Tag Archives: Church services

St Mary’s Sunday Service 22nd November 2020

We are very grateful to Rev Canon Alison Peden for providing us with this service for us to follow

Please note that St Mary’s is shut from 20th November and that there is no service at the Church this Sunday

Christ the King  November 22nd  2020

Psalm 95  is sung as an anthem at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpZEMzmeFN8:

O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.  For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.  In his hand are the depths of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.  For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.  Alleluia!

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.       Amen.  Lord, have mercy.

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 and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, our Lord and King: grant that the peoples of the earth may be brought together under his gentle and loving rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Reading:   Ephesians 1:15-23
I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love towards all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 
God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. 
And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Gospel:
 Matthew 25:31-46
‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 
Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 
And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” 
Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’

Reflection:   There is a game where you are labelled with a job on your back, and you have to ask other people questions to find out what it is. Someone suggested that there should be a ‘Sheep and Goats’ game, where your back is labelled  ‘Christ the king’, ‘beggar’, ‘servant’, ‘invalid’, ‘prisoner’ and so on, and you have to work out who you are from how you are treated. With honour? compassion? brusqueness?

What if everyone in the world was labelled ‘Christ the king’?   How would it affect our behaviour to each other?

In Matthew’s parable the judgement is made on ‘the nations’.  We need to think about how the nations treat each other.  It is disquieting that the UK government is thinking of reducing the 0.7% that we give in foreign aid, whilst proposing a £16 bn. spending spree on the military.
I was hungry and you gave me food.

As the Church, we need to consider how we treat each other, and whether we seek out and welcome all as Christ himself.  If Jesus came incognito to our community, to our congregation, would we treat as our King with honour and warmth, care and respect if we did not know who he ‘really’ was?   I was a stranger and you welcomed me.

And in our own lives, our families, our neighbours, our friends, those whom we meet by chance:  do they realise from how we treat them that we see Christ each time we look in their eyes, care for their needs, honour the sacred life that is theirs?  I was sick and you took care of me.

Prayers of intercession:
O God, may your kingdom come:   You sent your Son to bring good news to the poor, sight to the blind, freedom to captives and salvation to your people: rouse us to work in His name.     

Help us to see you face in those who hunger and thirst, and teach us to share what we have, as a nation and as your followers.

May we live in tolerance and mutual respect with those of different races and cultures, and seek to welcome the stranger in our midst.

Guide us as we care for the vulnerable in our society, and be present with all those who are ill, lonely, depressed, anxious, grieving or approaching death.

Enfold our loved ones in your peace and protection, and hear us when we pray for them …

Loving God, you call us to your service, to be your eyes and ears,
hands and voice in this, your world.  Fill us with your Holy Spirit that we may work with you for the coming of your kingdom, through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord and King.  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. 

Closing prayer:    Almighty God, you have made us a royal priesthood in the kingdom of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Make known his victory through us, we pray, that all the world may see his light.  We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.  Amen

You may like to close with this hymn for the Feast of Christ the King, here sung at St Albans Cathedral:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDFAv0eh-s8

Rejoice the Lord is King! Your Lord and King adore!
Rejoice, give thanks and sing, and triumph evermore.
Lift up your heart! lift up your voice! Rejoice! again I say, rejoice!

Jesus, the Saviour reigns, the God of truth and love:
when he had purged our stains, he took his seat above.
Lift up your heart! lift up your voice! Rejoice! again I say, rejoice!

His kingdom cannot fail; he rules o’er earth and heaven;
the keys of death and hell are to our Jesus given.
Lift up your heart! lift up your voice! Rejoice! again I say, rejoice!

He sits at God’s right hand till all his foes submit,
and bow to his command, and fall beneath his feet:
Lift up your heart! lift up your voice! Rejoice! again I say, rejoice!

Rejoice in glorious hope! Jesus the Judge shall come
and take his servants up to their eternal home:
We soon shall hear the archangel’s voice,
the trump of God shall sound: Rejoice!

Services at St Mary’s & Christmas

Services at St Mary’s

Your Vestry met last evening, principally to discuss other matters.

But, the decision was made to cease holding weekly Sunday Services at St Mary’s whilst the Stirling area is in Tier 4 for Covid-19 reasons.. So there will be NO service this Sunday 22nd November

This is really sad news, especially for those who have been attending over the past few months.  Bill Rootes, who has been taking the services for us each week, has been quite marvelous in ministering to us and he is quite prepared to travel, even though he would have to cross from a Tier 3 to a Tier 4 area.  But given the need for safety, the Vestry feel that it is a sensible decision to discontinue weekly services for what we hope will be a short period of 3 weeks or so.

We hope that the Government will ease the restrictions when the current rules are reviewed on 11th December.

Christmas

Subject to any change in the rules, there will be a service at St Mary’s on Christmas morning at 11.15 am.  Bishop Ian has very generously agreed to take this service for us and we are very grateful to him and his family.

There will no Carol Service this year and no Midnight Service on Christmas Eve.

