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Church News Volume 3, Issue 10

Dear friends,

The church is for sinners not just saints.

As a young Vicar I once was told off for writing that in a parish newsletter by an elderly Church Warden. He didn't like the idea that sinners were welcome in Church because for him the church was a religious club, a holy huddle for like minded 'respectable' people to gather. He didn't see himself or those in his holy club as sinners.

Sadly attitudes like that have given, and continue to give in some places, the church a bad reputation, and rightly so!

Those who go to Church are no better or worse than those who stay away. Those who go to Church should do so because first and foremost they recognise their sinfulness and the need to ask regularly for God's forgiveness. They know they have strayed away from Him and need to feel, in worship and praise, covered by His love on a regular basis.

There was once a shepherd who had 100 sheep. One day he found that one was missing so he left the 99 secured in the sheep fold and went off to look for the lost one. He searched the hills and valleys and finally found the lost sheep. The shepherd placed the sheep on his shoulders and returned home rejoicing at finding what was lost.

This is of course one of the many parables Jesus told and which are recorded in the Gospels. Parables have been described as earthly stories with heavenly meanings. So in this story Jesus is the Shepherd, his followers are the flock, the lost sheep is the one who strays away from the shepherd. Jesus is always on the look out for the stray and rejoices to bring them back to the fold. Jesus told this story in reply to the murmurings of the so called religious people of His time who were grumbling about him always mixing with those they considered 'sinners', unholy, non religious people, outsiders who did not belong to the ranks of the religious.

As so often in His life Jesus did not hold the 'respectable' view on things, and was prepared to speak out to give His point of view. Jesus tells of a God who loves His people, both those who never stray and those who do wander off the path. He tells of a God who never says 'never' to the sinner. Jesus tells of a God who cares for all, not just those who think they are religious and 'holier than thou'. Not only that, God is willing to go to great lengths to win those who stray, back to the fold and into His presence, enfolded in His love, once again.

Do you feel that there is something missing from your life? Would you like to hear about and feel in your heart God's love and forgiveness? Don't be put off finding it in one of our churches, they are all welcoming and full of good people who are there because they know they are sinners just like you-in need of God's love. For we all like sheep go astray. The Good Shepherd is waiting and looking for you.

Rev.Ian M. Finn

News Letter Archive.

Last Modified Wednesday 25 May 2011