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News from and about St Mary’s, Aberfoyle

Remember that you are Dust and to Dust you shall return. – Ash Wednesday 17th February 2021

Remember that you are dust and to Dust you shall return – Ash Wednesday 17th February 2021


Much of the Christian year is about turning and returning; facing and looking difficulties in the eyes – and passing through to something greater and better and more meaningful.  I am not saying that this is without pain, but it is certainly with a destination address which can never tarnish and can never be taken away from us….even though it seems at times as though torments are never ending.
And all of this is also about love – in its deepest and most meaningful form – away from the romance and the flowers; and into that deeper more meaningful thing which comes with years and time and more than a little understanding.  And that love which comes with knowing and still choosing to reach in and to love; to be constant and to be present – in this world and the next.
Just as when we lose someone whom we love very dearly from the physicality of this world, we never actually lose them; so God walks with us wherever we may go and whatever we may encounter.  
We are part of one great and beautiful and cyclical creation – ever changing, ever growing, ever living – in multiple forms so that it can never quite be grasped or held or pinned down to full description and comprehension.  Rather like the love of God itself – ever present and ever evolving; constantly holding us, even when we feel darkness and distance – with us always – even until the end of time.  
And this is why our actions affect and bring about effect to each and every one of us – we are part of the whole thing of the butterfly flapping its wings at the Equator – we are integral.  
And, in the love which is shown to us in the love of God, we have (even when the going is so, so difficult, and so many things feel alien and painful) the strength to keep going, through this world without fear, and never being alone.
So, as we move through the worldly, beautiful love of St. Valentine and orientate ourselves this Ash Wednesday towards the love which knows each and every atom of us throughout eternity; let us remember that whilst this mortal life is fleeting; it is rooted and bounded by a love which will never leave us, and holds us beyond death into a new and everlasting kingdom.  
As we prepare to keep a good Lent, let us remind ourselves that ultimately all will be gathered in by Creator God who loves all of creation throughout all time.  All we have to do is be faithful to the guardianship of creation – and all living things in this world.
Hugs for Valentine’s Day, and Blessings for the Lenten period to come.

Linkage service Epiphany 6 14th February 2021

Linkage Service Epiphany 6 14th February 2021

01877 330448

The Transfiguration     14th February 2021

Preparation:  Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord.  Amen

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: the first commandment is this: 
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love 
the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, 
with all your mind and with all Your strength.” The second is this:  “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.

Gloria:   Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, 
with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.    Amen.

Collect:   Almighty God, whose Son was revealed in majesty before he suffered death upon the cross, give us faith to perceive his glory, that being strengthened by his grace we may be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Reading:  2 Kings 2:1-12
Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they went down to Bethel. The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I know; keep silent.’ Elijah said to him, ‘Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they came to Jericho. The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he answered, ‘Yes, I know; be silent.’  
Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.  
When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.’ Elisha said, ‘Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.’ He responded, ‘You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.’ As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, ‘Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!’ But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two.

Gospel:   Mark 9:2-9
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 
Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’ Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.

As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

Reflection:   
The Magi … Simeon in the Temple …  John the Baptist at the Jordan … and now Peter, James and John on the mountaintop.  They see light and are amazed; is the Transfiguration the best epiphany of all?

“Bedazzled and blurting” is how one commentator described the disciples. Peter tried to say something about the dazzling white clothes of Jesus, and the prophets appearing on either side of him.  But they did not really understand and were scared out of their wits.

An extraordinary, wondrous and moving experience may make us speechless:  how can we put it into words?  What – on earth – should we say about it?   But we may also be dumb because we do not yet really grasp the deep meaning of our experience.

St Jerome said of Peter on the mountain, “Even though you see Jesus transfigured, nevertheless, because Christ has not yet suffered for you, you are still unable to know the truth.”  We have to experience the depth of Jesus’ love if we are to grasp the truth that he is Son of God.

Jesus was aware that the Passion lay ahead for him, but God was already revealing a little of the glory of the Resurrection, the great act of power that transfigured evil, suffering and death into the triumph of love.  With assurance of that in our hearts, and knowing God’s love for us, we can come down the mountain and bring Christ’s hope into this troubled world.

Prayers:  
Almighty God, at the Transfiguration you showed Jesus in glory and gave his disciples a glimpse of his risen life.  Help us to glimpse your heavenly kingdom and a vision of how your son, Jesus, can transfigure our lives and the life of the world.  

Creator God, as we pray for your world, give us the spirit of love for all people whatever their race or creed and give the same spirit of acceptance to all world leaders that through their common endeavour, freedom, peace and prosperity may increase throughout the world.

Loving God, with the grace of your Holy Spirit, comfort all who are in sorrow, need, sickness or adversity.  Have mercy on those to whom death draws near.  Give consolation to those in sorrow or mourning and as you take them into your tender care help may they be strengthened by the power of your love.

Lord, hear us as we bring before you the people and problems that are most on our minds …

Merciful Father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.   Amen

The Great Thanksgiving:
             Let us lift up our hearts and give thanks to the Lord our God,
              for it is right to give our thanks and praise.
              Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; 
              Hosanna in the highest!

Worship and praise belong to you, Father, in every place and at all times.  All power is yours. You created the heavens and established 
the earth; you sustain in being all that is.

