Author Archives: Mike Jefferis

Online Sunday Service – Sunday 24th May 2020 – Ascension Sunday

Good morning folks,

I hope that you are keeping well and coping as well as you can in this time of shutdown and isolation.

Many are appreciating the slower pace of life as well as catching up with many jobs which have been waiting a while to be done.

 

However, I know that there are many who are struggling with the isolation, more specially those who are on their own. A slower pace gives more time to think, and more time to think can bring its own issues.  Staying calm, deep breathing and relaxation techniques work for me.

 

May I ask you to remember in your prayers, those who have lost loved ones during this time and have had to suffer the added sadness of not being able to give their dear ones a ‘proper’ farewell.

 

Saying ‘goodbye’ is the theme of our Service for this morning.

 

Today we are looking at the Day of the Ascension, when Jesus  returned to His Father in Heaven and ‘handed over the baton’ to His followers to carry on with the work He had begun.

 

The disciples were saying goodbye to their close friend Jesus. They had spent many happy times with Him, as well as some scary times too.  But now He was going to leave them – “don’t give up” He says to them, “you may not seem me but I will see you – so I want you to carry on with the good work – I’m relying on you!”

Words for us, today – whoever said that the Bible is out of touch with reality and of no relevance to today’s world??

 

 

But before all that – let us pray ~

 

Almighty God,

 

we come today reminded of your greatness, your glory, your sovereign power and eternal purpose expressed so wonderfully in Jesus Christ, risen and ascended.

We thank you for the wonder of Ascension, that marvellous yet mysterious moment in the life of the Apostles which left them gazing heavenwards in confusion yet departing in joy.

 

We thank you for the way it brought the ministry of Jesus to a fitting conclusion, testifying decisively to His oneness with you, demonstrating your final seal of approval on all He had done.

 

We thank you that through his Ascension Jesus was set free to be Lord of all —no longer bound to a particular place or time, but with us always

and able to reach to the ends of the earth.

 

We thank you that through His departing Jesus prepared the way for His coming again, through His Spirit, His Church, and His coming again in glory.

 

Almighty God,

forgive us for so often failing

to grasp the wonder of Ascension,

for living each day as though it had never been.

 

Forgive the smallness of our vision,

the narrowness of our outlook,

the feebleness of our love,

the nervousness of our witness,

our repeated failure to recognise the fullness of your revelation in Christ.

 

Give us a deeper sense of wonder,

a stronger faith,

and a greater understanding of all you have done.

 

Almighty God, like the apostles,

we too will never fully understand all Ascension means.

We accept, but we do not fully understand.

We believe, yet we have many questions.

 

Help us, despite our uncertainty,

to hold firm to the one great truth that the wonder of Christ goes far beyond anything we can ever imagine, and in that faith may we live each day.

Listening Lord, as we prepare ourselves for worship – we sit for a few moments to clear our minds of the events of the past week  – we bring to you our sadness’s –  and our joys – our disappointments – our frustrations and our regrets – and so we pray that you will draw close to us as we bring you our own private prayer of confession for all that we have said, done and thought – things that we are not proud of – things we pray you will forgive us for – in Jesus’ name……… so be with us Lord – in the peace of our silence……

 

…..take time to reflect  on these things….. ………

 

Listening Lord – as undeserving as we are – we pray that you will forgive us and bless us with your Mercy and your Grace.

 

Lord we know that you hear us when we pray in faith – so hear us now as we say together – the prayer which brings us together as one family – the family prayer – the Lord’s prayer ~

 

OUR FATHER..WHO ART IN HEAVEN.. HALLOWED BE THY NAME.. THY KINGDOM COME.. THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN….. GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD.. AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS.. LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION.. BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL .. FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM.. THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER…. AMEN.

 

Today we have 2 readings – one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament.

 

 

2nd  Kings 2 : 7 – 12   &  Acts 1 : 1 – 11

 

 

We have all been given life for a purpose –

In our Old Testament reading this morning ~ we hear of the prophet Elijah who was at the end of his earthly ministry. He had done all God had sent him to do – and he knew that it was his time to leave this life and to go to be with God –

 

His successor – Elisha – was waiting in the wings to follow where Elijah had led.

But before Elisha could take over the reigns – Elijah first had to leave.

 

In our New Testament. Reading we hear a similar story to that of Elijah and Elisha.

 

The earthly ministry of Jesus was complete – He was returning to the Father – and His disciples were waiting in the wings to carry on His work –

They weren’t too happy to see Him go – but Jesus knew it was necessary if the disciples were to move forward and be effective witnesses in the world………..

So let us read our first Reading for this morning –

 

 

2nd  Kings 2 : 7 – 12 New International Version (NIV)

 

“7 Fifty men from the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan. Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground.

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”

“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.

10 “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.”

11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two.”

And ~

 

Acts 1 : 1 – 11 The Passion Translation (TPT)

 

 “To Theophilus, the lover of God.

I write to you again, my dear friend, to give you further details about the life of our Lord Jesus and all the things that he did and taught.

