Call to Prayer Sunday 23rd August 2020

CALL TO PRAYER: SUNDAY 23rd August 2020 Prayer @ 7pm Print version

How well do we respond to a challenge? The answer we give will, no doubt, depend on many different factors. Whatever our answer, we know that our response is strengthened when it is made in the company of others.

Our response to the challenge of living out our calling as a member of the body of Christ is one that depends, in principle, on our response being a shared one. Living out our calling, in response to the mercy of God, lies at the heart of what it is to worship. Within the body of Christ, we have shared gifts and a shared identity. (Romans 12: 1-8) At the same time, living out that calling in these strange and challenging times is by no means easy. We do so in the assurance that we are not alone and acknowledging our continuing dependence on the mercy of God. We pray:

Living God, whose name is mercy,
We acknowledge that we live in dependence on your mercy.
Hold us, and all whom you call,
In your gentle keeping.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God, through whom we receive mercy,
We respond to your gracious gift
And offer our lives into your service and the service of others.
Accept us as we are and embrace us in your love.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God, as the one who inspires mercy,
Make us ever merciful to others.
As we respond to the challenge of these times,
May we live out our calling ever conscious of the body of Christ.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God, who wills to be merciful to all,
Renew our calling to worship you.
In the place where we are, whether in shared company or in our own company,
Receive our worship through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God, whose name is mercy,
May your name be known throughout the world.
As those who have received mercy,
May your name be known in the place where we are.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Rt. Rev. Dr Martin Fair, 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. John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Dr David Pickering, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. May-Kane Logan, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Jim Ritchie, 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 Sunday 17th August 2020

Prayer @ 7pm Print version
Occasionally, when we purchase something, we change our mind and we return our purchase. However, over these last months that regular feature of the shopping experience has become somewhat more challenging. If this is so, the result might be that we stay with the decision we have made and choose not to change our mind.

The apostle Paul writes that ‘the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable’. (Romans 11: 29) God has made a choice and that choice is to call the people of God into being and to make a covenant with them. Having made that choice, the mind of God does not change. God remains faithful to the covenant and to the covenant promise renewed through Jesus Christ. Knowing this to be so, we turn with confidence to the faithful God.

We pray:

Faithful God,
You have called us to be the people of God.
We thank you that your calling remains and abides.
Make us faithful to your calling at this present time.

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Faithful God,
You are the God who makes a covenant with your people.
We thank you that you remember us even when we forget you.
Remember us today and all who journey in hard places.

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Faithful God,
Your gifts to us are many and without number.
We thank you for the gift of life
And the gift renewed through Jesus Christ.

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Faithful God,
You are merciful and gracious and you abound in steadfast love.
When all around us seems to shift and uncertainty prevails,
We search for you and discover again that you are ever present.

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Faithful God,
You are the God who breaks down the dividing wall
And makes us one in Christ Jesus.
Grant to us the strength to overcome division and renew our common life.

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Rt. Rev. Dr Martin Fair, 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. John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Dr David Pickering, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. May-Kane Logan, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Jim Ritchie, 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 Sunday 9th August 2020

CALL TO PRAYER: SUNDAY 9th August 2020 Prayer @ 7pm Print version

Have you ever been afraid? Even as we ask the question, we know the answer. Have you been especially afraid at any point in these recent months? Once more, to ask is to know. Collectively and as a society, have we experienced in recent decades anything comparable to the fear and anxiety that has gripped us during the Covid 19 pandemic? Fear and anxiety paralyse us and, as we now see, fear and anxiety can at times paralyse a society and leave it profoundly uncertain.

The Gospel of Matthew records that early one morning the disciples of Jesus were afraid. They had spent the night in a boat on the water and had been ‘battered by the waves’ and now they find themselves terrified and unable to recognise the presence of Jesus. Jesus speaks to them and says ‘do not be afraid’. In response, the disciple Peter steps out of the boat and walks towards Jesus. However, as he does so, fear begins to overtake him once more and he cries out: ‘Lord, save me!’ In response, Jesus reaches out his hand and brings him to the place of safety. (Matthew 14: 22-33)

Today, to the fearful and to the anxious, Jesus reaches out his hand.