There will be no service on Sunday 27th December, the Sunday following Christmas Day

If the present rules still apply, we shall be restricted to no more than 20 persons attending on Christmas morning.  Hopefully the Government will relax this  rule and if so, we should be able to return to a maximum of 50 attendees, that is if we can seat as many as that.

We shall have to plan very carefully as to whether we can seat as many as 50.  The present maximum if all come as singles, is 40 (as for Richard’s final service in October).  But if  family ‘bubbles’ exist, then we might be able to increase from 40 to 50, by seating ‘family bubbles’ in the same pew.

It is perhaps a bit early to make any plans, especially since these might well change over the coming weeks.

But if you already know who might want to come to St Mary’s on Christmas morning and how many are or will be in your own ‘bubble’ then it would be very useful to know now

I will set up a booking system nearer the time.

AGM Sunday 6th December

The AGM will be held on Sunday 6th December by way of a telephone conference call at 11.15am in place of a service at the Church that morning

Mark Seymour

Secretary to St Mary’s Vestry

Email secretary@stmarychurchaberfoyle.org.uk

Tel 01786 870710

St Mary’s Sunday Service for 15th November 2020

We are very grateful to Rev Canon Alison Peden, our Interim Pastor, for letting us have this service to follow should you not be able to attend St Mary’s in person

Pentecost 18  November 15th  2020

Faithfulness,  not success

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.       Amen.  Lord, have mercy.

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, you sent your Son Jesus Christ to be the light of the world.  Free us from all that darkens and ensnares us, and bring us to eternal light and joy; through the power of him who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Reading:   1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, ‘There is peace and security’, then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labour pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then, let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who are drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

Gospel:  Matthew 25:14-30
‘For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 
After a long time, the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, “Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful slave; you have been faithful in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, “Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful slave; you have been faithful in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” 
Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, “Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.” But his master replied, “You wicked and lazy slave! You knew that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return, I would have received what was my own with interest. So, take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Reflection:   ‘Concerning the times and seasons’  …  we ‘NEED TO KNOW! ‘  It’s hard to wait indefinitely for everything to be resolved.   Nearly half a century after Pentecost, Matthew wrote for Christians who wondered when Jesus would return in triumph.  They were being rejected by the synagogues and persecuted by Romans.    As the disciples asked Jesus, “Tell us when the end times will be?”  (Mt.24:3)   

And so Matthew encourages them with a series of Jesus’ parables about those end times.  The boss is away; he returns unexpectedly; he judges; the faithful are commended, but the rest are cast out. It’s the same pattern whether it’s about the thief surprising the sleeping householder, or the foolish virgins, or slaves investing talents or not. 

It’s tempting to focus on the success of the prudent slaves in today’s parable who invested well and were rewarded.  But Jesus emphasises their faithfulness, not their success.  They continued to believe that the master would return, and so they lived and worked actively for him, keeping themselves prepared and ready.

The ones who got cast out were those who froze out of fear or dozed off in boredom.  Living faithfully in expectation means accepting that some of what we do may fail or seem futile and over-optimistic.  But Christian life means committing to God’s future in hope and leaving the rest to God.  We can’t remain indifferent or asleep.

Jesus’ wonderful promise is that even a moment is long enough to wake ourselves up before the surprise return of the Lord.  As William Camden wrote in his Epitaph for a Man Killed by Falling (1605): 

                     “Betwixt the stirrup and the ground
                       Mercy I ask’d;  mercy I found.”

Prayers of penitence and intercession:
Holy God, you are the maker and sustainer of all things. You teach us to be good stewards of your generosity.  But we confess that we have squandered your gifts and used them as if they had been given for us alone.  We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
Lord in your mercy  hear our prayer.

God of righteousness, you call us to be alert to injustice and need, to abuse and prejudice, to suffering and distress.  But we are slow to respond, fearful and indifferent to cries for help.
Lord in your mercy  hear our prayer.

Loving God, forgive us and wake us up;  make us alert to signs that your Kingdom is coming on earth and help us to work with you for the renewal of Creation, in our homes, our community, our country.
Lord in your mercy  hear our prayer.

Give hope and light to those whose lives are dark and troubled;  give wisdom and guidance to those who direct the affairs of the world;  give peace and comfort to those who are ill or approaching death, and surround with your gracious love those close and dear to us …
Lord in your mercy  hear our prayer.

Merciful God, 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. 

Closing prayer:    May the God of peace make us perfect and holy,
and may we be kept safe and blameless, spirit, soul and body, for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God has called us and will not fail us. Amen   (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

This hymn looks forward to the grace and mercy offered us at the end of the age:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAcpYr9I6Tk

I will sing the wondrous story of the Christ Who died for me;
How he left the realms of glory for the cross of Calvary.
           Yes, I’ll sing the wondrous story of the Christ who died for me,
           Sing it with the saints in glory, gathered by the crystal sea.