In Christ your Son our life and yours are brought together in a wonderful exchange. He made his home among us that we might 
for ever dwell in you. Through your Holy Spirit you call us to new birth 
in a creation restored by love.

As children of your redeeming purpose we offer you our praise,
with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven,
singing the hymn of your unending glory:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.       
Hosanna in the highest.

Glory and thanksgiving be to you, most loving Father, for the gift of your Son born in human flesh. He is the Word existing beyond time, both source and final purpose, bringing to wholeness all that is made.
Obedient to your will he died upon the Cross. By your power 
you raised him from the dead. He broke the bonds of evil and 
set your people free to be his Body in the world.
On the night when he was given up to death, knowing that his hour had come, having loved his own, he loved them to the end. At supper with his disciples he took bread and offered you thanks. He broke the bread, and gave it to them, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body: it is broken for you.” After supper, he took the cup, he offered you thanks, and gave it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my Blood of the new covenant; it is poured out for you, and for all, that sins may be forgiven. Do this in remembrance of me.” 

We now obey your Son’s command. We recall his blessed Passion and death, his glorious resurrection and ascension; and we look for the coming of his Kingdom. Made one with him, we offer you ourselves, a single, holy, living sacrifice. Hear us, most merciful Father, and send your Holy Spirit upon us that, overshadowed by his life-giving power, we may be kindled with the fire of your love and renewed for the service of your Kingdom.
Help us, who are baptised into the fellowship of Christ’s Body to live and work to your praise and glory; may we grow together in unity and love until at last, in your new creation, we enter into our heritage in the company of the Virgin Mary, the apostles and prophets, and of all our brothers and sisters living and departed.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be to you, Lord of all ages, 
world without end. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:   Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.   Amen.

The Communion:   draw close to Christ in spirit and thanksgiving,
and be nourished by his presence with you and within you.    

Prayer:   Holy God, we see your glory in the face of your Son, Jesus Christ.  May we reflect his life in word and deed, that all the world may know his power to change and save, to the glory of your name. Amen  

A hymn of faith and trust in God: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AdBkEJurR4

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
be all else but naught to me, save that thou art;
be thou my best thought in the day and the night,
both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word,
be thou ever with me and I with thee Lord;
be thou my great Father and I thy true son;
be thou in me dwelling and I with thee one.

Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight;
be thou my whole armour, be thou my true light;
thou my soul’s shelter,  thou my strong tower:
raise thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

High King of heaven, thou heaven’s bright sun;
O grant my its joys after victory is won;
great heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

St Mary’s Sunday Service Epiphany 5 for 7th February 2021

St Mary’s Sunday Service Epiphany 5 for 7th February 2021

    Epiphany 5  7th February 2021

Preparation:  Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord.  Amen

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: the first commandment is this: 
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love 
the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, 
with all your mind and with all Your strength.” The second is this:  “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.

Gloria:   Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, 
with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.    Amen.

Collect:   Merciful Lord, grant to your faithful people pardon and peace, that we may be cleansed from all our sins and serve you with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

Reading:  Isaiah 40:21-31
Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning?  Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to live in; who brings princes to naught, and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.
Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows upon them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble.
To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes to the heavens and see:Who created these? He who brings out their starry host and numbers them, calling them all by name; because he is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God’?  
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for he Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Gospel:   Mark 1:29-39
As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, ‘Everyone is searching for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.’ And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.

Reflection:   
Jesus was often found in people’s homes, eating, talking, bringing new life.  Today we have an intimate picture of Peter’s home on the Sabbath – a kind of ‘Sunday lunch’, the centre of the week.  But all was not well as the men returned from synagogue.

Peter’s mother-in-law was sick.  Now dependent on Peter’s fishing and her daughter’s goodwill, was she worried that Peter would leave them in the lurch as he followed Jesus?  Would she be too frail to help out?

Peter’s wife must have been torn between her mother and her husband.  How were both of them to feel fulfilled, and how was she to flourish? Peter’s loyalties would have been divided between his family responsibilities and his new vocation as a ‘fisher of people’.

Relationships can become strained when we fear we will lose our sense of who we are and who we might be. Jesus must have felt the deeper currents of unease when he entered Peter’s house; he knew that real healing of the situation as well as the woman was needed.

Peter’s mother-in-law was enabled to serve – her worth was restored.
Maybe the conversation over the Sabbath meal turned to what following Jesus would mean, and perhaps Peter’s wife was reassured and even inspired.  We hear that she accompanied Peter on his mission trips in due course as a ‘believing wife’.  (1 Cor.9:5)

Healing relationships involves noticing the giftedness of those around us, blessing them, enabling them to bear fruit, without worrying about our own position too much.  Like Peter’s mother-in-law, let’s begin to serve one another, lifting each other up in hope and trust.

Prayers:  
O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom you chose us, before the foundation of the world, and destined us in love to be your own: help us to pray for all your children.

For the life of the world; that your peace may be known and may prevail:  For harmony and generosity between the nations, and an end to oppression and violence, especially in Russia and China.

For all who suffer injury, death or loss; that they may know the hope to which you call us:  For the sick and grieving; for the anxious and fearful; for the bored, lonely and frustrated, young and old.

For all who exercise rule and authority; that they may acknowledge your power: For politicians, scientists, business leaders, educators and judges, as they seek to rebuild society after the pandemic.