Lord, you are our Creator and our Maker.
We are fashioned in your image
And all that we are is known to you.
Hear us as we cry out and respond to us in our time of need. Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Lord, your Word has become flesh and lived among us
Full of grace and truth.
As the living Word comes, we respond with open hearts
And ask that you will meet us in the place where we are today. Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Lord, you see all that takes place around us
And nothing is hidden from your sight.
You see waves that batter us and the storm that seems unceasing. Come to us in response to the depth of our need. Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Lord, your presence is revealed in the life of your Son. He knows us as we are and even now he prays for us. May he hear us when we are anxious
And respond when we are afraid. Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Lord, you inspire in us faith
And yet we confess that our faith is weak.
Hear us when we cry: “Lord, save me!”
And in response reach out your hand to all who cry to you today. Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Rt. Rev. Dr Martin Fair, 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. John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  •  Rev. Dr David Pickering, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  •  Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  •  Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  •  Rev. May-Kane Logan, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  •  Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  •  Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  •  Rev. Jim Ritchie, 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 2nd August 2020

Scottish Church Leaders Forum – Call to prayer for Sunday 2nd August 2020 Print version

The present times continue to be ones in which uncertainty casts a shadow over the future. Our onward journey appears to be one that will not be straightforward or necessarily clear. Indeed, we might find ourselves having to take a step back before we go forward again.

There are occasions in the Gospel when we see that Jesus has to take a step back and go ‘to a deserted place by himself’. On such occasions, we know that Jesus prayed and sought the renewed presence of God. He does so in order that he might continue the ministry that God has given to him.

In the Gospel of Matthew and following such an occasion, we see the compassion of God made known to us through Jesus. In response to the need of those who come to him, Jesus feeds them with good gifts. (14: 13-21) At this present time, may we know the compassionate presence of God revealed to us as we make our onward journey.

We pray:

God of all compassion,
Be with us at this present time.
As you have been with us in times past,
Continue with us in the times that are to come.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose compassion knows no bounds,
Meet us when we come to the end of our own strength.
Lead us to the place of renewal,
That we might know your presence and find ourselves renewed.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose compassion is embodied in the presence of Jesus,
May we know that presence revealed.
In the presence of your Son,
Grant that we may know that he is there for us and for all who hunger today.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose compassion responds to human need,
May we bear witness to the response of Jesus to the hungry and the weak.
Grant that in our witness,
We might respond to the needs of those around us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of all compassion,
Encompass our world in your unceasing love.
May your compassion flow to the ends of the earth
And embrace the suffering of this world.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signatories:

  • Rev. Dr Martin Fair, 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
  • John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Dr David Pickering, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • May-Kane Logan, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Jim Ritchie, 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)

 

Musings from the Manse 26th July 2020

Print version

Thank you to all of you who replied to my email asking for your opinion on re-opening our churches, I have collated all the information and Keith has summarised the replies from the preachers, who were all asked if they would be happy to start taking services again. The next step is for the Circuit Leadership Team to meet and decide the way forward. This is scheduled for Thursday next week.  Although many of us are keen for worship to resume as soon as possible, our main concern must always be the safety and wellbeing of all concerned.

We are between two places as a Church family, and this links very neatly with Jacob’s story in Genesis. Jacob, who was Abrahams Grandson was leaving home! He was between Beer-sheba and Haran. Think about Jacob’s journey a minute, it was approximately 400 miles long and for most of it, he is between two places, alone and with very little.

The way we are at the moment in society, puts us in a similar place to Jacob. Pre Covid19 and Post Covid19, between two places one familiar that we miss, partly because we are not quite sure what the new way will be. We are between the place we have known and lived and a place that is still developing and still has a lot of uncertainties. As a Church family we are also in an uncertain place, when do we open, how will that happen, what will it look like? If only it was as simple as just unlocking the doors and going back to “normal”!

Uncertainty can be a worrying time for some, and others find it an exciting place to be, the only thing I know for sure right now is that God knows us each one of us and knows what is right for us. The CLT must be mindful of everyone in the decisions made about the re-opening of the Church buildings, so pray for us, this week as we face these difficult decisions, because whatever we decide will probably be wrong for some people, some will feel we have made the wrong decision, some may feel hurt or scared and together as a family we must acknowledge that and not judge others for their opinions

 

In the Genesis story, Jacob has a dream that God is beside him and God tells Jacob, he will gift the land where he is to him and his descendants. God is giving inheritance for Jacob and his family. Jacob is in awe and is unsure, but he realises that God is Good! Jacob took the stone he had been resting on and set it as a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. Jacob had very little with him on his journey, and the oil would have been an expensive item, so pouring it on a stone would be a strong sign to God, that Jacob was thankful.