Just before he ascended into heaven, he left instructions for the apostles he had chosen by the Holy Spirit After the sufferings of his cross, Jesus appeared alive many times to these same apostles over a forty-day period. Jesus proved to them with many convincing signs that he had been resurrected.

During these encounters, he taught them the truths of God’s kingdom realm and shared meals with them

Jesus instructed them, “Don’t leave Jerusalem, but wait here until you receive the gift I told you about, the gift the Father has promised. For John baptized you in water, but in a few days from now you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit!

Then they gathered round him and asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’

He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’

Right after he spoke those words, the disciples saw Jesus lifted into the sky and disappear into a cloud! 10 As they stared into the sky, watching Jesus ascend, two men in white robes suddenly appeared beside them. 11 They told the startled disciples, “Galileans, why are you staring up into the sky? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but he will come back the same way that you saw him ascend.”

15 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. 16 I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper who will be with you forever. 17 That helper is the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it doesn’t see or know him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be in you.

18 “I will not leave you all alone. I will come back to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. You will live because I live.”

 

This is the Word of the Lord – Thanks be to God.

Amen.

 

Sermon

Have you ever read a good book – and got to the end, only to find the last page is missing ?? – it’s really annoying isn’t it !?

 

You’ve read the story – you’ve followed the plot – but without the last page – you’re left hanging at the end – wondering how it all ended.

 

We probably wouldn’t start to read a book – if we knew it was going to be cut short……… but that’s what this wonderful story of Jesus is like – without the Ascension.

 

We celebrate His birth at Christmas – and His death and Resurrection at Easter – but the very last page – the Ascension – is often overlooked.

 

The Ascension is the culmination of His  physical presence on earth – and now, here He was, returning back to His Father in Heaven.

 

He’d gone full circle – if you like – He came down from heaven – He’d done what  God had asked of Him.   “Mission Earth” was complete – and now He was going home.

 

In our reading from the book of Acts (written by Luke) – Luke describes this strange ‘Ascension’ business for us.

 

Jesus chatting with His friends  – telling them many things – and then He was “taken up before their very eyes  – and a cloud, hid him from their sight!!”

 

What a strange business !

 

And that left the disciples – not only alone and frightened – but with a major challenge – they were to carry on Jesus’ work ! – but how would they do that without Him !?

 

Don’t worry  Jesus had said to them – I’ll send a helper who will give you all the power you’ll need to carry on the good work……… and as promised – a few days later – the Holy Spirit of God came down – and we hear about that at Pentecost – which the church  remembers next Sunday…. The day of Pentecost….

 

But meantime – Jesus had left his followers – and as sad as it must have been for his close friends – to lose someone they cared so much about –  it was something that Jesus knew was essential – if they were ever to stand on their own two feet.

 

He had done what He had come to do – which was to tell us of God’s love – show us how to live – and explain what we must do if we are to hope to gain an eternal life that makes sense of our lives.

 

“What is the purpose of  life?”

Were we simply ‘born to die’ ?? – are our lives a pointless exercise ? – do we live – then die – end of story ?

 

Absolutely not ! – Jesus came to tell us  that there is much more to it than that!

Paul the Apostle wrote these words to the emerging Church in Corinth – “If this whole business of Christ were not true, then surely we are to be pitied among all people. But of course, Christ WAS raised from the dead!” (1st Corinthians 15 : 19 – 20).  And we know that because there many witnesses.

 

And to help us understand all this – He gave us a book of instructions to help us along the way….. His word – the Bible..

 

It has stories- quotes – poems – helpful hints – useful tips – songs – tales of olden times – amazing characters – advice on what and what not to do – and so much more. It’s all there for us – if we would only take the time to read it……..

*

Jesus had completed His work here –

That’s what He meant when He said on the cross – just before He died – “it is accomplished”… God’s great plan had been accomplished.

 

He had accomplished all that the Father had sent Him to do – and now – it’s down to us – you and me to carry on the good work – which is to help in the work of bringing His kingdom to earth – just as it is in Heaven, and we pray those very words, every time  we say the Lord’s Prayer – ‘May His Kingdom come – His will be done – on earth – as it is in Heaven” – and it is important that when we pray – we appreciate that we have a responsibility to do what we can to make that prayer come true.

 

Prayer is much more than simply handing things over to God and standing back and letting God get on with it. It is incumbent upon us to work in partnership with God to make things happen.

 

For example – if we ask God to help the poor and the hungry – but then walk by a poor, hungry person on the street without offering even the small amount of help – than our prayers are just hollow words.

True faith is a combination of Words and Actions (see the book of James, Chapter 2)

 

Jesus  has told us of God’s Kingdom…… He has shown us His amazing power…. And now it’s up to us  to take the next step.

 

He was saying – “I’ve explained what you must do – I have shown you how to do it – now I’ll leave you to go and do it

But then He added the all important – “ but don’t forget……  I’ll be watching – and I’ll be back later to see how you’re getting on !!”..

 

And that’s another thing the disciples were concerned about – when was  Jesus going to return ??……..