I was lost, but Jesus found me, found the sheep that went astray,
Raised me up and gently led me back into the narrow way.
            Yes, I’ll sing …

He will keep me till the river rolls its waters at my feet;
Then he’ll bear me safely over, where the loved ones I shall meet.
            Yes, I’ll sing …

We are very grateful to Rev Canon Alison Peden, our Interim Pastor, for letting us have this service to follow should you not be able to attend St Mary’s in person

Sunday Service for All Saints – 1st November 2020

With thanks to Revd Canon Alison Peden for providing us with this service to follow, for those unable to come to the service at At Mary’s this Sunday

All Saints  November 1st    2020

We remember, O God…
The countless saints of history

who have blazed a trail of courage through time.We remember, O God…
The tenderness of loved ones, the example of heroes,

the healing words of comforters, the remarkable acts of fearless ones.We remember, O God…
The gentle strength of grandparents, the loyalty of friends,

the kindness of strangers, the joy of children, the sacrifice of parents.We remember, O God…
The supreme love of Jesus, the blessing of his Spirit, the reminder of his words, the sharing of his suffering, the glory of his resurrection:

shown forth in the lives of his disciples, young and old,
dead and living, strange and familiar, brilliant and ordinary.We remember in every time and place the saints of God

who have shown us the Lord.
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,

let us worship God with joy!

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, your saints are one with you in the mystical body of Christ: give us grace to follow them in all virtue and holiness
until we come to those inexpressible joys which you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever.
Amen.

Reading:  Revelation 7:9-17
After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, singing, ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and might
be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.’
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, ‘Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?’ I said to him, ‘Sir, you are the one that knows.’ Then he said to me, ‘These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them. They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them,
nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’

Gospel:    Matthew 5:1-12    An all-age version of the Beatitudes
Blessed are the saints who trust God’s power and loving care,
for they are part of the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the saints when they are sad because the world is so unfair.   They have God’s promise that justice will come.
Blessed are the nobodies who know they are nobodies and still do God’s work.   In God’s world they are the leaders.
Blessed are the saints whose greatest wish is to do what God desires.
God will give them what they want.
Blessed are the saints who treat other people gently,
God will treat them gently.
Blessed are the saints who get in trouble when they do what God requires, for they are surely among God’s saints.

Reflection:   St Modoc’s has been sharing stories of unsung saints who have inspired us. Saints are not just those officially canonised by the Church, with their holiness and remarkable deeds; they are also those who let a little of the light of Christ shine through their lives and show what God hopes human beings can be like, in their great diversity.

One striking memory is of interviewing Mother Teresa of Calcutta when she was virtually unknown.  ‘Tiny, determined … she struck me as a powerful, driven woman’.  She had the saintly quality of self-forgetfulness, refusing to answer questions about herself, demanding instead:  ‘Ask me about the work!’

Another person described ‘would be horrified to be included in any list’ of unsung saints.  A dedicated wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, she inspires through her ‘gentleness, firmness, uprightness and unfailing interest in, and support for, other people’.

We can be helped and uplifted by creative souls who enlarge our vision.  Someone remembers acting in a play about St Cuthman by Christopher Fry, a Quaker playwright better known for ‘The lady’s not for burning’, who tried to convey spiritual truth.  In exquisite poetry, he depicts Cuthman trying to build a church and encountering Christ:
             But gradually I was aware of some one in

                 The doorway and turned my eyes that way and saw

                 Carved out of the sunlight a man who stood 

                 Watching me. So still that there was not

                 Other such stillness anywhere on the earth.
                 So still that the air seemed to leap / At his side …
                 I cried out, and I cried at last ‘Who are you?’
                 I heard him say ‘I was a carpenter’ …

Finally, saints can be found amongst those not obviously ‘religious’.  Arthur Collyer – remembered as a great-uncle – confronted government plans to move the Masai from their lands where he was a District Commissioner in Kenya in 1908.  He was young, dying from TB but passionately committed to protecting the interests of his fellow human beings.  “I often think what it must have been like: young, alone in the wilds of Africa, dying, bitter about injustice and worried about the Masai people.”  As Jesus said, ‘Inasmuch as you did it to the least of my brethren, you did it unto me’.  Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Prayers:  

For all the saints who went before us, who have spoken to our hearts and touched us with your fire, we praise you, O God.  May we all hear their wisdom and inspiration and become a better place for all.
Lord graciously hear us.

For all the saints who live beside us, whose weaknesses and strengths are woven with our own, we praise you, O God.  May we listen, love and care, building a community that you will rejoice in.
Lord graciously hear us.

For all the saints who live beyond us, who challenge us to change the world with them, we praise you, O God. May their sacrifices bear fruit in the renewal of your world in justice, peace and righteousness.
Lord graciously hear us.

Holy God, join our prayers with those of the saints in eternal light, for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  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. 

Closing prayer:    Since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses, each of whom lived a life of faith in God, let us lay aside every weight that slows us down, and let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus Christ, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. And may the peace of God, the love of Jesus Christ, and the presence of the Holy Spirit, be among us and within us always. Amen

For all the saints …’ was written by William Walsham How, known as ‘The poor man’s bishop’ and ‘the children’s bishop’ for his work amongst the destitute in London and Yorkshire and his interest in children.
Perhaps another uncanonised saint? The RSCM youth choir sings it at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOC0Mb–FWY 

For all the saints, who from their labours rest,
who thee by faith before the world confessed,
thy Name, O Jesu, be forever blessed.  
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
we feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
yet all are one in thee, for all are thine. 
Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
and singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Sunday service for 25th October 2020

For those who cannot come to St Mary’s for Richard Grosse’s Final service this Sunday

This service is very kindly provided by Revd Canon Alison Peden, our Interim Pastor

Pentecost 21  October 25th   2020

Commanded to love?