For the Church which is Christ’s body; that it may live for the praise of your glory:  For Ian our bishop and Keith, newly-elected bishop of Argyll and the Isles.  For those responding to a call to serve your church in lay and ordained ministry.

For those who are in our thoughts and hearts at this time, especially …

God, you exerted your strength and power when you raised Christ from the dead, putting everything in subjection beneath his feet: accept the prayers which we offer in his name for the world you have created and redeemed; through him in whom you have set forth the mystery of your will, to unite all things in heaven and on earth, your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

The Great Thanksgiving:
             Let us lift up our hearts and give thanks to the Lord our God,
              for it is right to give our thanks and praise.
              Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; 
              Hosanna in the highest!

Worship and praise belong to you, Father, in every place and at all times.  All power is yours. You created the heavens and established 
the earth; you sustain in being all that is.
In Christ your Son our life and yours are brought together in a wonderful exchange. He made his home among us that we might 
for ever dwell in you. Through your Holy Spirit you call us to new birth 
in a creation restored by love.
As children of your redeeming purpose we offer you our praise,
with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven,
singing the hymn of your unending glory:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.       
Hosanna in the highest.

Glory and thanksgiving be to you, most loving Father, for the gift of your Son born in human flesh. He is the Word existing beyond time, both source and final purpose, bringing to wholeness all that is made.
Obedient to your will he died upon the Cross. By your power 
you raised him from the dead. He broke the bonds of evil and 
set your people free to be his Body in the world.
On the night when he was given up to death, knowing that his hour had come, having loved his own, he loved them to the end. At supper with his disciples he took bread and offered you thanks. He broke the bread, and gave it to them, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body: it is broken for you.” After supper, he took the cup, he offered you thanks, and gave it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my Blood of the new covenant; it is poured out for you, and for all, that sins may be forgiven. Do this in remembrance of me.” 

We now obey your Son’s command. We recall his blessed Passion and death, his glorious resurrection and ascension; and we look for the coming of his Kingdom. Made one with him, we offer you ourselves, a single, holy, living sacrifice. Hear us, most merciful Father, and send your Holy Spirit upon us that, overshadowed by his life-giving power, we may be kindled with the fire of your love and renewed for the service of your Kingdom.
Help us, who are baptised into the fellowship of Christ’s Body to live and work to your praise and glory; may we grow together in unity and love until at last, in your new creation, we enter into our heritage in the company of the Virgin Mary, the apostles and prophets, and of all our brothers and sisters living and departed.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be to you, Lord of all ages, 
world without end. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:   Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.   Amen.

The Communion:   draw close to Christ in spirit and thanksgiving,
and be nourished by his presence with you and within you.    

Prayer:   Almighty God, by whose grace alone we are accepted and called into your service:  strengthen us by your Holy Spirit and make us worthy of our calling, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

This hymn was written by Timothy Rees, who was a chaplain in World War 1 and Bishop of Llandaff during the Depression, Hear it sung at:

God is love, let heaven adore him;  God is love, let earth rejoice;
let creation sing before him,  and exalt him with one voice.
He who laid the earth’s foundation, He who spread the heavens above,
He who breathes through all creation, He is love, eternal love.

God is love and he enfolding all the world in one embrace;
with unfailing grasp is holding every child of every race.
And when human hearts are breaking under sorrow’s iron rod,
Then they find the self-same aching deep within the heart of God.


God is love, and though with blindness sin afflicts each human soul,
God’s eternal loving-kindness holds and guides and keeps them whole.
Sin and death and hell shall never o’er us final triumph gain;
God is love, so love for ever o’er the universe must reign.

Letter of Thanks and grant funding 29th January 2021

Letter of Thanks and Grant Funding 29th January 2021

29th January 2021

The Vestry of St Mary’s Church – Aberfoyle

I am pleased to report that our application to the SEC Building Grants Fund for a grant of £20,000 towards our Rectory Renovation has been successful.  Our thanks go to Mark Seymour for preparing this application and for all his work on this project.

This gives me the opportunity to express how greatly indebted we are to Mark for his outstanding contribution to the life of St. Mary’s as a member of the Vestry for more than 22 years.  During this time he was Chairman for over 10 years, overseeing the major renovation of the Church building during this period, and Secretary for more than 5 years, designing and maintaining the Church website. He stepped in as Interim Chairman when Revd Canon Richard Grosse retired and with Peter Forrester (St. Andrew’s) has taken us through the discernment process to the point where interviews will soon be taking place for the appointment of a new Rector.

St. Mary’s is in a good place thanks to Mark’s diligence and devotion, and we are extremely grateful to him for all that he has done over all these years.

Yours sincerely,

Interim Chairman

On behalf of the Vestry

St Mary’s Sunday service for Epiphany 4 31st January 2021

We are very grateful to Revd Canon Alison Peden, our Interim Pastor, for providing us with this written service for you to follow since there is no service at St Mary’s this Sunday

Epiphany 4  31st  January 2021

‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?’

Preparation:  Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord.  Amen

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: the first commandment is this:
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love
the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your mind and with all Your strength.” The second is this:  “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.

Gloria:   Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.    Amen.

