Page 2 - Moravian Messenger April 2018
P. 2

Dear Messenger Editors,
Last Sunday (11th February) the Ockbrook congregation held our first discussion on the topic of human sexuality. I was asked to share our thoughts with you.
We quickly came to the conclusion that the British Province needs to commission the writing of a liturgy to be used at a service of blessing on a civil, same-sex marriage. We would be happy for such a blessing to be carried out in our church.
We debated the idea of same-sex marriage, and we currently do not have a consensus on whether or not this should be permitted in our church. We will be discussing the subject further at a later date.
What we do agree on, however, is that we should treat everyone with love and compassion; regardless of their sexuality, everyone is welcome in our church.
Sr Julie Hague
Ockbrook correspondent
Dear Editors,
We, the undersigned, read with interest and not a little dismay the four papers on human sexuality, particularly paper three which would seem to cast doubt on the absolute integrity of certain parts of Scripture. We believe in the absolute Holy Spirit inspired integrity of the entire Scriptures; its doctrines holy, its precepts binding, its histories true, and its decisions immutable. In relation to human sexuality we firmly believe that the only sexual relationship permitted by Holy Scripture is that between a man and a woman within the bond of marriage. From the point of view of Scripture all other sexual relationships are sinful, and we believe that when sin enters by one door the Holy Spirit departs by another.
One of the questions at the end of the above mentioned paper three was as follows; What would Jesus do? We believe His answer would be exactly the same as that given to the woman taken in adultry; ‘Then neither do I condemn you, Go now and leave your life of sin.’ Our approach, as followers of the Lord Jesus should be the same as His. He is our Example. Our approach to any who may seek our help and advice should be; 'speak the truth in love', the same kind of love that our Saviour displayed when he went to our cross in our place.
Sincerely in Christ,
Br Desmond Quaite and Br William McCormick. Gracehill
Seeds to Eternity continued
being sown but being unable to rise to new life unless it dies first. So for us in the Northern Hemisphere we see the mystery of the resurrection being enacted around us as spring takes hold and the apparently dead earth springs to new life with seeds in the garden and daffodils around the hedges and lawns.
Zinzendorf too saw burial grounds as a garden in which the body is laid out as a 'seed to eternity' and so in each garden plot these 'seeds to eternity' were 'sown' in orderly rows to await the Resurrection Day (C. H. Shaw, 'Moravian Messenger', March 1930). This idea can be clearly seen at Gracehill where on 14th April 1761 the diary states that a baby girl was buried, 'in extraordinary stillness' and 'We sang then that verses in the Liturgy approved for the sowing of the first grain and at the final verse laid it to rest in its repositary'.
For those of us with Moravian Burial Grounds near to hand we go out on Easter Morning and name our beloved dead in the peace of the Burial Ground. For other Moravian Churches the names of the departed may be read out near a children's Easter Garden or vase of flowers. It is one of the most meaningful and
poignant parts of our Easter Celebrations. It highlights the fact that whilst we celebrate Christ's resurrection with real joy we recognize that death still exists and still impacts directly on us.
Celebrating Easter is not just about the resurrection of Christ from the dead, but it is also about Christ being the first fruits of the harvest of the dead. It marks a past event and looks to a future hope where the dead in Christ will rise too. We don't understand how or when this is or what it will look like, but our hope of eternal life is vindicated
because of his rising. Because he rose we believe that in and through Christ our loved 'seeds to eternity' will rise in glory and that we will follow them as part of the harvest.
Have a wonderful Easter and I pray that all your gardening efforts this spring will also be crowned with great fruitfulness later in the year.
Sr Sarah Groves
Gracehill and Ballinderry

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