Category Archives: Event

SUNDAY THOUGHT 09.08.2020

“And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.” [Matthew ch 28 v20]

We journeyed down today from Kirriemuir to Condorrat on what turned out to be a marvellous day. The sunshine behind us, so, no glare and managing to see all the way. No Lorries so the A9 was at its best and even got through Perth without too much hassle. It was the sunshine and the scenery and having the time to come down which made it so special and the wonder of Creation just shouted out the Glory of God.

Strange thing too when we did get down it was as if we had never been away. The Manse looked as if I had left it yesterday and it took no time to get organised and get the kettle on. What was marvellous was the welcome I received, a card, phone call from friends, a lovely wee tub of Violas. All a lovely surprise and I had forgotten that people would be glad to see us both.

It was strange coming back because I was so worried that everything would be so strange and I thought that I would find it hard to settle. Instead it was like putting on a familiar and very comfortable cardigan and soon I was back to my life here with no problems.

I think that for many there is that hesitancy regarding going out and about. A worry that what we knew would never be the same again, a worry about going out to places where there are so many people around. We worry about the Church because to start with the services will not be the same until restrictions lift. However, we step out in faith, find our way as we go ahead and putting our faith in the Loving God who cares for us.

This time will not last for ever, the restrictions will not last for ever, and we will make the best of worshipping together as we can and it will be a joy to come together. Yes we may be hesitant and not sure how we will feel, worried that things will be so strange that they will never be the same again. Though I do believe it may be similar to the feelings that I had about coming back to the Manse, and we may experience the same relief to find there are similarities in the Church with all the memories it holds which will be a comfort to each one of us. 

Throughout the two thousand years of Christianity the followers of Jesus have faced the most trying and difficult of times and have persevered through persecution and being scattered to the ends of the earth. What has kept each generation going especially those under attack of some kind is the promise of Jesus found in the last few verses of the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus promised that He would be with His people wherever they journeyed to and in whatever circumstance they found themselves in.

My wee journey down the A9 today was in no way a major event, but, the Lord was with us especially when someone pulled out right in front of me on the A9 and through the Grace of God and my quick reactions we avoided an accident. All journeys are journeys of faith, where we put all out faith in the vehicle we are in and the other drivers on the road. A prayer before leaving certainly helped me because it helps to calm the mind and be prepared for way ahead. Therefore, for all our journeys whether short walks or long hauls we do well to remember who journeys with us and in whom we put our trust.

LET US PRAY

LOVING AND ALMIGHTY GOD,

Each one of us is on the journey of life, moving at a pace set by You where there is a time for everything under the sun.

Each one of us is loved by You and on our personal journey You walk beside us and support us in Your own way, not as we want but as we need.

Each one of us places our life in Your hands as we move on and we pray for the time when we can come together in Worship and find that Comfort and Peace which only You can give.

Our hearts long for You and that sense of Presence found when we gather together in Jesus name.

Journey today Lord with those in Beirut who are mourning the loss of so many and so much. We pray for those who have gone to help and for compassion on those afflicted.

Journey today Lord with those who have lost their jobs and way of life, we pray that new work can be found, that support is given when needed and that You give courage and strength to those in need.

Journey today Lord with those who are ill, in hospital or home, for those facing difficult treatment and for those who care for them in any way. Bless the healers of this world.

We thank You for Your loving care for us and we place ourselves in Your care and Keeping,

We ask in Jesus name,

AMEN

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SUNDAY THOUGHT 02/08/2020

“All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all”   [HY NO. 137]

I was sitting in the garden in the lovely sunshine with a cup of coffee by my side and in the peace of this place I was contemplating the beauty of nature and the wonder of God. My reverie was interrupted by a female blackbird who hopped down onto the grass and started to peck away at the slabs of the patio. I knew what she was after, the ants who lived between the slabs at that far end. They don’t bother me so I don’t bother them unless they shift all the sand between the slabs and then we have a running battle when I sweep it back.

Anyway, back to Mrs. Blackbird after irritating the ants she did a strange thing. She sat on the grass completely extended her wings, hunched down as flat as she could and ruffled her body feathers until they all stood up on end. The ants were by now moving among her feathers and squirting Formic Acid all over which gets rid of the parasites etc but does not seem to bother the bird. She lay there for some time not in the least bothered that I was sitting about 10 feet away from her.