Collect:   O God, through our human frailty, we cannot stand firm:

give us strength and protection, that, with your help, we may overcome all difficulties; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

Reading:  Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Moses said:     The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, ‘Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire any more, or we will die.’

The Lord said to me: ‘What they say is good.  I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him.

Gospel:   Mark 1:21-28
They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.’ 
But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit, throwing him into convulsions and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, ‘What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.’ At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

Reflection:  
It’s an ugly scene:  a hallowed synagogue thrown into confusion by a tormented man thrown into convulsions, at the mercy of forces beyond him, howling in despair.  The ICU wards that we see night after night on our screens are quieter but no less desperate.   Haggard doctors and nurses witness to the depths of suffering around them.

‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?’ cry the demons in the synagogue. How can God be where demons are wreaking havoc?  

Jeremiah prayed:  ‘Lord, you are in the midst of us, and we are called by your Name; do not forsake us, O Lord our God.’ (14:9)

The power and authority of Jesus of Nazareth rests in in his being in the midst of all our human experience, bringing the light of God’s presence to a dark world, from Incarnation to Resurrection.  Jesus lived out his message of God’s love, being tested by Satan in the desert, willing to drink the cup of suffering, unfaltering in confronting evil.

His answer to the demons shrieking ‘What have you to do with us?’
is ‘Everything!’   Some of the most powerful stories from hospitals have been those of relatives, nurses and chaplains sharing prayer and spiritual comfort with the very sick and dying.  God is not absent, but in the midst of us, in grief and hope and redemption.

But let’s remember that Jesus cast out the demon, for he was proclaiming the Kingdom, the rule and authority of God.  This story in Mark’s gospel is another Epiphany sign that Jesus is truly the Son of God who can transform our lives at the very heart of them, in our midst, if only we open ourselves to his healing light.

Prayers: 
God of every land and nation, you spoke your word and revealed your good news in Jesus Christ. We pray for our troubled world its peoples and their leaders.  May governments and their health authorities take the right steps for the good of the whole world. Help us all to understand that we must confront the pandemic together, wisely and generously.

Merciful God, be with those of us that need your restoration and healing. As we remember the way your son Jesus Christ cast out demons we remember today all those who feel trapped and helpless.  Extend your healing touch especially upon those affected by Covid-19:  those who are sick or in long-term recovery, the dying and their families and friends.

Loving God, sustain our relationships and give strength to those whose family life is difficult just now.  Help parents struggling with home schooling or lack of money and draw together those experiencing friction and frustration.  Calm the anxious and comfort the lonely;  give us a sense of community and responsibility for each other.

Holy God, lead your people in ways of prayer and discipleship that will build your Kingdom.  Give us the vision to see the new paths you are opening for us and the fresh opportunities to share your good news.  May we discern your Spirit moving among us and respond with courage and commitment.

Lord God, watch over our family and friends and all who need our prayers …   In all we do, may we walk ever more closely with you at our side, safe in the knowledge that your love and care know no bounds.   Merciful Father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.   Amen

The Great Thanksgiving:
            Let us lift up our hearts and give thanks to the Lord our God,
            for it is right to give him thanks and praise.
            Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord;
            Hosanna in the highest!

Worship and praise belong to you, God our maker. Out of nothing, you called all worlds into being, and still you draw the universe to its fulfilment. Day and night celebrate your glory till time shall be no more. In Christ, your only-begotten Son, you have revealed yourself to the world. By the guiding of a star, you made him known to the nations as the son of David and king of Israel; that in following him, we might be led from darkness and into his marvellous light.
Filled with the Spirit, who descended upon your Son at his Baptism in the Jordan, we who are baptised in his name strive for his heavenly kingdom in whose radiance we are transfigured and the earth transformed.
As children of your redeeming purpose who celebrate the manifestation of your Son, we offer you our praise, with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven, singing the hymn of your unending glory:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might.

Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.      
Hosanna in the highest.

Glory and thanksgiving be to you, most loving Father. In the Messiah you have come to us. Our hope is built on him in whom you are well pleased. Having been shown to the world as your beloved Son, he proclaimed the good news of your kingdom. The blind received their sight, the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed,           and the captives set free. At his word, water became wine, the hungry were filled with bread,     and the dead were raised.
Before he was given up to suffering and death, desiring to complete the work for which he came into the world, at supper with his disciples he took bread and offered you thanks. He broke the bread, and gave it to them, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body: it is broken for you.” After supper, he took the cup, he offered you thanks, and gave it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my Blood of the new covenant; it is poured out for you, and for all, that sins may be forgiven. Do this in remembrance of me.”
We now obey your Son’s command. We recall his blessed passion and death, his glorious resurrection and ascension; and we look for the coming of his Kingdom. Made one with him, we offer you ourselves, a single, holy, living sacrifice. Hear us, most merciful Father, and send your Holy Spirit upon us that, overshadowed by his life-giving power, we may be kindled with the fire of your love and renewed for the service of your Kingdom.
Help us, who are baptised into the fellowship of Christ’s Body to live and work to your praise and glory; may we grow together in unity and love until at last, in your new creation, we enter into our heritage in the company of the Virgin Mary, the apostles and prophets, and of all our brothers and sisters living and departed.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be to you, Lord of all ages,
world without end. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:   Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.   Amen.

