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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

24 January 2018: Tom Cooper, Reader, St Mary’s Church, Buriton


Christmas is over, the weather is grim, and the skies seem to be permanently grey. At this time of year, what we need more than ever is a sign of hope, of movement away from the dark days of winter, on to the promise of Spring.

One promise that we can rely on as Christians is God’s forgiveness. Whatever dark days we have been in, we are assured of mercy. And we ask for this in the words of the Lord’s Prayer: ‘Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us’. That form of words can sound like a bargain: we forgive others, you forgive us; tit for tat. But in this prayer we should note that God’s forgiveness comes first – God forgives us, and this enables us to forgive others. Does this mean we get off scot free, even if we’ve done horrendous things? This surely is to underestimate the difficulty of forgiving others, and of forgiving ourselves for what we have done. God may forgive us, but if we cannot forgive others or forgive ourselves we leave ourselves in the dark days of the winter of the soul.

If we are able fully to know and understand that God has forgiven us our sins, then perhaps we can start to become people who are able to forgive others. So perhaps this is something we need to pray for, as well as the strength to forgive others – we need to pray for the full knowledge and understanding that God has forgiven us our sins through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, and for the freedom that this knowledge and understanding can give us to forgive others. Spring is coming: let us hope in the Lord.

The next Women's Brunch will be held next Saturday: 27 January at Herne Farm Leisure Centre

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