We sat in silence, she seemed to be enjoying the moment as much as I could judge, and I sat enjoying the spectacle of a bird completely at ease and using the defence mechanism of the ants to her own advantage. Then the moment passed, with a shimmy and a shake she divested herself of the ants, stood up and the feathers were back in place, she was up and ready for action, with a hop into the bushes onto the fence and away.

You might say how wonderful is creation, or you may think how clever are the birds who use such tactics to help themselves. I think how fortunate I was to witness this and find that moment of peace with a bird in a garden it was like a wee blessing being transported to another place. 

Sometimes we need that time to be in the “other place” even just for a short while. That space in our lives where something attracts our attention and it has nothing to do with the ordinary chores of everyday life, but we are caught up with the wonder and the glory of God which bursts into our daily lives.

It also reminded me that even the smallest perhaps even most annoying of creatures have their place in the world. To be honest I could sometimes say to myself what is the point of ants, yet they have a purpose we don’t think about or fully understand. Just like our relationship with the people around us in everyday life. There are many we get along with really well and enjoy the company of. There are others who can turn out to be the “thorn in our side”. Always complaining, always with the negative attitude, just always taking the opposite point of view just for the sake of it. Yet, God made everyone in His image and loves all that He made, everyone has a purpose in this life, even though we do not recognise it or want to recognise it. 

The person who asks the difficult question when we have a brilliant plan is like the ant squirting formic acid over the enterprise. Maybe though the question should be asked and fearlessly, so that disaster can be avoided. If we do have someone who is a “thorn in our side” then that maybe that is someone who is in need of prayer and help. No matter how much we rail against them. I have found by experience that the best way to deal with someone who has really hurt or upset me is to hand it all over to God and ask Him to take away the antagonism I feel and the hurt. God is good and sends His Healing to all situations if you but ask with all sincerity and faith

It reminds us also that If God is concerned for the least of His creatures then how much more is He concerned over you. We take heart from that thought as we journey through life meeting the lovely and the unlovely knowing that we can place everything into the Caring Hands of God who never fails us.

LET US PRAY

ALMIGHTY GOD,

The Good Father of us all, the mighty Creator of all things, 

We marvel at the wonder of nature and the wonder of Your Grace,

We give thanks for the glimpses of “otherness” we experience in our lives,

The small blessings which make us catch our breath or stops us in our tracks.

We worship and adore you with all of our hearts, and dare to come before You in Prayer.

Jesus having paved the way for us to approach so boldly and we thank You for Him.

We pray for those who find life difficult, who are plagued with awkward situations and awkward people.

We pray for those who are the “thorn in our sides” and ask for a sense of understanding and patience.

We pray for out nation emerging out and about and for safety for all.

We pray for the leaders that they might make decisions which benefit the whole nation.

We ask a blessing now on our family and friends and all whom we know are in need of prayer.

Might Sovereign God we thank You for Your Loving Care and for the Deep Peace which is found only in You.

We ask in Jesus name.

AMEN

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SUNDAY THOUGHT 26.07.2020

“24 “So then, anyone who hears these words of mine and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain poured down, the rivers flooded over, and the wind blew hard against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on rock. “ [Matthew ch7 v24]

Jesus was teaching the crowd once more, talking about having faith and following His Teaching, listening to what He said and carrying it out in everyday life. In the teaching before this illustration Jesus teaches about not judging others, asking God for what they needed, and added the famous phrase “Do for others what you want them to do for you”.  Have a read of the whole chapter it is a mandate for living the Christian Life and brings us closer to the Lord in our dealings with everything and everyone we come across.

The image He described was not entirely unusual in that part of the world in these days and in some cases even today. The rains were not so frequent and torrential rain was rare, which meant that the wide river beds dried up and for years looked a safe place to build, even though they were sandy. Disaster was inevitable when the heavy storm struck and the building simply washed away in the torrent. 