The Communion:   draw close to Christ in spirit and thanksgiving,
and be nourished by his presence with you and within you.   

Prayer:   The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord:  and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among us and remain with us always. Amen

The author of this hymn, Rusty Edwards, is a Lutheran pastor in Atlanta. It sings of how Jesus is revealed as Saviour in his acts of power.
Hear it at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVXbISMGaUg

Praise the one who breaks the darkness with a liberating light.
Praise the one who frees the prisoners, turning blindness into sight.
Praise the one who preached the Gospel, healing every dread disease,
Calming storms and feeding thousands with the very bread of peace.

Praise the one who blessed the children with a strong yet gentle word.
Praise the one who drove out demons with a piercing two-edged sword.
Praise the one who brings cool water to the desert’s burning sand.
From this well comes living water, quenching thirst in every land.

Let us praise the Word incarnate: Christ who suffered in our place.
Jesus died and rose victorious that we may know God by grace.
Let us sing for joy and gladness, seeing what our God has done.
Let praise the true redeemer, praise the One who makes us one.

St Mary’s Sunday Service 10th Janaury 2021

We are very grateful to our Interim Pastr, Revd Canon Alison Peden

           The Baptism of Christ    10th January 2021

This day Jesus is revealed as the Christ in the waters of baptism

Preparation:  Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord.  Amen

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: the first commandment is this:
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love
the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your mind and with all Your strength.” The second is this:  “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.

Gloria:   Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.    Amen.

Collect:   Eternal Father, who at the baptism of Jesus revealed him to be your Son, anointing him with the Holy Spirit: grant that we, being born again, and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

Reading:   Psalm 29
Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;
   worship the Lord in holy splendour.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders,
   the Lord, over mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
   the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.

The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
   the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,
   and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, ‘Glory!’

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
   the Lord sits enthroned as king for ever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
   May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Gospel:   Mark 1:4-11   
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’

Reflection:   It’s a great and liberating lesson when we realise that God is really God.  So many of our problems come from trying to control and manage what we are not able to.  So much of our peace comes from letting God be God.

Our first Christian lesson in receptive humility comes in baptism, especially if it is adult baptism by immersion.  You are taken and submerged – ducked – and then raised bodily out of the water.  You surrender to the baptiser and are very much in their hands.

Baptism was a part of Jewish rituals of purification, especially for converts to Judaism.  After sacrifice and circumcision, you would bathe yourself as an outward sign of spiritual cleansing and new beginnings.

But we hear that Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist.  He did not baptise himself.  Although the voice from heaven declared that he was God’s beloved son, Jesus submitted to being submerged by John.  It was the first sign of his willing obedience and humility.  The anointed one was also the Servant who would submit to crucifixion at the hands of others out of love for us.

We may feel that we have lost a lot of control of our lives at the moment.  It’s particularly hard to be told by government that churches must stay closed.  But we can find peace if we try to discern the will of God for us out of love and concern for other people, and grow in humility and trust.

Prayers:  Everlasting God, we give thanks for this new day and a fresh beginning.  May we walk in your way, live our life for you and be mindful of your presence day by day.

Creator God, we remember all countries where there is war or conflict and pray that you will look mercifully upon the sufferings of the people involved.  Bless the peace negotiations for Afghanistan.

We pray for our Queen and government and the leaders in the rest of the world. Sharpen their consciences and give them the courage to make wise decisions, making wrongs right and meeting the needs of all who suffer especially as the pandemic continues worldwide.

Loving God, help those who are struggling with the restrictions in our country, especially young people whose education is suffering, and medical staff who are under so much strain.  Heal relationships which are fracturing, and comfort those who are anxious and depressed.

Mighty God, Lord of unending being, we pray for those approaching death and those whose earthly lives have ended. May they find rest in the eternal joy of heaven and let all who mourn them find comfort and peace.

Faithful God, we thank you for making us your children in baptism,
for feeding us with the spiritual food which satisfies our longings
and for the promise that you hear our prayers, which we now offer in the name of Jesus Christ our Saviour.  Amen

The Great Thanksgiving:
            Let us lift up our hearts and give thanks to the Lord our God,
            for it is right to give him thanks and praise.
            Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord;
            Hosanna in the highest!

Worship and praise belong to you, God our maker. Out of nothing, you called all worlds into being, and still you draw the universe to its fulfilment. Day and night celebrate your glory till time shall be no more. In Christ, your only-begotten Son,  you have revealed yourself to the world. By the guiding of a star, you made him known to the nations as the son of David and king of Israel; that in following him, we might be led from darkness and into his marvellous light.
Filled with the Spirit, who descended upon your Son at his Baptism in the Jordan, we who are baptised in his name strive for his heavenly kingdom in whose radiance we are transfigured and the earth is transformed.

As children of your redeeming purpose who celebrate the manifestation of your Son, we offer you our praise, with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven, singing the hymn of your unending glory:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might.

Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.      
Hosanna in the highest.

