Call to Prayer 24th October 2021

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Today, there are many voices crying out to be heard. The voices are of those who suffer and who are broken, and of those who are isolated and alone. These voices are intermingled with many others that cry out, whether for good or ill, and seek to be heard. Truly, there are many voices crying out to be heard.

The Gospel of Mark records an occasion when Jesus heard a particular voice crying out to be heard. The voice was that of Bartimaeus who was determined to be heard even in the face of the crowd.

The voice of Bartimaeus was raised in spite of the rebuke of those who told him to be quiet. As he is told to be quiet, he shouts all the more: “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus hears his voice and calls him into His presence: “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus hears his voice and responds to the depth of his need: “Go… your faith has healed you.” (Mark 10: 46-52)

From the depths of the crowd, Jesus hears our cry and wills to answer and to bring healing.

We pray:

Lord, hear us,
Graciously hear us,
As we turn to You and cry for mercy:
Hear our voice today,
Even from the depths of the crowd,
And answer our cry.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, hear us,
Graciously hear us,
As we turn to You and cry for mercy:
Hear the voice of those who suffer,
Even in their brokenness,
And answer their cry.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, hear us,
Graciously hear us,
As we turn to You and cry for mercy:
Hear the voice of the lonely,
Even from their place of isolation,
And draw them into the community of Your people.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, hear us,
Graciously hear us,
As we turn to You and cry for mercy:
Hear our voice today,
Even as You heard the cry of Bartimaeus,
And inspire in us faith and bring to us healing.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
  • Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
  • Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Rev. Dr David Miller, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Neil MacMillan, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Thomas R. Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Ruth Turner, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
  • Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
  • Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)

Call to Prayer 17th October 2021

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The faith we share affirms that it was ‘for us’ that Jesus Christ ‘became truly human’. So, in faith, when we turn to God and pray through Jesus Christ, we do so knowing that the One who brings us into the presence of God has shared fully in the life we live.

The life we live today is shaped by particular circumstances that weigh upon us collectively and personally. In the midst of life, we find opportunity and challenge, and we seek to discern the hand of God throughout it all. In the midst of life, we recall that Jesus has shared in our flesh and participated in the life of the world.

The Letter to the Hebrews records: ‘In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears’. (Hebrews 5: 7) In so recording, the Letter affirms that the One who brings us into the presence of God has shared fully in the depths of human experience.

There is no place in our experience at which God cannot meet us. As we cry out to God, the One who hears us is the One who has heard the cries of Jesus Christ.

We pray:

God and Father
Of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Hear the prayer we offer
In the name of the One who prays for us
And who has shared in the life of the world.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God and Father
Of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Hear the prayer we offer
From the depths of our experience
And in the midst of the challenges of our day.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God and Father
Of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Hear the prayer we offer
In the name of the One who prayed to You with cries and tears
And hear us when we do so also.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God and Father
Of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Hear the prayer we offer
As we share in the life of the world
And in the depths of its suffering.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God and Father
Of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Hear the prayer we offer
In the name of the One who for us and for our salvation
Has become truly human and one with us.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
  • Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
  • Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Rev. Dr David Miller, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Neil MacMillan, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Thomas R. Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Ruth Turner, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
  • Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
  • Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)

Call to Prayer 10th October 2021

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Where do we find grace to help us in our time of need?

The Letter to the Hebrews does not quite frame the question in that way. However, the Letter answers the question and points us to ‘Jesus, the Son of God’ as the One who acts on our behalf and who will bring us into the gracious presence of God.

Our time of need is now, and the needs of the world are plenty. In such a time as this, we turn to the great high priest who has faced and endured all that we face and endure. We do so knowing that the One who has endured all will enable us to ‘approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need’.

In the words of the hymn writer:

‘Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea,
A great High Priest, whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.’