So, He says life can be like that, things happen and if they [and us] did not have that firm foundation in our lives, the Christian Faith and our relationship with God through Jesus our Saviour, then we can find ourselves overwhelmed in times of trouble. I have found that my faith has got me through this time of crisis which has come over us all like a torrent sweeping away all that we thought that we had. Some of these we felt that we could not do without but in the time of lock-down and beyond we are finding just what is important.

I would like to take the image Jesus had supplied us with and look more closely at what we built our lives upon. What part of our lives or what things we had built on rock and what was built on sand. What has been washed away and what has been the rock in our lives. The “stuff” we thought we needed was no longer relevant, while the basics of living such as food, medicines, communications, our Christian faith, were all brought into focus as the “rocks” of our lives. 

We have found so much was disposable, goods in the shops when we potter about, holidays, short trips, plans for the future. What stayed, a new appreciation of the local shops, a better understanding of our neighbourhood and getting to know our neighbours. People have found kindness and caring and a concern for others while many have lost the cynicism and stand-offishness which seemed to have crept in to our society over the years.

We have found also a bed-rock of faith which has withstood the storm of the Pandemic, where Christian values have come to the fore. Where we have prayed so hard for deliverance and safety for our nearest and dearest so sincerely and with a depth maybe not felt before.  We have discovered how deep our love for the church is and just how much we have missed worshipping together.

Take a side step away from the Image Jesus described to look at your faith and what have you found important in the time of isolation. Look at what has been swept away and what has remained. The church building has closed but the Church, the Worshipping Community has remained intact, helping out, keeping in contact, praying for others. No less of a church, no less of Followers of Jesus, no less of a praying community. When we do come back it will be with such a great heart and the church shall have such a flourishing as we give to God the Glory for all that He has done for us. Our God who is our refuge and our strength an ever-present help in all kinds of trouble. May God Bless you as you think of Him and all that He has done for you and may you build your faith upon the Rock that is Jesus.

LET US PRAY

MERCIFUL GOD,

You have prepared for those who love You such good things as pass our understanding,

Pour into our hearts such love towards You, that we, loving You in all things and above all things,

May obtain Your promises which exceeds all that we can hope for.

You are the Rock upon which we build our faith, You are the Strength which holds us 

When the storm comes and threatens all that we have.

We thank You for the constancy of your love for us and the awe – inspiring care You have for us.

We pray for those who need support right now, those who mourn, those who are ill for whatever reason, those awaiting pain saving operations. Walk with them and grant them Your Peace.

We pray for our nation and for the days ahead so that when we move out and about that common sense prevails as we face an altered way of life.

We thank You for all that you have given us in the past, in the present and what will be in the future.

We ask in Jesus name.

AMEN

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SUNDAY THOUGHT 19.07.2020

“ But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers ………..” [LUKE ch10 v 29 – 30]

Jesus answered a question with a story, sometimes He answered with another question and sometimes with an obtuse reflection. All had the same effect, it stopped people in their tracks and made them think on a much deeper level and in so many different ways than before. Even pushing them to examine the unthinkable. This was the case with this story [or Parable] about the Good Samaritan. The question from the Lawyer was “who is my neighbour”? The answer was – the last person on earth you could imagine.

The story itself sounds simple and it is a well-rounded story which many have taken on board throughout the ages, for example, The Samaritans who help complete strangers. As with all Parables it stretches the imagination and our understanding of the world around us. Read again Luke ch10 verses 25-37 and revisit what was actually said. “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho”, this is highly unlikely in real life as this road was famous as “Bandit Country”. However, let’s go along with it, he Is attacked and stripped of all he had which would have shown that he was a decent man going about his business.

Three people came along at intervals, someone very important, someone important and someone despised and rejected by the Jews. The first a Priest was most likely on his way to take part in his duties in the Temple, he could not risk being contaminated with an injured person. He made a quick decision that this man was not worth saving and he moved on the other side. Likewise, the second person the Levite also had duties in the Temple and would not like to miss the opportunity to serve, so, he moved on. 

Now before we get to the third let us sit with the listeners who are completely intrigued so far, the mighty and powerful are convicted by their actions. No-one could wait for the third person to be named, one of them perhaps, a hard-working man where the virtues of the common man are extolled. No-one could have seen it coming and the gasp of disbelief when Jesus named the Samaritan would have rippled round the crowd. A Samaritan, an age-old enemy of the Jews, a feud existed between the nations which had lasted for centuries since the return of the Remnant from Babylon. No-one would have expected or accepted help from such a person, it was scandalous to even think of it. 