Being Abraham’s Grandson, didn’t get Jacob any automatic rights to be at one with God, like us, he had to discover that relationship for himself. We don’t inherit a relationship with God, but there are many things we inherit in life. Money, property, stocks and shares? All these are possibilities, then there are things we inherit from family, like hair colour, eye colour, temperament, and throughout our lives there are ties we each make with friends, and the things we learn or inherit from them. Some people we meet in life, we never forget, others we meet, we maybe would like to forget, but in my experience, we learn just as much from either group.

Take a moment and think about a few areas, that when combined, bring us to who we are today: our families; our friends; where we live; what we do; our relationship with God.

What we inherit from our Church family will be different from what we might inherit from our own family and a combination of all these things and more, is what gives us our personal identity. God knows each of us and is always present, but we might not always acknowledge that, as other influences sometimes distract us, and right now there seem to be a lot more distractions to deal with.

Psalm 139, is one of my favourites “O God, you search me, and you know me” It talks of God’s all-knowing and widespread presence. God is with us, always. However, there are times when we might coast along or get caught in the rush and haste of life and temporarily forget what our Christian Faith does for us. As mere mortals, our minds can only cope with so many things, particularly with what was “normal” if we could call it that, or what is the “new normal” going to be. Thoughts, I am sure occupying a lot of space in a lot of people’s minds. In lots of ways we are spending much more of our time unsure about the future.

Every one of us is experiencing lots of changes and our Church family it is no different. Change can be good, but also brings uncertainty. God has the power and ways to deal with things, in Psalm 139 verse 6 it says:

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.

and at verse – 17

17 O God, how difficult I find your thoughts;[b]how many of them there are!

We had no way of knowing that when the Church buildings closed in March, it would be months before we could consider re-opening, no way of imagining the pages and pages of measures we would have to put in place to be able to open again, safely whilst complying with all the new regulations.

Many of the uncertainties of today will change as time passes, the landscape is shifting from day to day, and we have no knowledge of what it will look like in a week, let alone over the next few months. In the reading from Genesis, it would be fair to say that Jacob was not sure of his faith, but God came to him and promised a future. Our future is unknown by us, but by trusting in God, nurturing our individual relationship with Him and working together as a Church family, we will find our way in this new unknown territory. I am sure that this is the way to come out of lockdown with a strong future of Faith and Love for Jesus, and new ways to share that with those around us.

I came across the following prayer written by William Barclay, which I think is relevant for us now:

O God, help me to live one day at a time,
not to be thinking of what might have been,
not to be worrying about what may be.

Help me to accept the fact
that I cannot undo the past
and I cannot foresee the future.

Help me to remember
that I will be never tried beyond what I can bear,
that your Father’s hand will never cause your child a needless tear,
that I can never drift beyond your love and care.

AMEN

William Barclay, 1907 – 1978

 

Rev Nik Wooller

24th July 2020

Call to Prayer 26th July 2020

Prayer @ 7pm  Print version

In a recent conversation, a minister suggested that ‘we Christians have no immunity from the struggles and suffering of a broken world.’

He’s right.

But this is also true; that God is with us, no matter what we’re facing. The God we worship is not an absentee landlord, a disinterested bystander. Indeed, Christian faith is built on the truth that the very opposite is true – that God is with us. Immanuel

By prayer and practice, the Church is called to give expression to this key aspect of our belief system. When the Church prays for the world and when the Church cares for the world, the Church makes clear that God is with us in the world.

That’s been true throughout the pandemic and remains true as we begin to plot our course forward, considering what ‘building back better’ might look like. May it be that we remain on our knees before God, the better to know and trust Him.

We pray:

Most High God, you are far above us and beyond our knowing. And yet in Jesus you came among us and you are here.

With glad and grateful hearts, we praise you.

