The Church of Ireland Men’s society held its annual service in Eglantine Parish Church on Sunday 7 November.
The preacher was the Rt Rev Harold Millar, Bishop of Down and Dromore, who focused on the theme of recalling a generation to its life restoring Christian faith.
He spoke about how, in bidding farewell to Pope Benedict at Birmingham Airport as the Pope ended his state visit to Scotland and England, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, particularly thanked him for his challenge to the whole nation. The Pontiff had called on both nations to rediscover their Christian roots and to have their Christian faith take its rightful place in the public square.
Bishop Harold said there were two separate readings at that evening service. The first was from Kings, when King Solomon requests God 'Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people able to discern between good and evil'. The second scripture reading was Chapter 12 of St Paul's letter to the Romans, which contains those immortal words 'Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.'
Taking these two texts, Bishop Miller considered what was necessary to cultivate a mind that was discerning, a mind which understood what was right and what was wrong. He was emphatic in stating that no Christian service is complete without recourse to the scriptures and their interpretation. What our minds take in is most surely reflected in the way we live our lives. Therefore Christian instruction of the mind is of supreme importance.
Noting the many elderly Society members in the Church, Bishop Miller remarked: “Our generation was blessed because a preceding generation passed on to us our Christian heritage and faith. However we, as a generation, have utterly failed to pass on that faith to a present generation.”
He went on to say that we may lay the blame on the power of material influences in the modern world, but that does not absolve us from our failure.
Bishop Miller concluded his address by quoting lines from the recessional hymn:
May the mind of Christ my Saviour Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling All I do and say
Report by Dr Roddy Evans