Let us look more closely at the help that was given, it was way above and beyond what was expected of any stranger. Long term support, thoughtful care, unconditional care for the one in need which was generous and not asking for anything in return. Very much the Christian attitude to “loving our neihbour”, to give because Jesus taught us to give openly.

This Parable taught so much in such a short time, it upended the common assumption that people made from exterior appearances, it pointed out to them their prejudices, it showed the depth of compassion one person had for someone in need. The Samaritan as described by Jesus reflected the Loving Care of God towards all people whether general opinion thinks that they deserve it or not. Everyone has the opportunity to be rescued by God who does not sit in isolation but cares for everyone and is ever-present to came alongside anyone at any time.

Sometimes people find God when they are at their lowest ebb, in the ditch figuratively speaking. Some may have rejected God in the past or dismissed Him as irrelevant to their lives, some don’t think they need God in their lives. But there comes a time when there is nowhere else to turn and no-one else big enough to take on the problems and afflictions. Then life is turned around and folks find the strength and courage to live life in all its fullness, their wounds are healed, the wounds of the soul soothed and calmed by the Lord. Unconditional Love in action, remember, prayers are answered, not always in the way we hoped for or when, but they are answered. If there is someone you worry about, it is never too late for the Lord to come alongside, it is never too late to pray for them.

Jesus answered a question with a story, challenging people to think differently, showing compassion in action, reminding us not to make assumptions but to reach out to the marginalised when and where we can. I invite you to read the Parable again and find out what it says to you today. May God Bless you as you consider His Holy Word.

LET US PRAY

LOVING FATHER,

As You watch us in our daily lives, ready to walk alongside with deep unconditional compassion, we thank You that You care for us so deeply and are prepared to go to any lengths to support us.

As we think of your Love for us we are in awe of your majesty and might yet You care for each one.

We praise you and Thank You for all you have done for us and are still doing for us in our everyday lives.

We pray for those who are in need of help today, especially those who are on the edge of society and who find life so very difficult, may they find their way to you as You seek them out.

We pray for those coping with this Pandemic and having to struggle with work and finding enough to keep the family fed and secure. May they find solace in the help of family and friends. 

We pray for those who are ill in hospital or home and all those who look after them, the professionals and home carers.

We pray for our nation as restrictions are lifted and a return to getting around to shops and businesses may the expected wave of the return of the virus be minimised as we take care wherever we are and for whoever we meet.

Loving God hold us close as we plan the weeks and months ahead, give us patience to wait for the right time to meet up, give us courage to be all we can be in the world today.

We ask in Jesus name,

AMEN

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SUNDAY THOUGHT 12.07.2020

“but those who hope in the Lordwill renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” [Isaiah ch40 v 31] 

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, or, we might say that those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. Waiting is not easy neither is putting all of your Hope in the Lord either. It takes patience and understanding and a lot of faith and trust. 

I am not good at waiting, I like to get things done right away, to be in control, to sort out whatever needs done now or sooner if possible. At the moment I am in the garden waiting for word to pick up my son from Perth Royal Infirmary and I have to tell you that it is not an easy exercise for me. I want to be there now and to get organised and have things to do. It is a time of excitement and anticipation and anxiety as I pace about here. 

What I need is what we all need at this time is; patience, understanding, a calm outlook and acceptance of the situation. Remembering that God is in control and that everything happens in His time and not in my timing. What does this do for me? Well, it stops my mind racing ahead and imagining all sorts of problems that do not exist, it prevents the time from ticking over so very slowly. I have the time to write to you, dear reader, if you did not mind that.

Patience is something that we have all had to take on board this time of the Pandemic so far and it will be needed before we come out of it. Patience is something we learn and build up in our lives, we had become an “instant age” in our dealings with the world. Communication faster than we could have imagined a few years ago with links to every part of the world. It is great but it means too much information at times and can often produce anxiety listening to or reading about something we are helpless to do anything about. The communication industry as an entirety has been effective and helpful in many ways and we are grateful for that. 