We pray:

Living God,
Have mercy on us
And grant to us grace in time of need;
For we are those who struggle
And know our weaknesses all too well.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Have mercy on us
And grant to us grace in time of need;
For we know the struggles of the world
And the pain that so many bear.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Have mercy on us
And grant to us grace in time of need;
For You know us and You love us
And You reach out to us in the place where we are.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Have mercy on us
And grant to us grace in time of need;
For You call us to love our neighbour
And to bear one another’s burdens on the way.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Have mercy on us
And grant to us grace in time of need;
For we make bold to approach the throne of grace
And do so in the assurance that You will hear our cry.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
  • Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
  • Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Rev. Dr David Miller, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Neil MacMillan, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Thomas R. Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Ruth Turner, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
  • Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
  • Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)

Call to Prayer 26th September 2021

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‘May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.’ (Psalm 19: 14)

The Psalmist turns to God, as we ourselves do, in search of the One who will accept us as we are and who will be our strength in hard times. The times in which we live will feel to many of us like hard times. In these times, the Psalm speaks to us and for us.

We are conscious that the words we offer are but frail and we sometimes fear that they will not carry to God. Likewise, we fear that our hearts are faint. In these times, the Psalmist stands where we stand and calls upon the Lord as the One who is our rock and strength, and as the One who will bring us into the living presence of God. The words are offered from open lips and an open heart and rise into the presence of God. The words are offered trusting that they will be pleasing before God. In similar fashion, we offer our words from open lips and open hearts and we trust, that in these times, they will be heard by the One who is our Rock and Redeemer.

We pray:

O Lord,
You are our Rock and our Redeemer,
Hear us as we call to you
With open lips and open hearts.
Hear us and accept us we are.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

O Lord,
You are our Rock and our Redeemer,
Hear us as we call to you
In the times in which we live.
Hear us in hard times and answer us in your time.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

O Lord,
You are our Rock and our Redeemer,
Hear us as we call to you
With the words that you have given to us.
Hear us with words hewn from the experience of life.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

O Lord,
You are our Rock and our Redeemer,
Hear us as we call to you
Though our words are often frail and our hearts sometimes faint.
Hear our words and accept the offering of our hearts.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

O Lord,
You are our Rock and our Redeemer,
Hear us as we call to you
And may the words we offer and the meditation of our hearts
Be acceptable in your sight.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
  • Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
  • Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Rev. Dr David Miller, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Neil MacMillan, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Thomas R. Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Ruth Turner, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
  • Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
  • Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)

Call to Prayer 19 September 2021

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‘Now, do you all understand what I have been saying?’ We might just recall these words, or similar, when in school, whether recently or a very long time ago.

The teacher has led the class through a lesson and then turned to ask if everyone has understood. No one wants to admit that they did not follow the lesson and that they do not understand.

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus begins to teach His disciples about His forthcoming betrayal, death and resurrection. None of the disciples wishes to admit that they do not understand. Their response is one that we can identify with.

Instead, the disciples turn to discussing something else: Who is the greatest among them? Jesus hears their discussion and, in response, declares: ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.’

Further, Jesus invites a child to stand amongst them and declares that whoever ‘welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me’. (Mark 9: 30-37)

The response of the disciples is not recorded in the Gospel. Our response is to seek to follow the lesson in order that we might more fully understand the way of the Cross.

We pray:

Living God,
Whose way we discern
Through the Cross and the Resurrection of Your Son,
We hear the call to take up the Cross
And to live in the light of the Resurrection.
Grant us faith to do so
And courage to confess when we do not understand.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Whose way we discern
Through the Cross and the Resurrection of Your Son,
We recognise that we turn too easily
To that which distracts and displaces.
Renew our focus that we might fix our eyes
On the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Whose way we discern
Through the Cross and the Resurrection of Your Son,
We hear the call to become servants,
As Christ Himself became on our behalf.
May we learn the lesson of servanthood
From the One who gave His life as a ransom for many.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Whose way we discern
Through the Cross and the Resurrection of Your Son,
We recognise the children in our midst
Whose lives are a gift from Your Hand.
May we receive them within the community of faith
And so receive Christ in our midst.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
  • Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
  • Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Rev. Dr David Miller, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Neil MacMillan, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Thomas R. Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Ruth Turner, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
  • Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
  • Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)

Call to Prayer 12 September 2021

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Questions about identity are very much to the fore in our day and age. The asking of a question is, of course, very much easier than providing an answer and the result is that we have many more questions than we have agreed answers.

At a pivotal moment in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus asks a question which might be said to be about identity: ‘Who do people say I am?’

In response, the disciples harvest the many opinions that are in circulation: ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’ There are many opinions, but no agreed answer.