Ever faithful God, when waves threaten to overwhelm us and when fire is burning all around us, still you are with us. There is no point at which you run for cover or leave us to manage on our own.

With glad and grateful hearts, we praise you.

Guiding God, you are a lamp for our feet, a light for our path. In uncertain times, with so much that is unknown and unknowable, go before us, we pray, that being attentive to your voice we might sense your leading.

With glad and grateful hearts, we praise you.

Eternal God, there is much that is transient in our experience; we ourselves flourish as flowers and then are gone. But You, Lord, are without beginning or end; the same yesterday, today and forever. Help us to keep our eyes fixed on you and to lay up for ourselves treasure in heaven which shall not be subject to decay or destruction.

With glad and grateful hearts, we praise you.

Loving God, in all things we marvel at your goodness and long only to see you more clearly and to know you more nearly. Put salt on our lips, then, that we might thirst for you more.

With glad and grateful hearts, we praise you.

In Christ’s name, AMEN.

Signed by:

  • Rev. Dr Martin Fair, 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
  • John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Dr David Pickering, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • May-Kane Logan, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Jim Ritchie, 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)

Musings from the Manse 19 July 2020

My musings this week have been about the parable of the Sower and the Seed. The problem with passages of scripture that we think we know well is that we don’t often take time with them and so, perhaps, miss out on some of the meaning. So why don’t you take time now to read the passage –Matthew Ch 13 verses 1-9; 18-23. Read it slowly, taking in all the details.

It is a story that starts off by describing a man going out to fulfil a common task in the Palestine of Jesus’ day. He was sowing seed in his field. He was probably using a method of sowing called ‘broadcasting’. This involved walking along, taking handfuls of seed and throwing them far and wide. Hardly the precision method of planting that is done mechanically these days!

When we think of broadcasting – and we have been doing that a lot recently, as we try to find ways of reaching out to others during lock-down – we probably think of radio, television, the internet or maybe other devices. We think of something that takes a message out to lots of different places, some of which might be hard to reach otherwise.

So this method of sowing had a similar purpose. It took the seeds into all sorts of places, not just the field from which the crop would, hopefully, be harvested. Perhaps there is a message for the church in this. Is the question being posed to us “are you too limited where you spread the seed – that is the Word of God?” Should you be casting it further?

Now, those of you who are ‘au fait’ with agricultural matters will probably point out that this is a bit of a wasteful way to sow seed. However, I think that God would be less interested in efficiency and more interested in sowing wastefully in the hope of getting His Word out to as many as possible.  If you are picturing the sower in a broad and fertile field as we may see in our country, you would have a wrong picture in your head. This sower would be in a narrow strip of land which would be bordered by rocky, weed infested soil. It was not an easy place to work in.

Jesus seems less interested in the method of sowing than he is in the result of where the seeds fall. We know the story: the seeds that fell on the path were eaten by the birds before they had time to take root; those that fell on rocky soil, grew quickly but had no root system so died when the sun scorched them; those that fell among weeds did take root but were choked by the weeds around them; those that fell on good soil, took root, grew and multiplied.

He then likens the seed to the Word of God and all the different fates that await it. How for some, it is snatched away before it can flourish; for others it does take root but is never strong enough to confront the troubles that come in life; for yet others they do receive the word but they allow the temptations of the world to become more important; but, for some, they receive the word, grow with it and multiply it in their lives.

For us, in the Church, I really think that this parable gives encouragement. Often we wonder if our attempts at spreading the Word of God are bearing any fruit. In this parable Jesus is assuring his followers that some of the Word will have an effect. That is good to know because we don’t always see the fruit of our work. Our job is to sow – we really do have to trust in God to bring about the harvest.  That sower in the parable sowed his seed, knowing that some of it would be wasted. However, he was confident that some of it would grow into a crop that could be harvested. We, too, need to sow the Word of God in confidence that some of our work will be rewarded with growth. It may not be immediate but you know, in nature, most growth takes a while to come to fruition. That should not stop us broadcasting God’s Word. We do so in the assurance that God will nurture the seed that we plant.