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.       Amen.  Lord, have mercy.

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 Lord, in your mercy: grant to your faithful people pardon and peace; that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve you with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen

Reading:  Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.  You shall not render an unjust judgement; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbour. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbour: I am the Lord.  You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbour, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord.

Gospel:    Matthew 22:34-46
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: ‘What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?’ They said to him, ‘The son of David.’ He said to them, ‘How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,  “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand,    until I put your enemies under your feet’ ”? If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?’ No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Reflection:  
We are getting used to trying to summarise what is most important in a raft of commands:  ‘Hands, face, space’  or ‘Test and protect’.  The Jewish law was wide and complex, touching many areas of daily life. The summary Jesus gave was Biblical and well-known, and is now prayed at every Eucharist.

The summary of the Law is still a commandment.  But can you command someone to love?  That seems to go against our common understanding of love as an emotion, a feeling in our hearts.  It can be a bit daunting to say ‘yes’ to the question, ‘Do you(really) love God?’  or ‘Do you (truly) love your neighbour?’  We may quite like them, or even love them sometimes, but is that the same as real love?

We may be able to say ‘actions speak louder than words’.  This is what the wife, Golde, says to her husband, Tevye, in the musical Fiddler on the Roof  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_y9F5St4j0 ) when he asks ‘Do you love me?’:
          For twenty-five years I’ve washed your clothes, cooked your
          meals, cleaned your house, given you children, milked the cow. 
          … if that’s not love, what is?’

Yet it’s not just that loving deeds prove our love; it’s also the case that if you commit to loving actions, your love will grow.  The commandments draw us into a pattern of living that increases our love:  if we honour our family, we find we care more and more for them;  if we respect our neighbours – as our first reading prescribes, by not slandering them or bearing grudges – we find that we actually do care about their welfare and maybe even love them.

And if we commit to prayer, worship, communing with God in Christ, our love of God will grow through the power of the Spirit, so that we can love our neighbour even more, because we love those whom God loves, cherished children as we are of one Father.

You might like to pause with this chant from Taizé, which is sung at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vvfr_2euIFo

                      Ubi caritas et amor, ubi caritas, Deus ibi est.
                      (Where charity and love are …  there is God)

Prayers:   From the Church of Scotland
Holy God, who gave your Law to Moses, and who personified your Law of love in Jesus your Son, as Jesus reached out to those on the margins, so now in our prayers we do likewise:

We pray for all who have little love in their lives – those who are lonely and afraid, those who are addicted and trapped, those who grieve and mourn, those whose relationships have shattered into a thousand shards.   God of love, help us to hold them close.

We pray for those who love the wrong things – those for whom money or possessions are “god” and where greed has taken over, those who love only for gaining the approval of others, flattery, or power, those who can only love self and where bitterness or hurt has made them inward-looking. God of love, help us to unlock their hearts.

We pray for those who love so much that they give themselves totally – those who are persecuted for truth or oppressed because they take a stand for justice; those who face discrimination because of skin colour, gender, sexuality or class; those who strive tirelessly for the Good News of Jesus, often facing hostility or apathy from others.
God of love, help us to work in solidarity with them.

And now we pray for those most in our hearts, for whom we know special love and concern …  
God of love, help us to trust your compassionate and infinite love for them.

God of Love, hear our prayers spoken and unspoken, and receive them in Your grace and mercy, through Jesus, our loving 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 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. 

Closing prayer:    Almighty God, who gave the Law through Moses, and grace and mercy in Jesus Christ:   grant, we pray, that this law of love may be so written upon our hearts, that whatever we do in your name, we do humbly; whatever we seek in your Kingdom, we seek faithfully; and whatever we give of ourselves, we give lovingly; through the servant King, Jesus, our Saviour.  Amen

Love is the gift of the Holy Spirit, prayed forin our first prayer, and          in this hymn which was sung at Dunblane Cathedral as part of Songs
of Praise  – see
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIvKDgktutI

Come down, O love divine, seek thou this soul of mine,
and visit it with thine own ardour glowing;
O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear,
and kindle it, Thy holy flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn, ‘til earthly passions turn
to dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
and let thy glorious light shine ever on my sight,
and clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

And so the yearning strong, with which the soul will long,
shall far outpass the power of human telling;
for none can guess its grace, till they become the place
wherein the Holy Spirit finds a dwelling.

Sunday service for 18th October 2020 – St Luke

We are very grateful to Revd. Canon Alison Peden who has provided this service for you to follow if you cannot come to St Mary’s on Sunday

      St Luke   October 18th 2020  

         Praise the Lord, all you saints!