Glory and thanksgiving be to you, most loving Father. In the Messiah you have come to us. Our hope is built on him in whom you are well pleased. Having been shown to the world as your beloved Son, he proclaimed the good news of your kingdom. The blind received their sight, the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed,           and the captives set free. At his word, water became wine, the hungry were filled with bread,     and the dead were raised.
Before he was given up to suffering and death, desiring to complete the work for which he came into the world, at supper with his disciples he took bread and offered you thanks. He broke the bread, and gave it to them, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body: it is broken for you.” After supper, he took the cup, he offered you thanks, and gave it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my Blood of the new covenant; it is poured out for you, and for all, that sins may be forgiven. Do this in remembrance of me.”
We now obey your Son’s command. We recall his blessed passion and death, his glorious resurrection and ascension; and we look for the coming of his Kingdom. Made one with him, we offer you ourselves, a single, holy, living sacrifice. Hear us, most merciful Father, and send your Holy Spirit upon us that, overshadowed by his life-giving power, we may be kindled with the fire of your love and renewed for the service of your Kingdom.
Help us, who are baptised into the fellowship of Christ’s Body to live and work to your praise and glory; may we grow together in unity and love until at last, in your new creation, we enter into our heritage in the company of the Virgin Mary, the apostles and prophets, and of all our brothers and sisters living and departed.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be to you, Lord of all ages,
world without end. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:   Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come,  thy will be done;  on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.   Amen.

The Communion:   draw close to Christ in spirit and thanksgiving,
and be nourished by his presence with you and within you.   

Prayer:   May the Father who came through the Spirit upon his beloved Son at his baptism in the River Jordan pour out his gifts upon us and bless us and those we love and pray for, now and always.  Amen

 See this hymn at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIr21lLgFpg

On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry announces that the Lord is nigh;
Awake, and hearken, for he brings glad tidings from the King of kings!

Then cleansed be every Christian breast; and furnished for so great a guest;
Yea, let us each our hearts prepare, for Christ to come and enter there.

For Thou art our Salvation, Lord, our refuge, and our great reward.
Without Thy grace our souls must fade and wither like a flower decayed.

Stretch forth Thine hand, to heal our sore, and make us rise to fall no more;
Once more upon Thy people shine, and fill the world with love divine.

All praise, eternal Son, to Thee, whose advent sets Thy people free,
Whom with the Father we adore, and Spirit blest, for evermore. Amen

St Mary’s Sunday Service for 3rd January 2021

We are very grateful to our Interim Pastor, Rev Canon Alison Peden, for this service which we hope you will follow if you are unable to come to St Mary’s this Sunday

       

EPIPHANY   3 January 2021

   ‘For we observed his star at its rising,
    and have come to pay him homage’

Preparation:  Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord.  Amen

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: the first commandment is this:
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love
the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your mind and with all Your strength.” The second is this:  “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.

Gloria:     Glory to God, glory to God, glory to the Father!
                   God be glory for ever!    Alleluia, Amen!

                   Glory to God, glory to God, Son of the Father!
                   To God be glory for ever!  Alleluia, Amen!

                   Glory to God, glory to God, glory to the Spirit!
                   To God be glory for ever!   Alleluia, Amen!

Collect:   O God, who, by the guidance of a star, revealed your only-begotten Son to the nations: Grant that we, who know you now by faith, may at the last be led to see your glory face to face; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen

Reading:   Isaiah 60:1-6   Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth,    and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms. Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.

Gospel:  Matthew 2:1-12 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
             “And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means
               least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come
               a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.” ’
Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.’ When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Reflection:   On the winter solstice in December, Jupiter and Saturn aligned in an incredibly bright light – not that we could see it much
in the murk of winter in Scotland. 

Some people have been very excited by the thought that this might have been the same alignment as the great star that guided the Magi to the stable of the Nativity in Bethlehem.  However, given that the Magi came from the East, and that Bethlehem is south of Jerusalem, the star would have had to make a spectacular left turn …

We long for the world around us to have meaning – to give us clues as to what is going on. For example, crises in a story tend to be heralded by a storm. When life is puzzling and dark, perhaps the universe can give us a sign? We still talk about someone being a ‘rising star’, and Matthew assumed that the Messiah would be signalled by a real one.

For the most part, we journey without much idea of what is coming next.  Faith is a matter of hanging on to God’s hand and keeping our eyes open for those glorious moments when we know we have been shown something (‘God’s gracious smile’), even if we cannot explain it.

St Bernard of Clairvaux (d.1153) wrote a wonderful hymn with this verse:  (http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/j/t/h/o/jthoujoy.htm)

Our restless spirits yearn for Thee
where’er our changeful lot is cast;
glad when Thy gracious smile we see,
blessed when our faith can hold Thee fast.

Prayers:  The Magi came from the east to worship your Son: Father, grant to Christians everywhere the spirit of adoration, that through our worship we may reflect the glorious light of Christ.

Heavenly Father, you sent your son to guide your people, just as you sent a star to guide the Wise Men to worship him. Guide us as we begin a New Year, and be present as we take one more step along the journey of faith.

Lord God, may the star of your justice lead those who are in authority.  Bring all nations to recognize the sanctity of every human life in their care and to work for the peace, security and health of all.

Loving God, we pray for all those who have lost their way or have been led astray and for all who are living below their potential or their abilities.  We lift to you all whose lives are unfulfilled; the acutely and chronically ill; those in constant pain; the depressed and the despairing.  We now name before you especially …

Merciful Lord, we pray for all who are coming to the end of their journey here on earth and pray that they may come into your presence and kingdom. We pray for all those who have come before your face and now rejoice in the fullness of life eternal.