Jesus then asks the question directly to the disciples: ‘But what about you?…Who do you say I am?’ In response, Peter replies: ‘You are the Christ.’ Amidst all the opinions of the day, Peter provides an answer to the question of the identity of Jesus and he affirms that he is the Christ.

In the midst of the many questions of our day, we affirm this answer for ourselves and resolve to follow in the way of the Cross. (Mark 8: 27-38)

We pray:

God our Father,
You anoint Your Son
And send Him forth into the world.
We receive the gift of Your Son
As Your gift to Creation and to all peoples
And respond with gratitude and thanksgiving.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God our Father,
You anoint Your Son
And send Him forth into the world.
As we receive Your Son,
May we hear the questions He asks of us
And be willing to respond in faith and trust.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God our Father,
You anoint Your Son
And send Him forth into the world.
As we share the gift of Your Son,
May we listen to the voices of those beside us
That we might understand more fully the breadth of Your Creation.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God our Father,
You anoint Your Son
And send Him forth into the world.
As we listen to the many questions that are asked in our world
May we respond with grace and in truth,
And with shared silence to the questions that are hard to bear.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God our Father,
You anoint Your Son
And send Him forth into the world.
As we hear Your Son speak to us
May we humbly confess
That He is the Christ, the anointed One of God.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
  • Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
  • Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Rev. Dr David Miller, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Neil MacMillan, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Thomas R. Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Ruth Turner, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
  • Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
  • Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)

Call to Prayer 29 August 2021

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It is sometimes said of a person: ‘They can talk the talk, but can they walk the walk?’

When we hear it said, we know exactly what it means: Can that person translate their words into action? It is a question that could easily be asked on any number of occasions as we hear statements made by others. However, the challenge we face as those who are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ is to ask the question of ourselves, rather than of others: Can we walk the walk?

The Letter of James sums this up when it urges us to ‘be doers of the word, and not merely hearers’. (James 1: 22)

The translation into action of the word we hear proclaimed in the name of the living Word; the Lord Jesus Christ, is the challenge we face on a daily basis. We are all too conscious of the occasions when we have failed to translate our words into action. Equally, we are conscious of the One who embodies what is to ‘walk the walk’.

As we walk with the living Word, we will better live out the call to ‘walk the walk’.

We pray:

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Your living Word has come amongst us
And embodies what it is to walk in the light of Your presence:
Grant to us a renewed sense of the presence of Your living Word.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Your living Word comes to us full of grace and truth
And speaks to us even in the shadows and the dark places:
Grant to us that we may hear the word spoken to us today.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Your living Word comes to offer forgiveness to those who stumble
And who fall short of the glory of God:
Grant to us forgiveness and the opportunity to begin again.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Your living Word is for us the way, the truth and the life
And the One who calls us to be followers of the Way:
Grant to us that may walk the walk to which we are called in our daily lives.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
  • Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
  • Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Rev. Dr David Miller, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Neil MacMillan, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Thomas R. Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Ruth Turner, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
  • Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
  • Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)

Call to Prayer 22 August 2021

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To whom do we turn to find the answers to the many difficult questions that now confront us? The questions of the day are many and there are seldom easy answers to be found. In part, the challenge we face is how to live with the difficult questions whilst continuing to seek honest answers.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus is recorded as having been asked difficult questions to which He then gave honest answers. The consequence of these answers is that some of those who had previously followed Him began to turn back. In turn, Jesus asks His twelve closest disciples if they also wish ‘to go away’. With characteristic boldness, Peter answers: “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life?” (John 6: 68) In following Jesus, we soon discover that many of the difficult questions still remain.

In continuing to follow Jesus, we recognise by faith that He is the One through whom God reconciles the difficult questions and continues to offer to us the gift of life.

We pray:

Living God,
Who reconciles all things through Christ,
We come to You
With the questions of the day.
We come that we might find One who will listen
And who will embrace our concerns.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Who reconciles all things through Christ,
We come to You
To seek answers to the questions of life
And we come in the company of others.
Grant that we may hear You speak amidst the clamour of the day.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Who reconciles all things through Christ,
We come to You
With the hard questions
And those that defy our attempts to resolve.
Grant us grace to live with the hard questions at this time.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Who reconciles all things through Christ,
We come to You
For You have the words of eternal life.
Grant us grace to believe
And to know that You are the Holy One of God.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
  • Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
  • Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Rev. Dr David Miller, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Neil MacMillan, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Thomas R. Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Ruth Turner, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
  • Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
  • Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)

Call to Prayer 15th August 2021

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As we journey from where we have been in past months to where we will be in times to come, we are beginning to recover some of the parts of our shared life that had been lost to us for a time.

