This week Rev. Neil introduced us to a collection of items from the church's 'lost property' box. Among them were a regatta coat, a scarf, a 'diamond' bracelet, and a 'diamond' topped pen. The question was posed, what did these items have in common? Like us, sometimes these items become lost, set aside, and forgotten.
In life, we may feel lost, confused, and seeking a way forward. Neil reminded us that when we come to church, we celebrate our belief in a God who came to find the lost, and in His son Jesus who is the way, the truth, and the life. We were reminded of this as we witnessed the baptism of Zara Anna Marlow, the daughter of Louise and Cameron. Zara's baptism is a symbol of belonging, and a reminder of God's presence with us always.
Neil drew a parallel between our baptism and the history of a people who were lost in the desert. They were promised a new land, and among them was a priest named Aaron. God gave Aaron a blessing to share with the people, which we shared and sang together. We celebrate Zara's entry into the Church and pray for her parents, Louise and Cameron, to guide her in a life of faith, love, and joy.
In the adult address, we considered the famous saying, "To err is human – to forgive is divine." The focus was on the story of Kim Thi, a young girl who survived a napalm attack during the Vietnam War. Today, she bears physical and emotional scars, but her message is one of forgiveness and peace. It was her newfound Christian faith that saved her.
We were reminded of her meeting with the American pilot who coordinated the attack on her village. Their powerful and emotional encounter highlights the transformative power of forgiveness. Kim now works through her foundation to help children affected by war and terrorism.
The concept of forgiveness can be difficult to grasp. It can be hard work and may take years to truly forgive. However, forgiveness is a central theme of the Christian faith and is relevant to today's world. We all need forgiveness and need to forgive others to set ourselves free. The story of Joseph forgiving his brothers, who had sold him into slavery, serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of forgiveness in our lives.
The world may be filled with inhumanity and conflict, but stories of forgiveness, like that of Kim Thi and Joseph, offer hope for a brighter future. By practicing forgiveness, we can become the catalyst for change and healing in our world. We should forgive as we have been forgiven and discover that the prisoner set free is ourselves.
To forgive someone is to set the prisoner free – and to discover you are the prisoner! In this spirit, let us embrace one another in forgiveness, just as Joseph embraced his brothers. Amen.