It is our reaction to that ability which has caused many people in general to live at a fast pace. Then we had to slow down and we had to wait, not something we were used to. Now we have a cautious return to something moving towards normality yet we still have to wait. Wait for more freedom and less restrictions. So patience, understanding and an acceptance of God’s Timing as to when we can gather as a congregation in church, a time of “Waiting on the Lord”. 

Look at Isiah’s words again, those who put their hope on the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles. How wonderful a vision is that, having the patience to put our hope and trust in the Lord, to receive His Strength and to soar in heavenly praise when we are allowed to sing together. When we do meet in the meantime we shall have the joy of a gathered worshipping community giving thanks and praise in words and in praying together.

May the Lord grant us patience as we prepare our churches through the lengthy process of re-opening. May He grant us understanding as we wait for the advice from Church of Scotland and Presbytery, may we place our faith and trust in Him as we accept His timing and His care for us. Then we might our souls soar as eagles wings, praising to the heavenly heights.

LET US PRAY

Loving God,

Father of us all who cares for us with unconditional love, we thank and praise You for Your constant care.

We wait with anticipation for that day when our praise shall rise to You as if on eagles wings to join with the angels song. “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty”.

We wait with patience and understanding yet full of expectation and excitement at the thought of gathering together in Your Holy name to worship.

We bring before you our churches and ask a blessing on all those who are working so hard to open the church once more and for those who will help in the future.

We pray for a flourishing of Your church here in our neighbourhood, that those who have solace may find the courage to join in worship in the sanctuary.

We pray for the sick, the lonely, the anxious, the dying. We ask a blessing on those who care for them and on all the health care staff who work so hard.

We pray for the Key Workers and give thanks for their contribution to society and hope that this is never forgotten or that anyone is ever taken for granted again.

We thank You Lord for Your Strength and Constant, Unconditional Love for us, lift us up Lord that might find our strength in You. Hold us close that we might find Your Peace in our hearts.

We ask in Jesus name 

AMEN

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SUNDAY THOUGHT 05.07.2020

 “Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.” [Luke ch10 v 4]

Jesus sent out His Disciples out on a mission to preach to the neighbouring towns and villages, to spread the Good News, to heal the sick and to tell of the “Kingdom of God”. They were not, however, to take anything with them but to depend on the people they met for shelter, food and drink. I am sure that the Disciples must have wondered just how this was going to work out. No money, no extras, none of the things that they usually kept with them for travelling. They had to” Let Go” of all the trappings of their daily lives and go in trust alone.

It would have been hard to, “Let Go” of all that was dear to them which would leave them feeling vulnerable travelling so light and then having to depend on strangers to help them. It is sometimes easier to give than to receive as in giving you have a power to give and to whom. Accepting from someone else is different as it strikes against the sense of independence and renders humility in the receiver. Yet Jesus sent them out this way so that they were not to be concerned about what they wore or the care of possessions but caring for the message and getting alongside the people they would preach to. 

As we move now to focus on our situation over the past few weeks, we have had to “Let Go” of all that we have held as important in our lives. The social interaction of family and friends, the easy wander around the shops, going out, never mind the work situation for many. The new way of living in social distancing, so aware of washing hands and wearing masks, so used to virtual meetings. As for the church we have had to “Let Go” our way of worship, the familiar coming together, the singing, the listening and praying as a worshipping community. 

When we do come back together, we shall still have to “Let Go” of what we considered as normal in our services. Social distancing, hand gels at the door, face masks and no singing and in Condorrat most likely we will meet in the Hall, Camelon will manage to meet in the Sanctuary. In both cases things will be different and all the small rituals we have built up through the years, the way of doing things will change for the meantime. We have to “Let Go” of having tea and a chat and some of the interaction that goes on before and after a service, no handshakes or hugs. That will be the hardest for me, I will have to tie my hands behind my back.

It sounds hard and a bit harsh doesn’t it but we are not alone in this time of change and we will manage to make the best of the time together. Worship will be so meaningful, stripped back it will have simplicity and will still have such meaning as we come together and gain that sense of being in the presence of God. Of being part of something much larger than we are, of being part of the family of God.

