On Palm Sunday our morning’s worship was led by Mrs Carolyn Lawrence and it was our privilege to welcome Carolyn to our pulpit, as steward Bunty Hodgkins read a verse describing Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem, extended a word of welcome and read out a ‘thank you ‘card from a 10-year-old girl for donations the church members had made following the sale of her yellow and blue lapel ribbons for her Ukraine Appeal.
Carolyn began the service with a call to worship reciting words from Psalm 95 “Come, let us praise the Lord! Let us sing for joy to God, who protects us”. We sang “All glory, laud and honour to thee, Redeemer, King, to whom the lips of children made sweet hosannas sing” as we were reminded of the story of Palm Sunday. Carolyn followed this great hymn with prayers of praise and thanksgiving.
There followed two bible readings, the first, Psalm 47, read by Norma Buckley, describes God as the supreme ruler; and the second from Matthew 21, read by Roy Martin, tells of the triumphant entry into Jerusalem, when Jesus riding on a donkey enters the city to be received by a large crowd of people who spread their cloaks and tree branches in the road. Carolyn led our prayers for others who presently suffer around the world, including Ukraine, Yemen, Afghanistan, and those nearer home who are struggling due to ever present difficulties.
In her sermon Carolyn directed our thoughts to the Past, Present and Future, relating first the crowd’s disappointment that Jesus was not a king, mighty in battle, who would free them from Roman rule. The way of Jesus was humility, suffering, forgiveness, and compassion. Hence his suffering on the Good Friday Cross which would follow the crowd’s turning against him as their hope and dreams were not fulfilled. We were reminded that “unforgiveness can keep us bound to the past but by holding on to unforgiveness we are tormented”. Regret and disappointment we can bring to God plus all the things which hold us down. In the present we need to take time out and we need to sit and take in the present and we should not wish it away. If we make time for God in our lives we need to lay down our future at the feet of Jesus and trust in his way. The congregation then placed palm leaves at the foot of the cross on which were written those things for which we needed God’s forgiveness.