moreton Hall