 

None of us know – that’s what Jesus said – “it’s not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set..”

 

He’s keeping us on our toes!

And maybe it’s just as well – human nature being what it is, we would probably become complacent  – leave it to the last minute – and think to ourselves “there’s plenty of time yet” – “what’s the rush !??”

 

Perhaps some are saying that now ! – “what’s the rush?”

 

But none of us know the time or the date when He will return for us – and is it not time that we put our life in order ?

 

How prepared are you – if God were to call for you this very day ?? – Is your life in order – or have things still left undone ??

 

Tell that person with whom you are at variance  that you love them – mend that rift – be the first one to hold out the hand of friendship – phone that person who you have been thinking about phoning – do it today ! – we never know the day or the hour –  nor ought we to know – when He is coming to take us home.

 

“I’ve left you in charge” Jesus says – but the world turned their back on Him.

*

And so when we look around – we must ask ourselves “how have we done since God left us in charge !?”  – well – I suppose the honest answer is – not too good !

We hear of wars and death everyday……..

There’s starvation in some parts of the world while others gorge themselves.

There’s a great need in many parts of the world – and massive stockpiles elsewhere.

 

Children are stabbing other children in the streets – in broad daylight. No respect for each other – or for any kind of authority, is pretty much non-existent.

 

People are reduced, in many cases, to mere numbers on a balance sheet…..

 

The vast majority no longer believe in God – far less come to church. Many are willing to receive his daily blessings – but fail to acknowledge Him or give any kind of thanks for His goodness….

 

Preferring instead to go to Tesco’s or Morrison’s on  a Sunday morning – going down a very different kind of “aisle” ! – or find some other reason (‘excuse’?) why worshipping God can’t quite be fitted in to there busy schedule. How pleased we are that God is never too busy for us!

 

“Don’t complain – comply !! – Jesus is saying to us, “go out there and change things – go and carry on where I left off and make this world a better place!”

 

You may not think it, but we can make a difference in the world about us – you can – I can – each one of us can.

 

Maybe we can’t change the whole world – but  we can change the family unit, society and community in which  we live.

 

We can tell those who are suffering that life doesn’t have to be like it is…

 

We can tell others that there IS a loving God.

We can show others that we don’t want to live as the world lives – cut throat – dog eat dog – gossiping about  those around us…….. trying to get one up on others….

 

We can and should live as examples to others, living ‘just and upright lives’ just as our Saviour did.

 

We can show the world that whether rich or poor – we can live by higher standards – standards set by a loving Father who

Loves us so much that he allowed his only Son to die for us.

 

A caring Father who provides for us  – who watches over us and who – through his Holy Spirit – guides us to that ‘heavenly place’ where we are promised that we will receive the eternal blessings of peace and calm and endless love.

 

All this is promised to us – to you and to me – to everyone who stands up to be counted in God’s glorious Kingdom…….

 

The world has largely turned its back on Jesus.

Now it’s time for the world to turn back to Jesus…

 

And we can help with that – you and I CAN – if we get up and get going –

As Jesus said in verse 8 – “and be his witnesses.

 

So the question is – will we stand up for Him who came to save us. ? Or will we ‘stand and stare in to space’ just as the disciples did – on that day of the Ascension ??

 

That – He leaves in your hands

 

It’s a wonderful, awesome challenge to each one of us.

 

You might like to think about it !!

 

But don’t think about it for too long – remember – we know that He’ll be back to see how we’re getting on……

What we don’t know  –  is when !!……

 

Will He find you working for His kingdom –  or will He find you idling away your time –  “looking up to the skies” ?

 

It makes you think – doesn’t it !?

– or at least – I hope it does !!

And in Jesus precious name.

Amen.

 

And may God bless this preaching of His Holy Word – and may all the glory and the praise, be His.

 

 

LET US PRAY ~

 

Caring Lord, we give you thanks for not only being our Creator, Sustainer and Saviour,

but also that through Christ’s life, death, resurrection and ascension, He is beside us in everything we do, everywhere we go – in all we say and think – in our joys as well as our sorrows – offering love, support and care.

 

We thank you that because of Christ’s Ascension His ministry to us is no longer restricted by the limits of an earthly life.

Now He has been lifted up we can be assured of His presence with each of us at any time, in any place and whoever we are.

 

Lord, we thank you for those moments when we are aware of you all over again.

 

May our prayers of thanksgiving be transformed into lives filled with gratitude that will bring faith, hope and courage to others and to glory to God.

 

But Lord, we know that there are many who do not feel your presence – many who feel alone and cut off from any kind of love or concern ~ who fail to feel the warmth of the love that you have for them……… and today we pray for them ~

 

Father, we pray for all those who are suffering and confined. We pray especially for those who see no hope, no new beginning, no relief or freedom; for those who today are suffering political oppression, persecution or imprisonment because of their faith in Christ.

May the hope of Christ set them free.

 

We pray for all victims of violence; for all who are despised or rejected; for all who are diminished or frustrated by illness, pain, illiteracy or poverty. We pray for all who are slaves to addiction:

May the power of Christ set them free.