I like the way Nick Fawcett ends one of his Reflections on this passage:

 

But it gets harder, doesn’t it
when you meet with apathy, indifference, scorn
and harder still when the few who did show interest fall away,faith blossoming for a moment only to wither and die?
‘What’s the point?’ you wonder
‘Why waste your breath?’
‘Who wants to hear anyway?’
Yet isn’t that the point Jesus was making—
that though much of the seed will be wasted,
however carefully it is sown,
some will fall on good soil and in time yield a harvest?
He’s urging us to carry on, despite our apparent failure,
to continue sharing our faith and proclaiming the Word
>however hopeless it may seem,
however futile our efforts may appear,
trusting that, though we may not see it, results will come
We may not see them for ourselves,
we may never know what our witness has achieved
but that doesn’t matter.
>The important thing is that we do our bit,
>Faithfully discharge our responsibility
The rest we can leave to God!
Thanks be to God.

 

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, you have called us to be your witnesses,
to proclaim your name and make known your love.
We have tried to respond to your challenge but, to be honest, we find it hard.
When we speak of you, we are often met with indifference or even hostility and we feel disheartened.
Remind us, loving Saviour, that there are always those who do listen.
Those who let the Word take root
And although we may not always see it, the Word bears fruit in unexpected ways and places.
Help us, Lord not to trust in our own ability but in your life-giving power.
Help us, even in this time of lock-down, to take your Word out to others because it is surprising how it can bring comfort to many.
We take time now to pray for those who need to hear your Word at this time
Perhaps because they are anxious and need to feel reassured;
Or bereaved and in need of comfort;
Or lonely and need to feel part of our church and community;
Or worried about what the future might bring and need to feel that they are safe in Your caring love.
We give thanks for all who continue to work on the front-line at this time and ask that you refresh them in their struggles.
We give thanks for the politicians who are charged with making life-changing decisions and ask that You give them wisdom to guide them.
Lord, we pray that the world shuns all forms of racial and religious intolerance.
Bring the day to pass, Lord, when all life is valued and differences are celebrated and not a cause of warfare and murder.
Many are the tasks before us, Lord, and endless are the callings
Help us to respond and commit ourselves afresh to the sowing of your word
Let the gospel be a lamp to our feet
And a light to our path
Inspiring in us, words and deeds to glorify your name.
Amen

 

Rev Nik Wooller

16th July 2020

 

Call to Prayer 19th July 2020

Prayer @ 7pm

The past months have reminded us of the precious nature of human life and of our dependence, in part, on others for the sustaining of life. As we acknowledge this to be so, we recognise that ultimately the gift of life is a gift given by God. Our ultimate dependence is on the giver of this gift. In this, we are reminded of the fragile nature of life and of creation of God and of the need to care for all that is gifted to us.

In the midst of the life we share, God creates, through Christ and by the Spirit, a community in which we are affirmed as children of God. Within this community we are invited to name the living God, share in the inheritance of Christ and to receive the Spirit of God. (Romans 8: 12-25) As the children of God, who have received the gift of God, we pray:

We praise you, living God
And cry: ‘Abba’, Father!
For you are the One who creates life
And loves all that your hand has made.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We praise you, living Christ
And confess that Jesus is Lord!
For you are the crucified and risen One
Through whom we have peace with God.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We praise you, Spirit of the living God
And thank you that we are adopted as children of God.
For you are the One who shares in all our struggles
And inspires in us hope.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We praise you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
And worship and glorify your name.
We cry: ‘Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.’
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Rt. Rev. Dr Martin Fair, 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. John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Dr David Pickering, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. May-Kane Logan, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Jim Ritchie, 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 Sunday 12th July 2020

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Our human experience is shaped, in part, by our past and by our present situation. Our identity is shaped, in part, by all that we have inherited and by how we affirm and are affirmed in our present situation.

Over time, our experience and our identity are shaped by a multiplicity of influences. As the people of God, our experience and our identity are shaped by the community created by Jesus Christ and sustained and renewed by the Holy Spirit.

Within that community, where the Spirit of God dwells, we find that our experience and our identity are shaped, not only by past and present, but, by the future.

As we face the future, we hear the words of Scripture within the community of the people of God: ‘There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’ (Romans 8: 1 (NRSV).

Whatever the past has been and whatever the challenges of the present are, we are liberated to face the future with the assurance that nothing can separate us from the love of God.

