St Mary’s Bulletin & Service for Sunday 17th May 2020

Easter 6 2020

Richard writes

Kate Joynson RIP

Kate’s funeral took place in bright sunshine at Aberfoyle cemetery on Wednesday last week. As with David Miller, many turned out to line the route of the cortege. This gesture was greatly appreciated by Theresa and Michael. Mercifully, Theresa was able to join the service from Bermuda by courtesy of Kate’s niece Molly who possesses great technical prowess.

At the graveside, Michael read his mother’s favourite poem and Molly a prayer wholly appropriate to Kate’s lifelong concern for the welfare of others. Both are reproduced below.

I thank Thee God, that I have lived
In this great world and known its many joys;
The song of birds, the strong sweet scent of hay
And cooling breezes in the secret dusk,
The flaming sunsets at the close of day,
Hills and lovely, heather-covered moors,
Music at night, and moonlight on the sea,
The beat of waves upon the rocky shore
And wild white spray, flung high in ecstasy:
The faithful eyes of dogs, and treasured books,
The love of kin and fellowship of friends
And all that makes life dear and beautiful.

I thank Thee too, that there has come to me
A little sorrow and sometimes defeat,
A little heartache and the loneliness
That comes with parting and the words, “Good-bye”;
Dawn breaking after dreary hours of pain
When I discovered that night’s gloom must yield
And morning light break through to me again.
Because of these and other blessings poured
Unmasked upon my wondering head,
Because I know that there is yet to come
An even richer and more glorious life,
And most of all, because Thine only Son
Once sacrificed life’s loveliness for me,
I thank Thee, God, that I have lived.
   
By Elizabeth Countess of Craven 1750-1828 Teach us, good Lord,

And the Prayer
To serve thee as thou deservest;
To give and not to count the cost;
To fight and not to heed the wounds;
To toil and not for seek for rest;
To labour and not to ask for any reward
Save that of knowing that we do thy will. St Ignatius Loyola

The Scottish Episcopal Church will this Sunday at 11.00 broadcasting video coverage of its Eucharistic service via its website, social media channels and YouTube channel.  The web page for the broadcast is located at www.scotland.anglican.org/broadcast-sunday-worship The website will also contain a downloadable video and audio format of the service.

SERVICE FOR SUNDAY 17th MAY

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

The Collect

God our redeemer,

you have delivered us from the power of darkness

and brought us into the kingdom of your Son:

grant, that as by his death he has recalled us to life,

so by his continual presence in us he may raise us

to eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever

The Gospel

John 14:15-21

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you.18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

The Nicene Creed.

I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible:
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; Begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God; Begotten, not made; Being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man: And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered was buried: And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father: And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets: And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church: I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins: And I look for the Resurrection of the dead: And the Life of the world to come. Amen.

The Sermon

Nowadays, we turn on the television and open newspapers with trepidation. Whatever is heard or read somehow brings fear and disquiet.

When seventy-five years ago VE Day was celebrated, it was with the knowledge that an enemy had finally surrendered and was defeated. Some have contrasted that conflict with the present fight against the Covid virus.  The difference is that the battle now is with an enemy not only invisible, but presently unconquerable.

Consequently, as we have experienced, any activity or liberty believed even remotely responsible for spreading virus has been curtailed. This includes public worship. The last time church doors were closed at Easter in Britain was over 800 years ago and that by papal edict. Now, scientific evidence presents yet more anxiety for churchgoers. Places of worship might again open for worship within the foreseeable future, but perhaps without freedom to sing hymns. This is because use of the voice is contrary to the recommendations of some epidemiologists. Should this be the case, then our valuable treasury of church musicians will be at risk. More importantly, hymns themselves are our means of praise however indifferent our voices. 

For what it is worth, my view is that most news nowadays consists of speculation rather than fact.  I am sure that before too long our worshipping life will resume, enhanced afresh by the beauty of church music. In that regard, the life of a musician who arguably has done more than any other to enhance and elucidate Christian faith through composition is recalled with gratitude.

In his middle years, Johann Sebastian Bach acquired a copy of Martin Luther’s three-volume translation of the Bible. He pored over it as if it were a long-lost treasure. He underlined passages and made notes in the margins.  To the world, besides being the greatest organist of that era, Bach is acknowledged as one of the most productive geniuses in the history of western music. To the Christian, his works might mean even more.