 

We pray for all oppressors; for all leaders and governments who dare not give their people freedom to think, act or choose for themselves; for all who are making other people’s lives miserable; for those who exploit other people’s weaknesses and fears.

May the truth of Christ set them free.

 

We pray for all relationships where there is a desire to dominate; for families that are ruled by authoritarian parents or where children receive no proper discipline; for relationships where emotional blackmail is used to gain power or control over each other; for those who are never allowed to blossom, to be free, to be the people they were meant to be.

May the joy of Christ set them free.

 

We pray for all who have been crushed by insensitive words or damaged by unthinking actions;

for those broken by lies, abuse or the failure to be loved unconditionally;

for all without hope, peace or the ability to love and be loved.

May the love of Christ set them free.

 

We pray for those who sigh and cry for freedom; for those who long to know that the past is dealt with, the future is in God’s hands

and today is His gift to us all. We pray for those who hold the broken, share the pain of the hurting and walk with those who are lost.

May the mercy of Christ set them free.

 

We pray for ourselves. Let us ask Christ to touch our thoughts, our words and our dreams. Let us pray that every corner of our lives might be open to His will;

that His love and truth will give us hope, and his presence will fill us with joy. Let us ask for the power of the Spirit to light up our lives with peace and understanding.

May the light of Christ set us free.

 

 

Lord hear us now as we sit in silence – bringing to you our own thoughts and prayers for those we know and love – for those who we know need a prayer at this time ~ Lord, hear our silent prayers……

……think of someone you know who needs a prayer and whisper his/her name (s) …………

 

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers, both silent and spoken, for we bring them to you in the name of the one who Blesses us beyond all our expectations and deserving – our dear sweet Jesus Christ.

Amen.

 

 

‘THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK’

 

In the time before combine harvesters and large tractors – there was a farmer who was teaching his son how to plough a field, with a horse-drawn plough.

 

He set the horse up – faced it in the right direction, told his son how to hold the reigns – and gave him this piece of advice – “to be sure that you plough a straight furrow – fix your eye on something at the other end of the field, and don’t take your eyes off of it..” Okay dad” the boy said to his father – and set off down the field.

 

The farmer then left his son and went off to busy himself elsewhere on the farm – thinking “what could possibly go wrong!??”

 

A few hours later he came back to see how his son was getting on with the horse and the plough – only to see the lines of the plough were all over the place – hardly a straight furrow in the field.

“What on earth are you playing at!?” The farmer shouted “I thought I told you how to plough a straight line !” – “but I did what you said – I kept my eyes fixed on a cow which was lying at the top of the field – but it got up and started walking about!” J J

Jesus is the one permanent thing in a world of change.

 

Keep your eyes firmly fixed on Him – and your path through this life will be a straight and  undeviating journey up to the very Gates of Heaven.

 

And that’s a promise !

 

So here’s a thought for us all –

 

Are there things which distract us from living as Jesus wants us to live?

Do you follow the ‘straight and narrow’ way  ?

– if not – what is stopping you?

 

Food for thought for us all…

 

 

BLESSING

 

 

As we have felt the presence of God’s love in this place this morning – be assured that as you go – the love of God goes with you –  wherever you go and in whatever you do –

 

 

And may the blessing of Almighty God – Father – Son – and Holy Spirit – be with you – be with your families, your friends and all who you know and love – and ought to love – this day – and everyday.

 

Amen

 

*

 

 

Today we have heard how Jesus returned to Heaven to be with His Father. His purpose had been served, His mission had been accomplished.

But before He left He promised that He would never leave us alone or without a helper.

 

Next Sunday is the Day of Pentecost. The day that God sent down His Holy Spirit, our ‘Holy Helper’ to watch over us and be our guide through the ups and downs of life.

This is the ‘Sprit of Jesus’ – and He guides us to live our lives ‘in the Spirit of God’.

 

Be sure to join us next Sunday –  a big day in the life of the Christian  Church – to see what it’s all about – it was quite a day!

 

 

May God Bless you and your loved ones.

 

Keep well and stay safe.

Online Sunday Service – Sunday 17th May 2020 – 6th Sunday of Easter

17 . 5 . 20

6th Sunday of Easter

 

 

Good morning folks,

Yet another weeks slips by, another week closer to being able to meet up with family and friends on a more personal level. Emails, messaging, texts, phone calls, facebook and tweets are all great ways to keep in touch but there’s nothing quite like a hug or an elbow bump (no substitution for a warm handshake!) and seeing others  ‘eye to eye’ to bring warmth to your heart or a tear to your eye.

Of course we want to get ‘back to normal’ as soon as possible – but common sense tells us that it’s better to err on the side of caution for just a little bit longer.

We hope and pray that it will soon be safe to go out and enjoy life as we return to some semblance of ‘normality.’

May I remind you that no matter how difficult things are for is at this time, no matter how life has changed from all that we have known before – the great love that God has for each of you remains a strong and as sincere as ever it was.