Thank you, gracious God, for our families, friends and neighbours, and for those who have guided and enriched our own lives.  Bless and protect them, and hasten the day when we can meet with them freely.

Eternal God, as we go out into this New Year we ask for your loving presence with us to share in its joys and to strengthen us in its sorrows.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Saviour.  Amen

The Great Thanksgiving:
            Let us lift up our hearts and give thanks to the Lord our God,
            for it is right to give him thanks and praise.
            Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord;
            Hosanna in the highest!

Worship and praise belong to you, God our maker. Out of nothing, you called all worlds into being, and still you draw the universe to its fulfilment. Day and night celebrate your glory till time shall be no more. In Christ, your only-begotten Son,  you have revealed yourself to the world. By the guiding of a star, you made him known to the nations as the son of David and king of Israel; that in following him, we might be led from darkness and into his marvellous light.
Filled with the Spirit, who descended upon your Son at his Baptism in the Jordan, we who are baptised in his name strive for his heavenly kingdom in whose radiance we are transfigured and the earth is transformed.

As children of your redeeming purpose who celebrate the manifestation of your Son, we offer you our praise, with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven, singing the hymn of your unending glory:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might.

Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.      
Hosanna in the highest.

Glory and thanksgiving be to you, most loving Father. In the Messiah you have come to us. Our hope is built on him in whom you are well pleased. Having been shown to the world as your beloved Son, he proclaimed the good news of your kingdom. The blind received their sight, the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed,           and the captives set free. At his word, water became wine, the hungry were filled with bread,     and the dead were raised.
Before he was given up to suffering and death, desiring to complete the work for which he came into the world, at supper with his disciples he took bread and offered you thanks. He broke the bread, and gave it to them, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body: it is broken for you.” After supper, he took the cup, he offered you thanks, and gave it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my Blood of the new covenant; it is poured out for you, and for all, that sins may be forgiven. Do this in remembrance of me.”
We now obey your Son’s command. We recall his blessed passion and death, his glorious resurrection and ascension; and we look for the coming of his Kingdom. Made one with him, we offer you ourselves, a single, holy, living sacrifice. Hear us, most merciful Father, and send your Holy Spirit upon us that, overshadowed by his life-giving power, we may be kindled with the fire of your love and renewed for the service of your Kingdom.
Help us, who are baptised into the fellowship of Christ’s Body to live and work to your praise and glory; may we grow together in unity and love until at last, in your new creation, we enter into our heritage in the company of the Virgin Mary, the apostles and prophets, and of all our brothers and sisters living and departed.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be to you, Lord of all ages,
world without end. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:   Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come,  thy will be done;  on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.   Amen.

The Communion:   draw close to Christ in spirit and thanksgiving,
and be nourished by his presence with you and within you.   

Prayer:   May God who led the Wise Men by the shining of a star to find the Christ, the light from Light, lead us also in our pilgrimage to find the Lord, and the blessing of God almighty, the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with us ever more.  Amen

A carol for Epiphany, sung at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sp52sx2_GYs

As with gladness men of old did the guiding star behold,
as with joy they hailed its light, leading onward, beaming bright;
so, most gracious Lord, may we evermore be led to thee.

As with joyful steps they sped, Saviour, to that lowly manger bed,
there to bend the knee before thee whom heaven and earth adore;
so may we with willing feet ever seek thy mercy-seat.

As they offered gifts most rare at that cradle rude and bare,
so may we with holy joy, pure and free from sin’s alloy,
all our costliest treasures bring, Christ, to thee, our heavenly King.

In the heavenly country bright need they no created light;
thou its light, its joy, its crown, thou its sun which goes not down;
there for ever may we sing alleluias to our King.

St Mary’s Chrstmas Day service to follow at Home

We are very grateful to our Interim Pastor, Rev Canon Alison Peden, for this service wich

we hope you will follow if you are unable to come to St Mary’s on christmas Day

http://thumbs.gograph.com/gg62496835.jpg

CHRISTMAS DAY  2020

                A boy has been born for us;
                 a child has been given us.
                 Once we were no people;
                 now we are God’s people.
                 Once we walked in darkness;
                 now we have seen a great light.

Gloria   Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,          with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.    Amen.

Collect:  O God our Father, whose Word has come among us in the Holy Child of Bethlehem: grant that the radiance of that true light, which enlightens our minds by faith, may shine brightly through our words and deeds; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, world without end.  Amen

Reading:   Isaiah 9:2-7

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Gospel:  John 1:1-14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

Reflection:  “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.” (Carl Sandberg)   

Isaiah did not hold back when he described the darkness that Israel was undergoing:  ‘When the overwhelming scourge passes through, you will be beaten down by it.” (Is.28.18) Time after time, they were let down by corrupt leaders, attacked and conquered, exiled.

The old order was decaying;  it seemed almost like the final days of the world, when nothing that was precious seemed likely to survive, and no-one had the energy or vision to tackle injustice and despair. It was ‘a land of deep darkness’.

Then:   ‘a child has been born for us, a son given to us’.  Any child
re-sets the whole situation, bringing thorough and deep disruption to people’s lives.  A child also points to the future, to an unknown world but nevertheless a world that is continuing to exist.