   Praise the Lord, you heavenly hosts!

   So great a cloud of witnesses surrounds us.

       They witness to God’s mighty acts.

         They witness to God’s steadfast love.

                                       Their witness guides us in our faith.

      Give thanks to God for St. Luke, the Evangelist,

      who tells of Christ’s healing power.

      Sing praise to God, sing praises.
      Sing praise and thanks for all God’s saints.

Tradition tells us that St. Luke was the son of pagan parents, possibly born a slave, and was a doctor by profession.  Legend has that he was also a painter who may have done portraits of Jesus and his mother, but none have ever been correctly attributed to him. St. Luke travelled with St. Paul and evangelized Greece and Rome with him, being there for the shipwreck and other perils of the voyage to Rome. St. Luke wrote a Gospel and an account of the early Church in the Acts of the Apostles. He was said to have been martyred by hanging from an olive tree.

Prayer:  Almighty God, who inspired your servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of your Son: Graciously continue in your Church this love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Reading:  Ecclesiasticus 38:1-4,6-10,12-14Honour physicians for their services, for the Lord created them;
for their gift of healing comes from the Most High, and they are rewarded by the king.  The skill of physicians makes them distinguished, and in the presence of the great they are admired.
The Lord created medicines out of the earth,  and the sensible will not despise them.  And he gave skill to human beings that he might be glorified in his marvellous works. By them the physician heals and takes away pain; the pharmacist makes a mixture from them.
God’s works will never be finished; and from him health spreads over all the earth.
My child, when you are ill, do not delay, but pray to the Lord, and he will heal you.  Give up your faults and direct your hands rightly, and cleanse your heart from all sin. Then give the physician his place, for the Lord created him;    do not let him leave you, for you need him.
There may come a time when recovery lies in the hands of physicians, for they too pray to the Lord that he will grant them success in diagnosis and in healing, for the sake of preserving life.

Gospel:  Luke 4:14-21
Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
   because he has anointed me
     to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
   and recovery of sight to the blind,
     to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’

Reflection:  At this time especially, we appreciate the qualities that make good doctors.  I often wonder if St Paul (who suffered from bad health and poor eyesight) was glad for to have the physician St Luke’s company on missionary journeys.  What can we gather about Luke’s qualities from what he wrote and others reported about him?

The first is that St Luke took people as they were, particularly if they were ‘outsiders.’  He was the only gospel-writer who recorded the parable of the Good Samaritan, and the stories of the grateful leper and the penitent woman who bathed Jesus’ feet with her tears.

Next, he focussed on the healing aspects of the gospel:  mercy (the parable of the Prodigal Son);  hope (the joy in heaven of the poor man Lazarus after his death);  and a vision of the Kingdom (Mary’s triumphant song, the Magnificat).  He wanted to convey Jesus’ promise of salvation for the whole person.

Then, he stuck by Paul to the end and did not give up. Paul was imprisoned in Rome, where he was executed.  In 2 Timothy 4:10-11, we hear how everyone had left Paul, and ‘only Luke is with me’. 

The best doctors, nurses and care staff treat everyone equally, offer the kind of reassurance that is healing, and stick by those in their care as long as they need them.  And the best kind of Christians should do the same kind of thing, because it is truly Christ-like.

Prayers:
Gracious God,giver of wisdom, pour out your gifts on politicians, civil servants and managers of the health service, especially at this time when the responsibilities for our health that they shoulder are so heavy.   Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of healing, we thank you for all whom you bless with your gifts of compassion, knowledge and healing skills, especially the doctors, nurses, therapists, and support staff of the health service, those who work in hospices and those who serve in care homes. May they be channels of healing to those who suffer, in body, mind and spirit, and themselves find strength, support and encouragement.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Compassionate God, we hold before you all those in need of healing and comfort, especially those who have asked for our prayers …  calm the anxious mind, bring balm to the depressed spirit, and strengthen the weakened body, that all who suffer may know your presence surrounding and holding them.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of our salvation, you call your Church to bring good news to the poor, health to the sick, and reconciliation to the troubled. Hear our prayers for chaplains in the Health Service, and give us the grace to give hope to all who long to hear of your promises.
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!

It is indeed right and good that we should give you praise, thanks and glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
He is the promise of justice and hope, putting the powerful in their place and lifting up the lowly. He came as light and life to those who sat in darkness and the shadow of death, your revelation to the nations and glory for your people Israel. He went about healing and doing good, and with his death accomplished the world’s salvation.
He sends the Spirit on his people, that they too may bring good news to the poor, healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, and proclaiming the good news of life and joy, that all creation might hear and rejoice, as with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven, we sing:

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, St Luke and 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:    The peace of God which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his son, Christ Jesus 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.