 

*

 

Today I am going to ask you to think about your own life, the decisions and the choices you make.

 

But before that  – let us Pray ~

 

Holy, Heavenly Father of all creation,  we come to you in awe and wonder – for you are the God of the universe – so amazing, so awe-inspiring  – so divine – so beyond anything our minds can comprehend. Yet you are the God who walks with us each moment of each day and you know us better than we know our very selves.

We bring you our praise and our thanks.

 

How blessed we are.

 

Our lives should be filled with gladness,

Our hearts brimming over with adoration,

Our lips overflowing with thanksgiving.

 

Forgive us that all too often we take your many gifts for granted, losing our sense of awe and wonder.

 

Forgive us for praising you with our lips

Without meaning it in our hearts,

For offering worship out of a sense of duty rather than privilege.

Help us rejoice in your love each moment, to bring our praise each day, and to offer our service always, being faithful to you, as you are faithful to us.

 

Help us to see that although we try and manage our lives on our own – we fail to reach our full potential without your help and support.

 

Forgive us that you are only too willing to offer that encouragement and assistance – but that we fail to turn to you unless we are in some kind of crisis – help us to turn to you every day and so become aware of our great need for you.

 

Loving, caring, compassionate, merciful Lord – we come asking for your forgiveness for all our foolish and disagreeable ways –

Ways which offend and hurt you – which hurt and offend others –

 

Forgive us, we pray – bless us with your mercy and your grace – for we ask it in Jesus name – our dear Lord and Saviour…….

 

Listening Lord – hear our prayer this morning – and hear us now as we pray the family prayer together – the Lord’s prayer ~

 

Our Father.. Who art in heaven.. Hallowed be thy name.. Thy kingdom come.. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven….. Give us this day our daily bread.. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.. Lead us not into temptation.. But deliver us from evil .. For thine is the kingdom.. The power and the glory forever…. Amen.

 

We have one Reading this morning from Matthew’s Gospel.

We hear of Jesus being ‘ambushed’ by two leading religious groups ie the Pharisees (the heavy duty Religious leaders of the day) and the Herodians (who wanted to  restore King Herod back to the throne).  They were unlikely partners as they strongly disagreed with each other’s beliefs – yet they formed an alliance, for the moment at least, to try to catch Jesus out.

 

Let’s read it for ourselves ~

 

 

Matthew 22 : 15 – 22

 

Is It Right to Pay the Royal Tax to Caesar?

“ 15 The Pharisees went out. They made plans to trap Jesus with his own words. 16 They sent their followers to him. They sent the Herodians with them. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of honour. You teach the way of God truthfully. You don’t let others tell you what to do or say. You don’t care how important they are. 17 Tell us then, what do you think? Is it right to pay the royal tax to Caesar or not?”

18 But Jesus knew their evil plans. He said, “You pretenders! Why are you trying to trap me? 

19 Show me the coin people use for paying the tax.” They brought him a silver coin. 20 He asked them, “Whose image is this on the coin? And whose words?”

21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. And give back to God what belongs to God.”

22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.”

This is the Word of the Lord – Thanks be to God

 

Amen.

 

Sermon

 

How are you at decision making ?

Is your motto –  “never do today what you can put off until tomorrow?”

 

Are you a bit of a dither – going this way and that before coming to a decision ?  Or are you decisive and resolute?

 

In the New Testament text that we have just read – we hear Jesus being asked to make up his mind – to choose – to take sides.

 

But of course – it was all a trick to get Him to incriminate Himself.

 

So, what was it all about ?

 

Let’s rewind the story so that we can better see what’s going on here ~

 

Well – we see the Pharisees and the Herodites – who were usually at each others throats – joining forces to trap Jesus by putting to Him what seemed like a perfectly innocent question.

 

“Teacher” they said “we know you’re so wonderful and clever and holy and everything – and of course wouldn’t be swayed by the likes of us – but can you help us by advising us what to do !?” And then they put their question – “is it right for us to pay our taxes to Caesar – or not !?”

But of course it was a ‘loaded’ question – and they were hoping that it would explode in Jesus’ face.

 

If Jesus said that they shouldn’t  pay their taxes – then they would have reported Him to the Roman authorities and He would have been arrested for treason.

 

And if He said that the tax should be paid – then He would have been discredited in the eyes of the people who objected to paying taxes to their Roman oppressors.

 

Either way – the Religious leaders thought – Jesus is going to drop himself in it.      It was a “lose – lose” situation for Jesus – or so they thought !

 

And so they ‘lit the blue touch paper’ – stood back and watched what Jesus would do.

 

But Jesus wasn’t so easily fooled. He knew their scheme and wasn’t about to fall into their trap.

 

And so He asked for a coin – a Denarius – the equivalent of a days wages,  and had the emperor Caesar’s head stamped on it – and so technically – it was the property of the emperor, whose image it bore.

 

That’s why it’s illegal to deface a ‘coin of the realm’ – even yet – as they have the Queen’s head stamped on them.   And so  – in theory at least – they are the property of the Queen.