John’s gospel reminds us that the world is God’s, not ours: ‘without him not one thing came into being’.  God could have wiped out the world that strayed so far from what he intended.  But he gave us a child instead, Jesus, God with us and living among us.

Jesus, the Christ-child, proclaims that God wants the world to go on. Not in the old ways, but in the new path of love and hope and faith, with God unfailingly beside us in all our uncertainty, blessing us with a deep joy that we can follow a child into God’s future.

Blessed be the Newborn who today made humanity young again.
                                                       (St Ephraim the Syrian)

Prayers:   O God, help us to hear the song of the angels this Christmas, ringing out with the promise of peace and goodwill to all the world.  Visit troubled nations with your peace, and save those who are in danger of violence and harm. We especially pray for peace for the people of Bethlehem and the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Loving God, as the shepherds of Bethlehem bowed in reverence before the Holy Family we pray that you would bless all families  throughout the world, and comfort those who cannot be with their loved ones this year.

Merciful God, the Wise Men brought gifts of power and healing to the Christ Child:  hear our prayers for those who suffer in body, mind or spirit.  Uphold those who care for others and guide those who are seeking solutions to the problems of our broken world.

Father, grant to those who have departed this life eternal rest, and to those who mourn at this time, bring your consolation. We especially pray for those for whom this is the first Christmas parted from a loved one.

Holy God, inspire us with all your Church to worship your Son Emmanuel, God with us,. Hear our prayers and use them, and us, to bring peace, joy, love and hope into the lives of those for whom we have prayed.  Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.   Amen

The Great Thanksgiving:

All glory and honour be yours, mighty Creator, ever-living God.
We give you thanks and praise for your Son, our Saviour,
Jesus Christ, who for love of our human race humbled himself,
was born this night of Mary by the power of your Spirit,
and lived as one of us. In this mystery of the Word made flesh
you have made his light to shine in our hearts, that we may know your glory in the face of Jesus Christ. In him our God is made visible
and we are drawn into the mystery of divine love.  Therefore, with all the angels of heaven, we lift our voices to proclaim the glory of your name and sing our joyful hymn of praise:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Glory and thanksgiving be to you, most loving Father. 
In Jesus the Messiah you have come to us that we might for ever live with you. Obedient to your calling, Christ accepted death on the cross. When you exalted him on the third day, and bestowed on him
the name above all names, he opened the gate of glory
that we might be your children, and share in his kingdom of Peace.

Before he was given up to suffering and death, desiring
to complete the work for which he came into the world,
at supper with his disciples he took bread and offered you thanks.
He broke the bread, and gave it to them, saying:
“Take, eat. This is my Body: it is broken for you.”  After supper,
he took the cup, he offered you thanks, and gave it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my  Blood of the new covenant;
it is poured out for you, and for all,  that sins may be forgiven.
Do this in remembrance of me.”

We now obey your Son’s command. We recall his blessed
passion and death, his glorious resurrection and ascension;
and we look  for the coming of his Kingdom.
Made one with him, we offer you  these gifts
and with them ourselves, a single, holy, living sacrifice.

Hear us, most merciful Father, and send your Holy Spirit upon us
that, overshadowed by his life-giving power, we may be kindled with the fire of your love and renewed for the service of your Kingdom.

Help us, who are baptised into the fellowship of Christ’s Body
to live and work to your praise and glory; may we grow together in unity and love until at last, in your new creation,
we enter into our heritage in the company of
the Virgin Mary, the apostles, and prophets,
and of all our brothers and sisters living and departed
.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, and in whom,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be to you,
Lord of all ages, world without end.   Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done;  on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.   Amen.

The Communion:   draw close to Christ in spirit and thanksgiving,
and be nourished by his presence with you and within you. 

Closing Prayer:
Father of all, the child born for us is the Saviour of the world.  May he who made us your children welcome us into your kingdom, where he is alive and reigns with you now and for ever.

The choir of King’s College Cambridge sing Hark the herald-angels sing at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSotvFWKvhc:

Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest Heav’n adored; Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come, offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings, risen with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by, born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

St Mary’s Christmas Day Service 25th December at 11.15am

St Mary’s Christmas day Service on 25th December is at 11.15am


We still have a few places left for this Service

If you would like to book a space then please email to secretary@stmarychurchaberfoyle.org.uk

We do hope that you will come.

The service is being led by Bishop Ian Paton and we are very grateful to him for gining up part of his Christmas day in order to minister to us.

St Mary’s – Sunday services – December & Christmas

Sunday services during December and Christmas at St Mary’s

St Mary's Aberfoyle
St Mary’s Aberfoyle- Built 1893

13th December
Usual Morning Service at St Marys – 11.15am

20th December
Usual Morning Service at St Marys – 11.15am

 Christmas Day – Service at 11.15am

The Church will be opoerating under very strict guidelines with a limit of 50 Persons.

You must book your place for the service on Christmas Day. First Come first in line

Email your Secretary to Book at secretary@stmarychurchaberfoyle.org.uk and be sure to say how many are in your group please

You must book even if you have already given preliminary notice of your attendance.  And please let the Secretary know if your numbers change after you have booked

27th December

No service

Mark Seymour
Secretary to St Mary’s Vestry
Email secretary@stmarychurchaberfoyle.org.uk
Tel 01786 870710