St Luke records Mary’s song of praise when her cousin Elizabeth greeted the Messiah in her womb, and it is sung here in a version by Bernadette Farrell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15AccZAcdpk

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit sings to God, my saving God, who on this day above all others favoured me,
and raised me up, a light for all to see.
Through me great deeds will God make manifest, and all the earth will come to call me blest. Unbounded love and mercy sure will
I proclaim for all who know and praise God’s holy name.
God’s mighty arm, protector of the just, will guard the weak and
raise them from the dust. But mighty kings will swiftly fall from thrones corrupt; the strong brought low, the lowly lifted up.
Soon will the poor and hungry of the earth be richly blest, be given greater worth, and Israel, as once foretold to Abraham, will live in peace throughout the promised land.
All glory be to God, Creator blest, to Jesus Christ, God’s love made manifest, and to the Holy Spirit, gentle Comforter, all glory be,
both now and ever more.

Sunday service for 11th October 2020

We are very grateful to our Interim Pastor, Revd Canon Alison Peden, who provides this service for you to follow should you be unable to come to Church this Sunday

Pentecost 18  October 11th  2020

 What – or Who – do you have in your mind?

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.       Amen.  Lord, have mercy.

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 Lord, since without you we cannot please you: let the work of your mercy in all things guide our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.  Amen

Reading:   Philippians 4:1-9
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for,
my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.
I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 
Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Gospel:  Matthew 22:1-14
Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 
‘The kingdom of heaven has been compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 
Again he sent other slaves, saying, “Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.” But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, maltreated them, and killed them. 
The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, “The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.” 
Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?” And he was silent. 
Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’

Reflection:   A couple of weeks ago, we pondered the ‘mind of Christ’ as Paul described it in Philippians:  selfless, servant-minded, humbly obedient unto death.  Today, Paul talks about how our ‘hearts and minds may be guarded in Christ Jesus’:  joyful, dependent on God, gentle, filled with the goodness of God.

Our habitual mind-set is vital to how we live.  If our minds are filled with frightening, self-obsessed images and thoughts, we will find it hard to live the free, joyful life of a Christian.  ‘Conversion’ includes changing our attitudes and assumptions – deeply changing our minds.

One way to live according to the mind of Christ is to absorb the ways of others.  Paul encourages the Philippians to let just and pure and noble excellence fill their minds – imitating what they have seen in him!  But our supreme model must be God as found in Jesus.

Jesus shows us what God is like, and some commentators argue that God is not like the king in today’s parable about the wedding feast.  That king is vengeful, violent, and unreasonably condemning a press-ganged guest for not wearing wedding-clothes.

So is God, in fact, more like that wedding-guest?  That is: silent in the face of tyranny – like Jesus at his trial;  refusing to take part in a display of entertainment that smacked of Herod’s vanity and crowd-pleasing; prepared to be cast out for having a ‘mind’ that was free of all fear and self-seeking.

Paul knew what it cost to have ‘the mind of Christ’.  When he wrote so warmly of rejoicing, gladness and peace, he was actually in prison for his faith.  We find ourselves in difficult times, when the most important thing may be what – and indeed Who – fills our mind.  As C.M. Ward wrote: “There are things I can’t force;  I must adjust.  There are times when the greatest change needed is a change in my viewpoint.”

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: praying for diplomats and peacemakers working in the heat of conflict.         Lord, graciously hear us.

For all who suffer injury, death or loss; that they may know the hope to which you call us: especially and those becoming ill with Coronavirus in the second wave and those affected economically and socially.
                             Lord, graciously hear us.

For all who exercise rule and authority; that they may acknowledge your power, and seek justice and good government, not popularity
and profit.       Lord, graciously hear us.

For the Church which is Christ’s body; that it may live for the praise of your glory, filled with joy and peace as we trust in the Spirit’s guidance.  Lord, graciously hear us.

O 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. 

Closing prayer:    Let us rejoice always in the Lord, standing firm in Jesus Christ and of one mind in him.  And may God’s peace that passes all understanding guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit guide us into all that is honourable, just and pure. Amen

Kate Wilkinson, an evangelist, wrote this hymn in 1925 – hear it at

   May the mind of Christ my saviour live in me from day to day,
   by his love and power controlling all I do or say.

   May the word of God dwell richly in my heart  from hour to hour;
   so that all may see I triumph only through his power.

   May the peace of God my Father rule my life in everything,
   that I may be calm to comfort sick and sorrowing.

   May the love of Jesus fill me as the waters fill the sea,
   him exalting, self forgetting, this the victory!

   May I run the race before me, strong and brave to face the foe,
   looking only unto Jesus as I onward go.

Sunday Service for 6th September 2020


 
Sunday Service Pentecost 14  September 6th   2020

O how good it is when a family lives together in unity!  (Psalm 133:1)
 
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.       Amen.  Lord, have mercy.
 
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 and eternal God, make us grow in faith, hope and charity: and that we may be worthy of your promises, cause us to love what you command; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.  Amen

Reading:    Ezekiel 33:7-11
So you, mortal, I have made a sentinel for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked ones, you shall surely die’, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but their blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from their ways, and they do not turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but you will have saved your life.
Now you, mortal, say to the house of Israel, Thus you have said: ‘Our transgressions and our sins weigh upon us, and we waste away because of them; how then can we live?’ Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?

Gospel:  Matthew 18:15-20
Jesus spoke to his disciples:  ‘If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax-collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.’