 

And so when Jesus asked who’s image was on the coin – “the emperor Caesar’s” – then he could say in all honesty, without taking sides. “Then this coin belongs to Caesar – so give it back to him – give to Caesar what belongs to him  – and give to God – what belongs to Him !”

 

A neat side-step, we might think – but you see – the Pharisees were bound by rules and regulations – but Jesus didn’t lay down rules which would date with passing trends and the passage of time – He laid down ‘eternal principles.’ That’s why His teachings are timeless.

 

And here – in this passage – He lays down a very important principle for us – for you and for me – for our lives, in this modern day world –

And it’s this ~

 

Everyone of us who calls ourselves ‘Christian’ – have a dual citizenship. We are citizens of the country in which we live – and we owe much to our country – to our governmental system – for the stability –the safety of the law – public services, health care and the like.

 

But as followers of Christ – as Christians – we are also citizens of Heaven – listen to what Paul wrote to the Church in Philippi  ~

(Philippians 3: 17 – 22)

 

“Join with others in following my example, brothers and sisters, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame.

Their mind is on earthly things.

 

But our citizenship is in Heaven.

 

 And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.”

 

Powerful words – and still relevant today – where so many – “live as enemies of the cross of Christ”. Whether through outright hostility – or  mere indifference.

 

But we are urged to live a different, better way – the way of God.

 

Yes, we have to respect the world – the country – the communities in which we live – and we must pay our taxes and contribute to the general well being of society – these are all ‘worldly’ things that we must contribute  – give to the world.

 

But we must also give to God – those things which are His – the spiritual things such as our hearts and minds and our souls.

 

Our citizenship is in Heaven” – Paul says – “and we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

This ‘dual citizenship’ calls us to be good citizens of the world – as well as being good citizens of God’s world – the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

But there may be times when something happens or we are confronted with something that we feel is not right – or is against God’s will – and at such times, our loyalty to God ought to over-ride our loyalty to the world.

There will be times when we have to stand up and speak out for what we believe in.

 

And there will be times when people around us – like those Pharisees and Herodians – who will try to catch us out – put us off – try and lead us into doing or saying things we are uncomfortable with – draw us away from our faith – from God – there will be situations – people – who call us to choose.

 

At such times – stand firm

God has the final authority over all things – remain faithful to Him – whatever happens – and you can be sure that He will remain faithful to you.

 

*

 

When you’re asked to choose –

Jesus calls us to – choose life – choose God – it’s the only real option.

 

The things of this life will eventually fade away – but the things of  God will remain forever.

Life here will, one day cease – but life hereafter is everlasting, eternal and timeless.

*

 

But I believe that we are not put on this earth to merely to exist in the world – but to use our faith – to make a difference in the world.

 

We are called not to keep our faith a secret – but to share it and so make a difference in a world which many, aye sadly, too many – don’t know the joy of knowing Jesus –

And that should make us sad – didn’t Paul say-

“As I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ”.

 

How sad it is that so many in the world – don’t believe in Jesus – don’t acknowledge what He did for them – for us – on the Cross.

 

How sad it is that too many ‘don’t have time’ for Jesus – too busy to come to know Him – and so miss out on the most fantastic, loving, genuine and deep relationship they will ever experience.

 

But the Church – Christians the world over – are called to go out into the community – the world – to take our faith and share it with others.

Making a difference by sharing our love of Jesus with them – by encouraging them to take out “dual citizenship” – as they follow our example – and we follow the example of Jesus Christ – God’s only Son – our only hope….. and the only hope for the world.

 

How wonderful it would be if those you love – your family and friends – the whole world – were gathered in and sheltered – kept safe – in the arms of our dear Jesus.

 

And they can be – so can each one of us – because that’s the promise He makes to everyone who chooses the way of Christ over the way of the world.

 

It’s a promise – made to the world – to each one of us

 

It’s a promise that’s made and being fulfilled every minute of every day in someone’s life – it could be your life next – if you choose wisely –

You can be held – comforted – loved and promised life here (in this world) and life hereafter (in God’s kingdom)

How astounding – how amazing – how awesome is that !?

 

What a difference that would make if people all over the world gave their lives over to their God, living a life of love, respect, caring for those less fortunate than ourselves and taking time to give Him all the praise for His faithful and continued blessings.

 

What a difference that would make to your life, to the lives of those you love and to the world!

 

And all this is possible for you – if  you make that choice,

and in the precious name of our dear, sweet Saviour – Jesus Christ.

 

Amen.

 

Let us Pray ~

 

Precious Lord – as we worship you this day – we take a few moments to recall all the many good and wonderful things that you have blessed us with – our family – our friends – our home – a wonderful creation which surrounds us – good food – warm clothing – a church family, here in this place – but more than that – a family which extends from other local churches – to right around this world – all praising you – all worshipping you in the name of our dear Jesus.

Lord – hear our thoughts as we take a short time to remember these – and so many other things, with which we have been blessed ~

….Short time of silence as we think of our Blessings –

and give thanks for them……..….

