At the Twelfth at Ballinderry, Rt. Wor. Brother Reverend Stanley Gamble, Grand Chaplain of the Grand Orange Lodge Of Ireland, told all of the inclusive grace-filled message of Jesus and the freedom it brings.
He said: “We meet together this afternoon to give thanks to God for the civil and religious liberties which we enjoy with the rest of the Free World, and to remind ourselves of the faith which we hold dear; the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the faith of Moses, Miriam, and Joshua; the faith of David, Solomon and Daniel; the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“That faith has shaped and moulded our nation, our culture and people for generations and it is that faith which continues to give us wisdom and guidance in the present, and hope for the future.
“Our reading from St. Matthew’s Gospel reminds of the first and great commandment; to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This speaks of the vertical aspect of our faith.
“We have the privilege of not only knowing God but of loving him. The meta-narrative (big story) of the Scriptures is that God lives in covenant relationship with his people.
“The Psalmist writes, “Give thanks to God for he is good, his love endures forever.” And it’s out of God’s steadfast love for us, his hesed in Hebrew, that God invites us to live in relationship with him. And this invitation comes to us through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Jesus not only taught about God’s love but he showed and shared God’s love with all and sundry. He invited people to change their thinking about God, and to change their thinking about themselves, to see God as their loving heavenly Father and to see themselves as his children, and to come to him daily in prayer just as a child comes to a father.
“The Qualifications of an Orangemen speak of this personal relationship that we can have with God. “An Orangeman should have a sincere love and veneration for his heavenly Father and a humble and steadfast faith in Jesus Christ.”
“Brothers and sisters gathered here today, do not neglect the gift of knowing and loving God through the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. It will soften and warm your heart. It will enlighten and sharpen your mind. And it will breathe life and vigour into your soul. We have a God who loves us and we have the privilege of loving him in return.
“Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind.” This is the vertical aspect of our faith; our relationship with our loving heavenly Father.
“Second, Jesus said, “Love your neighbour as yourself.” This is the horizontal aspect of our faith. We are called not just to love God but to love our neighbour as ourselves
“You see our faith is supposed to impact people around us. It is supposed to make a difference in the lives of men, women and children. It is not supposed to be a private and selfish faith. No, it is meant to be a public and selfless faith; a faith that reaches out to people; a faith that offers help and support; a faith that gives people a way out of their difficulties and the opportunity of a fresh start.
“As Christians, we are taught to live in relationship with those around us: our friends, our families, our work colleagues, our neighbours, people of different faiths and people of no faith at all. It’s not an easy task, and we often get it wrong, but thankfully Jesus has given us ‘the Golden Rule’ to live by. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In other words, treat others as you would like them to treat you.
“Again, the Qualifications of an Orangeman help us to picture what this might look like in our lives. “An Orangeman should cultivate truth and justice, brotherly kindness and charity, devotion and piety, concord and unity, and obedience to the laws; his deportment should be gentle and compassionate, kind and courteous; he should seek the society of the virtuous, and avoid that of the evil; his conduct should be guided by wisdom and prudence, and marked by honesty, temperance and sobriety; the glory of God and the welfare of man, the honour of his Sovereign, and the good of his country, should be the motive of his actions.”
“Brothers and sisters, if we do all that we can to reach out to our neighbour in love and service, then we will have kept the second great commandment and been faithful to the calling of our Lord and Saviour.
“As St. John writes in his first epistle. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.””