 “Letting Go” does not mean that we are diminished but it means that we will grow stronger as we work together to maintain church services on Sunday and our outreach in every way we can. It means that we can pray most fervently for the future of the church in our different areas and pray for a flourishing of the church in Scotland. Jesus sent out His Disciples to completely new places in completely new situations with very little resources with their faith in Him to sustain them. They returned to Him with Joy because they were so successful which in turn caused joy in His heart. 

May we take all the opportunities we have as a congregation to not be afraid to “Let Go” of some things which “have aye been” and embrace the skills and new ways we have developed throughout this time. The Lord Jesus has been with us all through the Lock Down ad will be with us all through the next phase and the time after that. Encouraging, lifting us up when we are low, holding us close when we are in despair, rejoicing when we rejoice. May He live in your heart at this time of transition and may you find peace in His words and in His care for you. 

LET US PRAY

LOVING GOD,

We thank You for Jesus and His wise words and actions, for the lessons we learn through the scriptures.

We thank You that we do not have to go anywhere in life alone, that you are always with us and that you have sent us Jesus to be our guide.

We thank You that we have the companionship of the Holy Spirit at all times to encourage us in our faith journey.

Help us to Let Go without fear of the future, help us to discern what to keep and what to discard.

We pray for the world today, for the leaders who have such responsibility on their shoulders, give them strength and discernment.

We pray for those who are ill especially those suffering with COVID 19 we ask a blessing on the health care workers, carers and home carers grant them Your peace.

We pray for those who mourn, wrap Your loving arms around those who find this time so unreal and grant them Your comfort.

We ask these things in the name of Jesus our Saviour and Lord.

AMEN

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SUNDAY THOUGHT 28.06.2020

you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house[a] to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”   [1 Peter ch2 v5]

Never before has this phrase of Peter’s had such significance and truth. The church portrayed not as a building but as the body of believers, a Worshipping Community. Scattered maybe for a time but ready to be formed in worship when we can come together. As “Living Stones”, we ensure that though the church building is closed – the church is definitely not.

In fact, it has never been so open and wide-spread as it has in these days of Pandemic. Each one of you reading this and those connected with the church in any way are the, “Living Stones”. We carry out our Faith in practice with neighbourly concern and support. Holding on to our faith and trust through all the different aspects of the COVID 19 Lockdown. Fearful and frustrated at first, then, living a life which feels like a month of Sundays, each day leading into the next with no real sense of time, realising how much we had taken for granted. Moving into the concerns about what life will be like when we do come together. Looking forward with no clear idea of what means. Zoomed out and needing a break from technology.

We have all been through so much together in these shared experiences and have so much to talk about when we do get out and about. What has remained constant during all this is the constant Strength and Love of God sustaining and supporting us in different ways which are both comforting and reassuring. The miracle of the Television unequivocally providing church services on Sunday morning and the many services on the web allowing people to worship whenever they want and to tap into God not just on a Sunday.

We will come out of this stronger in our faith, having had the time to reflect on our relationship with God which for many will have become stronger. As “Living Stones” we have shown what faith is and does for people. As “Living Stones” we have the opportunity to take time to pray for those around us and situations in our own area. Time to come close to God and to see Him at work in the everyday Blessings.

As Living Stones we are built on the one foundation Jesus Christ our Lord who is the source of all our hopes and happiness. He has brought us close to God and always points to God so that we may fully understand His Power and through Jesus we are made receivers of His Spiritual Blessings.

So take heart all you “Living Stones” out there, you have a Living God who loves you and cares for you, gathering His Living Stones into a community with loving care. Physically we are apart but spiritually we are bonded together. We shall get through this time and we shall gather again and be the Living Church ready to look outwards and forwards with God’s help in whom we put our trust.

LET US PRAY

Loving and Almighty God,

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.”

You remain the constant in our lives and we thank and praise You,

You are the Loving Guide to our feet and Lamp to our path,

For this we thank and praise you.

We may be scattered stones but as living stones we form the church,

For your help in this, we praise and thank you.

For all the good things we have taken for granted, we praise and thank you

Lord we pray for those in distress through illness or in mourning

Comfort them with Your Healing Love

We pray for our neighbourhood and all those we know are in need of prayer

Strengthen them with Your Courage to face the changes ahead.