 

Thank you Lord.

 

But we are all too aware that many in this world are struggling to make ends meet – have no home – few friends – and no means by which they can see and hope of things improving for them.

 

We think of those enduring wars and strife – those suffering the after effects of natural disasters – or the pain of bereavement as they remember a loved one lost.     We bring them to mind – and we pray for them – asking for your special blessings upon them.

 

We pray for all who need a prayer – perhaps someone reading this service today – and we bring them to you and pray you will touch their lives and bring a warmth, a  comfort and a peace of mind to them in their difficult time.

 

We continue to keep in mind those who put their lives at risk to keep us safe and well. Watch over them, keep them safe, so that they too can go home at the end of the day to see their families, safe and free from harm.

Bless them Father.

 

Lord – hear us once more as we bring our own prayers to you – for those we know are in need of prayer at this time – perhaps a friend – or family member – an acquaintance or maybe yourself – the Lord hears your prayer – so let us take a few moments to talk to Him – in the peace of your silence……..

……..take a few moments of silence as you say a short prayer of your own…………

 

 

Listening Lord – hear all our prayers – both spoken and silent – for we bring them to you in the name of our dear sweet Saviour – your only Son – our only Hope – Jesus Christ.  Amen.

 

 

Thought for the Week

 

A small boy walked into a sweet shop  store with his dad and was bedazzled by the array of treats on offer.

“What should I choose?  What should I choose?  What should I choose?”  He asked himself.

“Come on son, we don’t have all day,” his dad said.

“These are my favourites.  No wait, these are my favourites.”

He walked along the aisles, picking up bags and putting them back.

He just couldn’t make up his mind.

“Quick son, make up your mind, we have to go,”  His impatient dad said.

Frantically, the boy ran around the store, his eyes moving from one shelf to another, but all of the options looked so good and he couldn’t make a decision.

Eventually, the dad had enough, grabbed his son by the hand and they walked out of the store empty-handed.  The young boy had tears in his eyes.  He wanted them all, but ended up with nothing because he couldn’t choose just one.

 

Much of life is about making choices – from getting up – what will I wear? To what to eat – the ‘healthy option’ or the cream-doughnut .. and many more.

Most decisions aren’t that important – but when it comes to the really important things in life – it can be a minefield of worry and anxiety. How do I know I am doing the right thing? What if I make the wrong choice? And so on…

God asks us to choose.

In matters of Faith, deciding to become a Christian is the best decision you will ever make.

To those who choose to follow Christ, He offers blessings, promises, unconditional love, hope for the future, peace of mind and contentment that you are in safe Hands in this life and in the next, where an eternity of  peace and tranquillity is promised, free from all physical pain and stress free – and so much more.

Sounds good to me!

Maybe it does to you too?

Do you know the story of the life and times of Jesus Christ – and what He did for you?

Why not explore  this whole Faith business for yourself?

Let me promise you – from personal experience – you won’t regret it.

Make that choice and your life will never be the same – in a good way – and that’s a promise.

Amen.

 

Blessing

 

And now – go in Love – Joy and Peace –

And may the love of Jesus go before you –

the Lord Almighty watch over you –

and the Holy Spirit go with you – guiding and protecting you in all you say and do.

And may the Blessing of Almighty God – Father- Son – and Holy Spirit – be with you all – may He be with your families and friends and all who you know and love – and ought to love – this day and everyday.

AMEN

Take care and May God bless you and those you love.

Stay safe.

*

 Next Sunday we look at the Ascension of Jesus – when He returned to Heaven.

He had come full circle from His Birth, Life, Death and  Resurrection. His  ‘Mission Earth’ was complete and now He was going back home to be with His Father.

 And the following week is the day of Pentecost, where God sends His Holy Spirit down to Earth – it was quite a day!!

 

Why not join us on this web page and

“read all about it”!

 

*

Online Sunday Service – Sunday 10th May 2020 – 5th Sunday of Easter

10.5.2020

5th Sunday of Easter

 

Good morning folks,

Another week of glorious sunshine – I hope you were able to get out and enjoy some of it.

By all accounts things are beginning to show signs of easing up, but we shouldn’t be complacent just yet – I have a feeling that it’s going to be a long while yet before we are anything like back to ‘normal.’  I really do hope that you are coping with the ‘isolation’ – for some it is a difficult time. If you are struggling please seek help, even a phone call to family or friends can make a difference. We hope and pray that it won’t be for too much longer.  I am happy if you’d like to email or ‘message’ me at any time.

*

I have spent much of this week putting together a Seven Day Devotion for Christian Aid Week, which starts today.

This year Christian Aid is highlighting those who are suffering from the effects of the current climate crisis.  No water, no crops ; no water for the animals. It focuses on the ladies, and their families, of the ‘dry lands’ of Kenya, where the women regularly walk for 5 miles or more to find water to take home for their families, in blistering heat. It puts our own “stay in doors and keep safe’ into perspective I guess.

This weekly devotional will be posted on the Kilmacolmoldkirk.org.uk website, click on the ‘Christian Aid Week -10 -16 May 2020’ Tab on the top bar,  if you would like to follow it each day throughout the week.

