Monthly Archives: June 2021

Trinity Sunday 30th May

The Linkage 

                        The Scottish Episcopal Church

St Mary’s Aberfoyle,

St Andrew’s Callander

The Reverend Canon Dr Alison Peden – Interim Pastor

01877 330448

Trinity Sunday  30th May 2021

Let us worship the Triune God.

Let us worship the One who spoke in the beginning

and brought the world into being.

Let us worship the Triune God.

Let us worship the One who came to dwell among us

to set us free.

Let us worship the Triune God.

Let us worship the One whose Spirit rests continually upon us,

calling us to new beginnings.

This hymn draws on the awe that Isaiah felt – see the first reading.  It is sung at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntdcY8q7a9E

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity.

Holy, holy, holy! All saints adore thee,
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
though the sinful human eye thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
perfect in power, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity.

Collect:   Father, we praise you: through your Word and Holy Spirit you created all things.  You reveal your salvation in all the world by sending to us Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.  Through your Holy Spirit you give us a share in your life and love.  Fill us with the vision of your glory, that we may always serve and praise you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen

Reading:   Isaiah 6:1-8
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.’
The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’
Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: ‘Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.’ Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’

Gospel:  John 3:1-17
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
‘Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. ‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Reflection:  
It is said that when the great St Augustine was walking on the beach, he saw a little boy who had dug a little hole in the sand.
He trotted off to the sea and brought back a cup of water to put into the hole. What are you doing?  said St Augustine Trying to pour the ocean into this little hole, said the boy. You’ll never manage that, said Augustine, the ocean is too great, and the hole is too small. That’s like God, said the boy, he’s too big to fit into our minds.

Augustine wrote a lot about the Trinity, as have many other theologians – often with ‘deadly confidence’.  But Augustine wrote as a pastor: his views grew out of the attempts he and his flock made to pray, worship and love the God they followed.  

I find it helpful to think of the Trinity as three paths to approach the mysterious God who is beyond our sight and understanding.  Sometimes, I need to seek the One who holds us firm in the midst of change and trouble, the One who will not let us go nor let us grow into anything less than the fullness of life.

At other times I am drawn towards the Child born for us, the Son given to us, who takes the government and cares and sin of this world onto his own shoulders.  His purity, openness, honesty, wondrous love, tenacious humility and undaunted joy call me back time and time again. 

And from time to time I sense a Voice calling on the way: a prompt, an alert, a song, or maybe a chuckle.  I don’t usually recognise the Voice until afterwards, when I realise that it’s the Spirit of truth that we’ve been reading about in John’s gospel.

At least – that’s how it seems to me today.  Like all who try to draw close to God, my understanding of ‘Trinity’ is a work in progress that will never be anything like completed this side of eternity …

Prayers of intercession:   (adapted from Sacredise)
When powers struggle for dominance, and war, oppression and abuse result; when groups of people oppose one another
because of ideology, religion or culture: we need a God who is bigger than ourselves, and our personal interests.
So we pray for the troubled parts of the world, especially for Israel and Gaza, and Belarus.  God of the nations, bring peace and freedom to those who are frightened and oppressed.

When people are disregarded and devalued because of poverty, geography or disease; when compassion and justice is withheld to some because of sexuality, race or gender: we need a Saviour who is more compassionate than we are who includes even those we would exclude.
So we pray for those whom we tend to forget:  loving Christ, comfort with your presence those with little healthcare or vaccines;  those in prisons, care homes, or sub-standard housing;  those who will be neglected or abused this day.

When resources are mismanaged and abused, and the world and its creatures are destroyed; when motivation is scarce and creativity is in short supply to address the challenges that we face; we need a Spirit who is more powerful and more creative
than we could ever be.
So we pray for those whose inspiration can renew the world:  Spirit of truth, guide the scientists and engineers who seek solutions to our problems, and fill artists, writers and all creative souls with the power to change our hearts.

Lord God, loving Saviour, empowering Spirit, we offer you these prayers because we need you so desperately. Captivate us, call us and fill us, that we may be carriers of your eternal life
to this world that you love so dearly. Amen.

We affirm our faith in the words of the Apostles’ Creed:
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.   Amen.

Closing prayer:  God the Holy Trinity make us strong in faith and love, defend us on every side, and guide us in truth and peace; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us and remain with us always.  Amen

Here is a verse from the glorious ‘St Patrick’s Breastplate’:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yH4ToVxtn9A&t=1sI bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.

The Linkage Pentecost 2 6th June 2021

The Linkage 

                        The Scottish Episcopal Church

St Mary’s Aberfoyle,

St Andrew’s Callander

The Reverend Canon Dr Alison Peden – Interim Pastor

01877 330448

Pentecost 2   6th June 2021

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

Based on Psalm 138:
We come to give thanks to you, O Lord, 
with all our heart.
We will sing your praises before all creation, 
and rejoice in Your steadfast love.
You have created us O Lord, and made us for yourself, 
In you we become everything You have made us to be.