We pray for the church in our area, may there be such a flourishing,

Lead us in that forward motion so that all may know of Your Glory.

We ask in Jesus name 

AMEN

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SUNDAY THOUGHT 21.06.2020

Anna and Simeon

When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required,28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, [Luke ch2 v27-28]

There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” [Luke ch2 v36-38]

The very first time Jesus was brought to the temple He was met by two of the oldest and faithful members of the Temple community. People who prayed every day, who loved the Lord and who walked humbly in His ways. Simeon was promised by God that he would see the Messiah before he passed from this earth and this prophecy was brought to light on that particular day. 

There had been nothing special about that day, they were going about their business as usual when the Living God broke into their lives. They both recognised the baby for whom He was and both placed a Blessing on Him. God has a care for all people of all ages and when Jesus grew up and started His ministry He spoke to and dealt with people from all ages. From the children He used as an example of unconditional trust, to the healing and teaching of all ages, women and men.

Throughout the church there is always the same care and attention to all age-groups, from all areas of life, with no bias against anyone. The Church of Scotland have produced a document which helps us work out how we open the church and when and it will be according to the Government Guidelines as well as the Church of Scotland decision. The church has not banned the over 70’s to come to worship, they have made it clear that the church has to be ready with all the facilities needed for safe Worship. The decision to attend is up to the people in that group, and as this applies to me, I will be there for a start and I hope many others will have the confidence to attend.

Confidence means going in faith and trust, a word derived from the Latin “con” means “with” and fidence is from the root “fidelis” meaning faithful or loyal. With Jesus at the centre of our lives we go forward in confidence, trusting Him as surely as those who met Him trusted Him. Anna and Simeon approached the young family in the Temple knowing that they were prompted by God to do so and in the simple act of acknowledgement and blessing they saw the wonder of the Messiah. A beautiful baby with all the promise and hope and wonder that a baby can engender in any heart.

The people whom Jesus met approached Him with their troubles and cares, a hunger for healing, a need to be calmed and made whole, a desperate desire to know more about God and to hear His teaching. No one was turned away and Jesus was upset if anyone tried to prevent people trying to get to Him, for example, the hated tax collector Zacchaeus, the blind man at the gates of Jericho. He does not turn anyone away He never has and He never will. 

Sometimes I think that being older or having gray hair somehow makes me feel invisible, dismissed as part of the furniture. Yet nothing can be further from the truth I know that with age there is experience, there is understanding, there is a sense of Hope. Maybe some people feel that they have done their bit and have nothing else to give. Yet that is so wrong, we can all pray with all our hearts for the church and its flourishing as the future unfolds before us. 

This is not confined to the older generation everyone needs to pray for the church and its flourishing. I have concentrated on the older generation but this message Is for everyone of every age, Jesus is Lord of us all. He is the centre of all things and the one to whom we place our trust and our faith. He will lead us through this time, He will lead us through the days to come in the future, He will bring the church to realise all the potential it has for Worship and Mission which go hand in hand.

All those who met Jesus and were changed by Him were full of joy and praise may we at this still uncertain time walk with the Lord and be filled with joy and be full of praise.

LET US PRAY

LOVING AND ALMIGHTY GOD,

In these uncertain times and in these changing times where Hope beams in the shape of an easing of restrictions we give thanks for the diligent sacrifice of the nation in helping to reduce the effects of the Virus. We give thanks for those who have worked so hard to keep the nation provided for in so many different ways.

Just as the sunshine heralds the summer and that lifting of the heart to see the colours of nature, in the same way we sense that the time will come when we can come together to worship in our sanctuaries. The opportunity to Worship You in the beauty of Holiness is something that we hunger for in every way possible.

We pray this day for all the churches in our land as they start to make preparations for a return to Worship and some sort of normality. We pray for all those leaders of churches who have to make decisions and have to be realistic in the face of difficult times. We pray for all the worshipping communities who will come together, may they enter Your Doors with confidence.

We pray for all those who are in need of prayer, our families, friends and neighbours. Those distressed by the isolation and finding it difficult to come back into the community. We pray for the sick, those in hospital and at home, and give thanks for all staff in hospitals and the carers at home. We ask a blessing on all those who mourn, may You grant them Your Peace.