Bach was born in 1685 and schooled in Eisenach, Thuringia at the same establishment that Luther had attended over a century beforehand. Having sung in a church choir, Bach was by the age of 15 ready to establish himself in the musical world.  This he did, and, after various posts and domestic crises, he settled at Leipzig in 1723, remaining there for the rest of his life. Bach’s stay in the town as musical director and choirmaster of Saint Thomas’s church and school, was often unhappy. Neither his employer the Town Council nor the populace appreciated his genius, most regarding him simply as a teacher who could play the organ. Nevertheless, under these circumstances Bach was still able to produce his best church music. Aside from his organ compositions, he remarkably produced a new cantata every week. Nowadays, any composer who manages to write one work in a year is highly praised.  Of the 202 Bach cantatas that survive, all closely following biblical texts. Unlike his contemporary Georg Frederic Handel, Bach was his own librettist, meaning that he personally studied the scriptures in depth before setting them to music. The nineteenth century skeptic Friedrich Nietzsche wrote upon hearing Bach’s St Matthew’s Passion “One who has completely forgotten Christianity truly hears it here as gospel.”

After his death in 1759, Bach’s genius fell into danger of being forgotten. The manuscripts of some cantatas were lost to generations of St Thomas’s choristers who used them as wrapping paper for their sandwiches. Mozart and Beethoven were in their lifetime admirers of Bach’s works, but did little to preserve or promote his memory. It was not until 1829 that Felix Mendelssohn arranged a performance of St. Matthew’s Passion. So begun a process of rescue and restoration of the composer’s greatness.

One of Bach’s greatest gifts was an ability to replicate in music, phrases from scripture.  For example, a staccato melody runs through one Advent cantata evokes Christ’s words in St John’s Gospel. ‘Behold I stand at the door and knock’

Music was never just music to Bach. Nearly three-fourths of his 1,000 compositions were written for use in worship. Between his musical genius, his devotion to Christ, and the effect of his music, he is acknowledged by many to be “the Fifth Evangelist”  Please God, may we soon again be, in the words of the psalmist, ‘making a joyful noise unto the Lord’

Reflection:

‘To strip human nature until its divine attributes are made clear, to inform ordinary activities with spiritual fervour, to give wings of eternity to that which is most ephemeral; to make divine things human and human things divine; such is Bach, the greatest and purest moment in music of all time’.

The Prayers

Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen.

God of compassion,
be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation.
In their loneliness, be their consolation;
in their anxiety, be their hope;
in their darkness, be their light;
through him who suffered alone on the cross,
but reigns with you in glory,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Confession

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against Thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly Thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings: The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please Thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of Thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Absolution

The Almighty and merciful Lord, grant me pardon and absolution of all my sins. Amen.


The Comfortable Words, Preface. and Sanctus.

Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith unto all who truly turn to Him.
Come unto Me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. St. Matt. xi. 28.
So God loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. St. John iii. 16.

Hear also what Saint Paul saith.
This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Tim. i. 15.

Hear also what Saint John saith.
If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous; and He is the Propitiation for our sins. 1 St. John ii. 1, 2.

Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious Name; evermore praising Thee, and saying,
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God of hosts, Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory: Glory be to Thee, O Lord Most High. Amen.

In union, O Lord with the faithful, I desire to offer Thee praise and thanksgiving. I present to Thee my soul and body with the earnest wish that may always be united to Thee. And since I can not now receive Thee sacramentally, I beseech Thee to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to Thee and embrace Thee with all the affections of my soul. Let nothing ever separate Thee from me. May I live and die in Thy love. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:

The Hymn:

Today’s hymn is a rarity but was specifically published for use in our Diocese in 1850 when Robert Campbell translated the Latin text of the 12th century writer Adam of St Victor. The tune ‘Evangelists’ to which it is sung was adapted from a Chorale penned by J.S. Bach.

In its words Adam of St Victor gives thanks for the four gospel writers ‘those who spread the treasures in the holy gospels shrined’ Might Robert Campbell also had in mind a fifth evangelist as he set the words to his chosen tune?

Come, pure hearts, in sweetest measures,
sing of those who spread the treasure
in the holy Gospels shrined;
blessèd tidings of salvation,
peace on earth their proclamation,
love from God to lost mankind.

Thou, by whom the words were given
for our light and guide to heaven,
Spirit, on our darkness shine;
graft them in our hearts, increasing
faith, hope, love and joy unceasing,
till our hearts are wholly thine.

O that we, thy truth confessing,
and thy holy Word possessing,
Jesus, may thy love adore;
unto thee our voices raising,
thee with all thy ransomed praising,
ever and forevermore

Diocesan Resources this week

Statement by College of Bishops 15th May – Covid-19 and the Future

Scottsih Bible Society