Collect:  O God, you have assured the human family of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Deliver us from the death of sin and raise us to new life in him, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Reading:  Genesis. 3:8-15
They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ He said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’ The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.’ Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent tricked me, and I ate.’ The Lord God said to the serpent,  ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.’

Prayer of confession based on Genesis 3
Our God, you created the world and called it good.

You created man and woman in your image and called them very good. But we have been deceived by half-truths and false promises.

We have tasted temptation and it is bitter in our mouths.

We thought our desire for forbidden fruit would bring us wisdom,

but it brought us only the curse of pain and death.

Redeem us in your love. Take away our sin.

Restore our relationship with you, our God.

1 Corinthians 15 tells us:  For since death came through a man, 

the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. Thanks be to God

who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!   Amen!

Gospel   Mark 3:20-35
The crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, ‘He has gone out of his mind.’ And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.’ 
And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.
‘Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin’— for they had said, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’
Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, ‘Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.’ And he replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’

Reflection:  
John Bunyan in Pilgrim’s Progress describes a man slumped in an Iron cage, sighing in despair.  It turns out that the man had given into temptations and thought that he had forfeited God’s promises and mercy; all that remained for him was judgement and punishment. ‘Nor can all the men in the world let me out.  O Eternity!  How shall I grapple with the misery that I must meet in Eternity?’ he says.

Whilst it is a lot less common now to find those who worry about the fate of their eternal soul, people do find themselves locked into mental prisons, caused by ‘inner demons’ such as anger, guilt or a sense of futility.  

Jesus came to challenge the destructive power of demons and restore people to physical and spiritual health. The demons had shouted ‘You are the Son of God!’ just before today’s episode, and so it was unsurprising that the authorities challenged his authority, claiming that he used demonic power to cast out demons.

Jesus responded by saying that calling ‘demonic’ what is good (healing, forgiveness, new life) amounts to blasphemy against the Spirit, which cannot be forgiven.  It’s a very hard saying and has troubled many a tender conscience.

If we lock ourselves up in an iron cage and refuse to see things clearly, then it is indeed hard for God to reach us in love and forgiveness. If we take a position that is hard a steel – about ourselves, or other people, or the world – then it’s going to be difficult to perceive the work of the Spirit blowing through and around us.

As we enter this post-Pentecost season of growing in faith, of building God’s kingdom here on earth in the power of the Spirit, let us commit ourselves to being open and free and confident in the power of Christ to transform evil into the splendour of light. And let us try with God gently to prise open the cages that lock people in.  

Prayers of intercession:
Holy God, guide your people and to inspire us with the desire to put aside our differences as we seek to serve you. Help us to reach out to all who feel despair, especially those who feel unworthy or too sinful to enjoy life. Give us through your grace opportunities to befriend them and assure them of your love.
Lord in your Mercy: Hear our prayer

C
reator God, may those who lead us and the other nations of the world will always try to solve issues in a just and caring way, and deal with the world’s problems with forethought and common-sense. We hold before you the governments in Westminster and Holyrood.
Lord in your Mercy: Hear our prayer

Loving God, help us to be gentle with our families and friends. Give us, we pray, the calm that makes for consideration and the respect for others that makes us courteous. Take from us hard words and the cynical look. Let us be to others as we would wish them to be to us.
Lord in your Mercy: Hear our prayer

Gracious God, we pray for all who cry out to you today, those who long for the morning, those who are waiting for the long night to end. We pray that our ears will be attentive to their cry, that we will stand with them, steadfast together in your love, bringing life before death. 
Lord in your Mercy: Hear our prayer

Merciful God, your love reaches beyond the grave and so we bring before you those whose earthly life is now at an end. Receive their souls into your kingdom, we pray, that redeemed by grace they may rest in peace and rise in glory.
Lord in your Mercy: Hear our prayer

Bless Bishop Ian and the congregations of this diocese, that we may proclaim by our lives as well as our words the joy of your kingdom and the hope of its fulfilment. And
 wherever nature’s beauty or the daily wonders around help us to see your hand at work we thank you for the grace to live and enjoy it to the full.
Merciful Father: Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen

 Closing Prayer:  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ rest upon us and and inspire us;  the love of God, creator and giver of life, embrace us and challenge us; and the presence of the Holy Spirit encourage and surprise us, this day and all our days.   Amen

This hymn of God’s providence is sung at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBkorDtz1nU

Through all the changing scenes of life, in trouble and in joy,
the praises of my God shall still my heart and tongue employ.

O magnify the Lord with me, with me exalt his Name;
when in distress to him I called, he to my rescue came.
The hosts of God encamp around the dwellings of the just;
deliverance he affords to all who on his succour trust.

Fear him, ye saints, and you will then have nothing else to fear;
make you his service your delight; your wants shall be his care.