Reflection:  
The current crisis has made us acutely aware of how we need to be responsible to and for one another.  We are more and more aware that what we do affects others – whether it’s wearing a face mask on an aeroplane or supporting local businesses that might go bankrupt. 
This can involve reminding others about their behaviour, or being ourselves reminded by others.
Today’s gospel is about authentic community, not just about rebuking another’s faults.  The Church has a huge opportunity to show what good community is like and how we can be lovingly responsible.  That is so important at a time like this, when it’s hard to socialise and keep relationships going, and when it is tempting to do just what we want.
Christians are bound by love, a love that is poured into us by Christ. Such love means that we can trust one another to want what is good for us.   Christians are also responsible – like a ‘sentinel’ (Ezekiel 33:7) and are prepared to accept limits to their freedom, just as Jesus, though Son of God, accepted the limits of human life.
But the real core and power of community as we know it as a Church is the fact that Christ is among us – in our homes as surely as at church.  He binds us into a body that is so much more than a club or a network.  The Church – the body of God’s people, the Body of Christ – is the living presence of God in the world, seeking to draw all into the new life and hope of God’s Kingdom, as we live out the love and respect that characterises true community.

Prayers
Let us pray for reconciliation and responsibility amongst the communities of the world, so that all peoples may flourish.
Almighty God, we hold before you the nations of the world, in so much need of healing.  As tensions rise in the United States, bring wisdom and justice.  As reconciliation seems to emerge in the Middle East, bring peace and justice to your Holy Land. 
Lord graciously hear us.
God of mercy, help us to learn from the pandemic.  Show us how we can build true community, accepting the ways we need to live now so that the welfare of all is ensured.  Help us to support those who fear for their jobs, their incomes and their future.
Lord graciously hear us.
Loving God, be present with children and young people as they struggle to catch up with what they have missed.  May they not be held back from all they can achieve by the actions of others.
Lord graciously hear us.
Guide your Church, Lord, as we navigate stormy waters, and keep us from all that would hinder your work in the world.  Nurture through your grace all the congregations in our communities.
Lord graciously hear us.
Bless our families and friends and help us to keep close and loving bonds with them.  May we be cleansed of any ill-feeling, forgive and ask forgiveness, and rejoice in all you have given us in our lives. We pray especially for …
Lord graciously hear us.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers which we offer in the power of the Spirit and in the name of your Son 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. 


Closing prayer:  May the God of peace make us perfect and holy,
and may we be kept safe and blameless, spirit, soul and body, for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God has called us and will not fail us. Amen   (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
 
_________________
 
George Herbert (d.1633) wrote this hymn about how our least actions count when we do them for the love of God.  What we do matters!
It is sung at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHXilLgfVEU
 
Teach me, my God and King,
in all things thee to see,
and what I do in anything
to do it as for thee.

A man that looks on glass,
on it may stay his eye;
or if he pleaseth, through it pass,
and then the heaven espy.

All may of thee partake;
nothing can be so mean,
which with this tincture, “for thy sake,”
will not grow bright and clean.

A servant with this clause
makes drudgery divine:
who sweeps a room, as for thy laws,
makes that and the action fine.

This is the famous stone
that turneth all to gold;
for that which God doth touch and own
cannot for less be told.

Sunday service for 23rd August 2020 – Pentecost 13

With thanks to Revd Canon Alison Peden – our Interim Pastor

Pentecost 12  August 23rd  2020

‘Look to the rock from which you were hewn,
              and the quarry from which you were dug’  (
Is.51:1)

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.       Amen.  Lord, have mercy.

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, we are taught by your word that all our doings without love are worth nothing. Send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love, the true bond of peace and of all virtue; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

Reading:    Isaiah 51:1-6
Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness, you that seek the Lord.
Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, but I blessed him and made him many. For the Lord will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her

waste places, and will make her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.
Listen to me, my people, and give heed to me, my nation; for a teaching will go out from me, and my justice for a light to the peoples.
I will bring near my deliverance swiftly, my salvation has gone out
and my arms will rule the peoples; the coastlands wait for me, and for my arm they hope.  Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and those who live on it will die like gnats;
but my salvation will be for ever, and my deliverance will never be ended.

Gospel:  Matthew 16:13-20
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Reflection:   When Jesus re-named Simon, son of Jonah as ‘Peter’, the rock, he identified him as the prototype of a disciple.  We might think this strange, given Peter’s faults and mistakes, but Jesus knew that he would become a leader in the Church, and a faithful apostle.

Andrew McLellan, a former Moderator of the Church of Scotland, gave a memorable sermon on Peter and rocks, whose insights I am going to use unashamedly, because they really make you think.  He talked about three different kinds of rock.

The first is ‘igneous’ rock, which is formed by heat at the earth’s centre and solidifies into very hard rock, such as granite.  Peter’s hot temper and passion were problematic – as when he cut of the High Priest’s servant’s ear in the Garden of Gethsemane – but his steely determination and courage came to the fore after Pentecost when he had to confront the authorities in Jerusalem and preach boldly.