We pray:

Living God, you are our Creator and our Maker.
You have made us in your image
And sustained us in past days.
Guard us and keep us as we remember those days.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God, you are our Redeemer and our Deliverer.
You reconcile all things through Christ Jesus,
The image of the invisible God.
Hold our lives in your safe keeping at this present time.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God, you are the giver of the gift of the Spirit.
You breathe into us the very breath of life
And renew us by your Holy Spirit.
Lead us into the future, through Christ and by your Spirit.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God, as you have been with us in past days,
Be with us today and in all the days to come.
Grant that we may face the future
Assured that nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer. Signed by:

  • Rt. Rev. Dr Martin Fair, 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. John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Dr David Pickering, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. May-Kane Logan, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Jim Ritchie, 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)

Musings from the Manse with Rev Nik Wooller

The gospel passage that I am reflecting on this week is Mark Ch 4 vs 35 -41. I am sure that it is a passage that is familiar to you.

In many ways, it seems to me that this passage is very apt for our times. We are in the middle of a stormy passage of life. Storms tend to come upon you out of nowhere; they come whether you like it not. This Covid 19 pandemic certainly falls into that category!

Storms can terrify us, they leave us very uncertain – how long will it last, will we survive intact? I think that is probably how the disciples felt in that boat. Even though some were fishermen and accustomed to the unpredictable ways of the Sea of Galilee, there was panic in the boat. And Jesus? He was taking the opportunity to catch up on his sleep!

The disciples were probably very confused. Why wasn’t he awake? Did he not care what happened to them? I wonder if the words of Psalm 44 vs 23, 24 came to their minds “Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever. Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression?”

Perhaps that is how many people have felt, or are feeling, through this time.  In their fear, are they begging God to sort it all out? Are they worried that he has indeed forgotten his people? I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case and, in some ways, I would be pleased about that because it, at least, shows a belief in the existence of God!

In the Gospel story we read that Jesus did wake up and he took control of the situation. He commanded the wind and waves to be still. He doesn’t just leave it there however. He has a question for his disciples; “why are you so afraid. Do you still have no faith?”

Perhaps he wants to ask that question of us too. Do we not trust that he has power over the storms of life, that he experiences them alongside us, that he loves us and that, crucially, he wants us to trust him more?

Look at the lesson from the boat. Storms (of any kind) don’t worry Jesus. He is perfectly calm about them. We need to learn to trust. He is in the middle of the storm beside us. There was never a promise that storms wouldn’t come into our lives. I suspect that you, like me, often feel like we go from one kind of storm to another. Also, we do tend to go through times of fear and panic when we are being storm-tossed! All of that is quite natural and part of being human.

What we have to learn is that Jesus is there with us in the storm. It may not be immediately evident but he is. He is not afraid, he is ultimately in control and we are safe with him. He just asks us to have more faith in him!

 

“Oh where’s your faith?
Even your little faith?
In the storm, in the darkness,
I am with you.
Let the waves roar
But don’t be distressed.
Otherwise, you might never hear me saying
‘Peace! Be Still’

Prayer

Our confidence is in you, loving God
You are the foundation of the universe,
Mother-like you brought us to birth
Father-like you watch over us, protecting.
You are the source of life and faith alike.
If you were not, we would cease to be.
We, your children, have rested our hope on you
And sought to follow Jesus
Yet, even with such confidence, there are times
When faith bends under pressure,
bends, and almost breaks:
times when it seems that the family door has closed on us,
closed and we are orphaned;
times when our peace is disturbed,
disturbed, and we are tiny craft on a stormy ocean.
For we know pain and sadness, frustration, fear and loss,
Even when we have sought to follow Jesus.
Our pain, and the pain we feel for others, is like a heavy burden to us:
Cruelty and anger, war and attack by virus,
Bereavement and the loss of a loved one,
Can bring such moments,
Even when we are followers of Jesus.
But then we pause before the sight of a cross,
And stay our eyes on a young man’s agony in death;
Your own purpose in him seemingly thwarted.
And learn afresh that you are in our sadness as in our happiness;
In the dark shadows of life as well as the bright joy.
In our uncertainty as well as our confidence,
For you are walking with us throughout our days.
Thus, we accept afresh the risk and joy of trusting you,
Offering all that we are;
And with renewed delight
Rejoice to follow Jesus

Amen