Within shared communal settings and within the community of God’s people, one of the things that we are recovering is the experience of song and the bonding that the shared experience of singing brings to us.

Within the community of God’s people, we are gradually beginning to recover the shared expression of worship through the singing of ‘psalms, hymns and spiritual songs’. (Ephesians 5: 20)

In recovering that which had been lost, we rediscover a dimension of our shared experience that is integral to our worship of God. As the Spirit inspires us, we renew our thanksgiving ‘to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’. As we do so, we share more fully in the life that God gifts to us through Christ and by the Spirit.

We pray:

God our Father,
As we journey from where we have been
To where we will be,
Fill us with Your Spirit
That we might truly worship You
And praise Your holy name.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God our Father,
As we journey from where we have been
To where we will be,
Inspire us within the community of God’s people
To lift up our hearts
And to renew our praise.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God our Father,
As we journey from where we have been
To where we will be,
Renew us as we renew our praise
With Psalms and hymns
And all the songs of God’s people.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God our Father,
As we journey from where we have been
To where we will be,
Help us to recover that which has been lost
And to rediscover all that unites us
As those who are made in Your image.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God our Father,
As we journey from where we have been
To where we will be,
We give thanks to You
For all your gifts to us
Through Christ and by Your Spirit.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
  • Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
  • Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Rev. Dr David Miller, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Neil MacMillan, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Thomas R. Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Ruth Turner, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
  • Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)

Musings from the Manse 8th August 2021

When my children were smaller, we would visit The Science Museum in London, a place that I too had visited as a child. I’m pretty sure I enjoyed these excursions every bit as much as they did. This museum offers a rich mixture of interactive exhibits for visitors to explore with their senses of touch, smell, hearing, sight, and even on occasion taste.

After being able to involve the senses in learning, visitors to the museum left with knowledge, memories, and joy. Learning was a delight, one punctuated by peals of laughter and giddy giggles, rapt expressions of awe and wonder, and smiles and nods of understanding. To see children’s (and adults’) minds so engaged in the learning process was worth every hour spent on the train.

Revisiting the same exhibits several times always felt fresh and new, thanks to the unique nature of shared experience and sensory encounter. I miss those days, but I have not left them behind entirely. I still ride carousels and play in fountains, gasp at fireworks and swing as high as I can go. I refuse to hang out on the side-lines of life when there is so much to taste, see, and experience.

The lessons this week make me wonder why we so often relegate faith to life’s side-lines, treating it like a visit to a stuffy antique store or art museum rather than a multi-sensory life experience.

How often do we come to communion, receive the bread, and taste Jesus with childlike wonder? Do you smell the wine as well as taste it? Do you find yourself drawn to image and light and pattern? What would you think if I invited you to dip both hands in the baptismal font and splash your face to remember your baptism?  Do you mouth the words of the hymns for fear of sounding off-key, or do you sing with the gusto and abandon of a five-year-old?

This week’s lessons really struck me as visual, auditory, tactile, and participatory. Elijah eats and drinks to gain amazing strength for his journey. The psalmist tells us to taste and see that God is good. In the epistle to the believers at Ephesus, Paul urges them to be imitators of God–childlike and loving–practicing the marks of discipleship as modelled by Christ himself. In John’s gospel we learn that Jesus is the bread of life, and when we consume the bread and wine at communion, we share in Christ’s gift of grace that will continue into eternity.

This is heady stuff, not stuffy facts. We are part of something truly amazing, a carousel ride that is out of this world, an interactive fountain of baptismal grace, and a hope that will not cease. Discipleship should be fun as well as challenging. We have good news to tell and share that is wilder, woollier, and more wonderful than any museum experience. Yep, it’s the real deal for real life for all eternity. It doesn’t get much cooler than that. This Sunday–and every day of the week–let us taste and see that God is good.

Rev Nik Wooller

8th Aug 2021