The second kind is ‘sedimentary’ rock, consolidated from layers and chips of older material, producing rocks like sandstone.  Peter drew on the Scriptures that he had absorbed over the years to convince those around him that Jesus was indeed the Messiah that they awaited.  He was made from rock with a past.

But our nature and our experience can be challenged and changed by what happens to us and by those we meet.  Rock that undergoes great heat and pressure forms the third kind – ‘metamorphic rock’, such as marble.  Peter’s passion and deep-rootedness were transformed into a service of God that was self-giving, healing and Christ-like.

Marble is versatile, low-maintenance, enduring and beautiful.  This is the kind of disciple that God transforms us into, through the gentle pressure of the Spirit in our lives.

Prayers
God our Father, be present in the world as we struggle to cope with the pressures laid upon us.  Give wisdom to governments looking for ways to deal with public health, unemployment and political instability, and help them to find lasting solutions.
Lord in your mercy,  hear our prayer.

Merciful God, surround with your peace all who are anxious and depressed at this time, especially young people fearful for their future and those who face loneliness, worry and disability.
Lord in your mercy,  hear our prayer.

Lord of all creation, keep us mindful of the lessons we learned in lockdown, so that we take thought for the environment and do all we can to steward it well and faithfully.
Lord in your mercy,  hear our prayer.

Holy God,  you built your church on the rock of faith and commitment, Jesus Christ being the true cornerstone:  open our hearts to being transformed into the disciples you want and need, so that your love and forgiveness may be known to all.
Lord in your mercy,  hear our prayer.

We pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the power of the Spirit.  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. 

Closing prayer: 
Almighty God, in Christ you make all things new.  Transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your heavenly glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord.    Amen

We may wonder how the Church will emerge from the pressures being placed upon us at this time, so this hymn is a good way to affirm that God is leading the Church, his Body here on earth, through every age.

You can find it sung at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44RNKCp-hCY

Thy hand, O God, has guided thy flock, from age to age;
their wondrous tale is written, full clear, on every page;
thy people owned thy goodness, and we their deeds record;
and both of this bear witness; one Church, one Faith, one Lord.

Thy heralds brought glad tidings to greatest as to least;
they bade men rise, and hasten to share the King’s great  feast;
and this was all their teaching, in every deed and word,
to all alike proclaiming one Church, one Faith, one Lord.

Thy mercy will not fail us, nor leave thy work undone;
with thy right hand to help us, thy victory shall be won;
and then, by all creation, thy name shall be adored,
and this shall be their anthem: one Church, one Faith, one Lord.

Sunday 30th August – Open Service at St Mary’s at 11.15 am

Opening Up St Mary’s for Sunday Services

Good News !

Our first service at St Mary’s will be at 11.15 am on Sunday 30th August 2020


We are very grateful to Bill Rootes, who has agreed to take this service for us.  He will be at St Andrew’s before taking our service and is travelling down to both Churches from some distance away.  He is taking a lot of trouble to help us.  So a big thank you to him

I attach below some notes which I hope wil let you know what to expect. 

Things will be a bit different and strange until we get use to new routines. 

I do hope that you all feel it safe to come.  We have all the precautions and protocols in place and approved by the Diocese.

After the 30th August, we can review what we need in terms of service frequency.  But Bill is happy to take a service for us at both Churches each Sunday, should we wish that.

Best wishes to all

Mark Seymour
Secretary to st Mary’s Vestry

Tel  01786 870710


 
St Mary’s – Covid19
Notes for the Congregation
 
We have consent to open the Church for Private Prayer and for Sunday Services,  But you will find that things will be significantly different to what you are used to.  We have to keep physically distant from each other; we cannot sing ; so no sung hymns (we might be able to hum to a couple with organ accompaniment); you will need to wear a face covering, and much else.

If you attend St Mary’s for Private prayer or for a Sunday Service, you will be asked To wear a face covering at all times inside the Church To Complete a Contact Tracing form – in which you confirm that you and your household are free from Covid-19 Symptoms, and consent to have your details passed to NHS Scotland if necessary To Maintain a 2 meter Physical Distance from all others both inside and outside the Church To Sanitise your hands on entering and on exit To adhere to the one way system.  Entrance via the Porch.  Exit via the Vestry Not to touch or use any Hymn Book, Bible or any of the other books or leaflets To Use the one time service sheet provided Not to touch the pew ends as you go up or down the aisle, if possible Not to touch the Altar rail during Communion, if possible To inform the Secretary should you or any of your household develop Covid-19 Symptoms  within 5 days after the service To use the passing places, so as to avoid close contact with others You will be asked, by an Usher,  to go up to the Altar (for those wanting to receive the Eucharist) one by one.  You will stand and be offered a wafer by the celebrant, but no wine.
 
 
Notes
 
Please take care to adhere to the correct physical distancing from others as you arrive and leave, including in the access road and car park
There will be no collection during the service.  Please use the Collection plate as you leave.
There will be a disposable one time service sheet each week
The WC in the Vestry will be out of use – except in an emergency. Take precautions before coming if you can please