The walk was led by Revd. Trevor Dixon, and the service by Revd Wynn James from Life Destiny Church, who also gave the talk, the full text of his talk is below. Kit Lacey led the worship group, and prayers from David Henthorne. Many thanks to all.
Apologies to those who looked to the website for details and times and could not find this. The Harrogate police advised that we did not put this up on a public website beforehand for crowd safety and security.
'Many of us will have heard the recent sad news of the death of a French Gendarme called Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame, who died after offering to take the place of a female hostage being used as a human shield by an ISIS gunman. Much is being said across the world about Arnaud Beltrame’s heroism because when he negotiated with the gunman to take the woman’s place he must have known as he walked in to the supermarket that he was very unlikely to walk out alive. He is being honoured as a brave man, a man who served his nation beyond the call of duty but what is not being acknowledged by the secular press is that Arnaud Beltrame was a committed Christian. He was an adult convert into the Roman Catholic Church and his faith in Christ was of prime importance to him and his wife. It was more than likely that his faith in Christ motivated him to make that sacrificial act of laying down his own life for someone else.
Arnaud Beltrame was only doing for another what his Saviour Jesus Christ had done for him and the rest of mankind some 2000 years ago. And that is why we are gathered here this morning, and today millions more Christians around the world are holding similar meetings and services to remember that on this day, the day we call Good Friday, Jesus Christ willingly laid down his life so that we may live and not die, so that we may know what it is to have life and life in all its fullness.
What happened on this day is what separates Christ from all other beings.
What happened on this day is what makes Christianity so unique
What happened on this day 2000 years ago has caused millions upon millions of people from every race and nation to become followers of Jesus Christ
What happened on this day has given man access to and a relationship with God.
What happened on this day 2,000 years ago has radically and dramatically changed my life and the lives of millions more across this planet.
What happened on that day has enabled me to be part of a body of people, a world wide movement called the church; and don’t listen when the social commentators and the naysayers who try and tell you that the Church and Christianity has had its day and gone into a terminal nosedive because nothing could be further from the truth. The church today in the UK is healthier and in better condition than it has been since the beginning of the last century.
What happened on that day means that the church is more active, alive and kicking than ever, running the country’s best Foodbank’s, Debt Advice Centres, Rehabs, Mum and Toddler Groups, Groups for the elderly Groups for the young and far too many other things to mention here this morning - all because of what happened on that day.
What happened on that day has permitted me to sing with conviction “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.
So, if that day, that Good Friday, is so important, what happened ?
Very simply a man called Jesus Christ, who also claimed that He and God were One, deliberately laid down his life for humankind.
Because of mankind’s sinful rebellion against God we are destined to die, but because of God’s great love for us, because of the compassion he has for his creation, he sent his son Jesus Christ into the world to be crucified, to take our death, to take our shame and our sin. Jesus came into the world to seek and to save the lost, to give us life in all its fullness and to give us eternal life with God in heaven. This is summed up in one of the most beautiful verses in the Bible. John 3.16 “ For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only son, so that whosever believes in him will not perish but will have everlasting life.”
Being forgiven; having a hope for this life and the next one; knowing that whatever my background, whatever my mistakes - God loves me more than any other person could possibly love me; having someone who loves to answer my craziest prayers and delights in giving me the desires of my heart; knowing someone who can perform the most incredible miracles; being part of a church, a gathering of people who don’t judge me but only support and encourage me; having someone in my life who can take the awful and the terrible things that happen to us and somehow make them work together for good; knowing someone who promised to never leave me nor forsake me and never let me be brought to shame.
All of that and far more than I have time to relate to you is only possible because of what happened on this day, this Good Friday, 2,000 years ago, when Christ died for me, took my sins, and caused me to become a son of God, a Joint heir with Christ.
And the warning is that because of what Christ did on the cross, we who are his followers will also become his imitators, little Christ’s who will do the things that Jesus did and even greater things than these - and that’s evidenced in the way Lt Col Arnaud Beltrame laid down his life for someone he hardly knew, just as his saviour did 2000 yrs ago.
Hymn Song - The moon and stars they wept The morning sun was dead The Saviour of the world was fallen His body on the cross His blood poured out for us The weight of every curse upon Him
It’s Good Friday - but don’t despair cos Sunday’s coming!'