We ask in Jesus name. AMEN

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SUNDAY THOUGHT 14.06.20

SUNDAY THOUGHT [8]

NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION

I painted my “solar cabin” which is really a potting shed but you can imagine no potting is done in it, instead there are chairs and two small tables [to put my cup of coffee on] and plenty of space for books and the laptop. It is in effect my “writing cabin” and I have written most of my weekly thoughts and magazine articles from here. 

Anyway, back to the point, I painted the outside of the cabin and if you have done something similar you will understand the feeling when you start out with good intentions and find out quite quickly that it was not as much fun as I thought. I had all the equipment, paste brush and a narrow brush for the windows, an old stick to stir the paint, the paint in a big tub [enough to finish the Forth Bridge] and plenty of cardboard [ I have loads of that, who hasn’t in this time of on-line shopping]. The plan was that the cardboard would stop the drips on the patio which worked 75% of the time and a good flat piece to work as a window guard which worked 99% of the time. 

Everything went pretty well, until I found that I could only reach about 80% of the way up the window frames and nowhere near the top fascia boards. I am hopeless on ladders and manage the first rung but no further and leaning against the large panes of glass did not seem a great idea. Time to think again and search my memory banks. Years ago, when my late mother and myself painted the ceiling we had the same problem neither of us were good at ladders so we used long handled paint brushes. You could not buy such things then or now but you can improvise; a broom shaft, the paint brush and strong tape [carpet tape was all I had] and it worked fine, problem solved.

Just one, well two wee problems the “paint brush” got a bit out of control and I managed to dab two splodges of paint on the upper part of two windows. Too high to clean off they are still there and not too noticeable if you look at the cabin from a distance. From the inside one splodge look like a rather ephemeral picture of a Wren and the other is just like a very angry penguin!! 

I have tried to make the best of difficult situations and kept persevering until the job was done and I always try to see the best in every situation and that is part of the Christian attitude is it not? Trying to see the best in every thing and every one, trying to make the best out of difficult situations, persevering when all seems a bit too difficult, always in the strength of the Lord. 

Paul wrote this to the Roman Christians:-

“because we know that suffering produces perseverance;perseverance, character; and character, hope.And hope does not put us to shame.” [Romans ch5 v 3 – 5]

They were quite frankly under persecution and they braved daily life as followers of Jesus. Paul was talking to them about the need to be positive in their Faith even in such dangerous circumstances.  Yet they persevered and gained strength and added converts to their community and grew and flourished, and from the small early church the Christian faith was eventually spread throughout the world. 

People could see the faith which held people together, which sustained them in the most terrible times. People could see the different way of life, a life lived with kindness and a care for others at the core, where forgiveness and compassion for all people was paramount. Not just for their own Christian group of believers but for everyone around them, whether they were helpful or a hindrance or openly persecuted the young church.

It is no less a lesson for us as a church, to persevere in faith, to hold that vision of a flourishing church, to be positive at all times. When we get back together again, there will be difficulties and problems to solve, there will be people to support and help in our community who have suffered during the “Lock Down” and who will need help in getting out and about again. Maybe as a church we will host “Getting out and about afternoons” where people start getting used to being with others and start talking again. New ways of serving will certainly be part of the church’s role in the future. So we Persevere in the Faith, striving forward to serve Jesus in this community, overcoming difficulties and always going in the Strength of God. AMEN

LET US PRAY

ALMIGHTY AND EVERLASTING GOD,

Grant us perseverance in our Faith journey, aid us when our footsteps falter and be with us while we come through this time of Pandemic to the bright new tomorrow. You have Plans for each one of us, for the Church in our area, for the Christian Faith nationally and internationally. We place ourselves in Your care and keeping, resting ourselves in Your Love.

The difficulties we face seem overwhelming at times, and we can be tempted to Despair but lift us up O Lord help us to see the path ahead and the wonder of Your Glory. 

We remember in our prayers now, those who are suffering in mind, spirit or body through worry or isolation or anxieties. We think of those desperate to see and hug loved ones, who are desperate to get out and about more, who need hospital treatment and those who are grieving this day. We place each one in Your Loving Care.

We ask in the strong name of Jesus our Saviour and Lord,

AMEN 

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