If you would like a personal copy for yourself or your Church, please let me know and I will send a copy to you.

But let’s get on with today’s Service ~

Let us pray ~

PRAYER

Holy, holy, holy God – Lord of heaven and earth, we are in our different homes – with different lives – but joining together to worship you and to wonder at your greatness……..

We come, once more, to be reminded of all you are and all you have done – of the Love with which you surround us, the Grace you have shown us through Jesus Christ, and the purpose you have for our lives.

We come to offer you our praise, to marvel at your greatness, and to commit ourselves to your service.

We come to give thanks,

To rejoice in all you have given us, to respond to your goodness, and to offer our love in return.

We come to make our confession, to admit our faults and failings, to recognise our weakness, and to ask your forgiveness.

We come to hear your word to us, to understand what you are saying to us – and put that in to practice in our everyday lives.

We come to pray for ourselves, to seek your guidance, to discover your will, and to find the strength we need to live as your people.

We come to pray for others,

Our loved ones with all their joys and sorrows, our world with all its suffering, and your church as it seeks to express your compassion in action.

We come to make our Offering, to bring our time, our money, our talents, our service, and ourselves.

Loving God,

We come to worship you in the conviction that you are here with us now, that you are by our side always, that you hold all things and all people in the Palm of your hand…………….

As we reach out to you, reach out to us, we pray, and fill every moment of every day with the light of your love, and the peace of your presence, through Jesus Christ our Lord,

To whom and through whom – we pray the family prayer together –

Our Father who art in heaven.. Hallowed be thy name.. Thy kingdom come.. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven….. Give us this day our daily bread.. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.. Lead us not into temptation.. But deliver us from evil .. For thine is the kingdom.. The power and the glory forever….

Amen

We have 2 Readings this morning.

Our Old Testament reading is sometimes called “Daniel’s Prayer” – and he calls upon God to forgive the sins of the nation – and it’s interesting to note that for as righteous as he was – he used the pronoun “we” to include himself among those who live a less than righteous life.  True humility.

And he knew that neither he or any of us can earn or deserve God’s forgiveness – but forgiveness comes out of God’s goodness…….

Our New Testament reading narrates Jesus healing the daughter of a persistent mother.

It’s a strange and  seemingly bizarre text which talks of a frantic mother, tables, dogs and crumbs.

What can it all mean ?? – let’s read it for ourselves-

This is God’s word to us ~

DANIEL 9 : 4 – 6 & 17 – 18   –  ‘Daniel’s Prayer’

I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:

‘Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.

17 ‘Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favour on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.

 

And ~

 

Matthew 15:21-28  –  The Canaanite Woman

21 Jesus left that place and went off to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from those parts came out and shouted, ‘Have pity on me, Lord, son of David! My daughter is demon-possessed! She’s in a bad way!’ 23 Jesus, however, said nothing at all to her.

His disciples came up.  ‘Please send her away!’ they asked. ‘She’s shouting after us.’

24 ‘I was only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’  replied Jesus,

25 The woman, however, came and threw herself down at his feet.

‘Master,’ she said, ‘please help me!’

26 ‘It isn’t right’, replied Jesus, ‘to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’

27 ‘I know, Master. But even the dogs are hungry and eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.’

28 ‘You’ve got great faith, haven’t you, my friend!’ replied Jesus. ‘All right; let it be as you wish.’

And her daughter was healed from that very moment.

Amen.

 

This is the Word of the Lord – Thanks be to God.

 

SERMON

I once saw a picture of Jesus – not unusual – you might say – but in this picture, he was laughing – not just smiling – not just with a serene smile on his face – not even just grinning, but head back – mouth open – eyes sparkling – roaring with laughter.

Well, before that, I never really thought of Jesus actually laughing out loud before.  And, to be honest –  at first –  the picture unsettled me a bit.

I’d always seen Jesus, in a more serious way. Weeping, yes,  praying, of course – but chuckling ?

It seemed too…well, unlike the kind of thing He would do… which only goes to show how much I know.. (or rather, don’t know) – about Jesus – about God.

This encounter with the ‘laughing Jesus’ picture changed my view, my image of Jesus – I now see Him differently from the way my Highland ‘Presbyterian’ upbringing taught me to see Him.

Why shouldn’t he laugh” – I now think – after all we laugh, and if we’re made in God’s image – then He must laugh too !!

I don’t see him through ‘stained glass windows’ any more.

The picture showed me a side to Jesus I had never even considered before. Instead of seeing Him as solemn and aloof  – I now see him as smiling, caring, warm, someone you wouldn’t be afraid to go and talk to – which is what He wants us to do.

We don’t hear much about a ‘laughing Jesus’ do we ? – but let’s think about it –

Do we think He was upset when the Samaritan woman at the well finally got the message who he was and went and told everyone ?? I’m sure he was smiling from ear to ear.

Do we imagine that He was irritated when the little boy offered his packed lunch to feed the 5,000 ? – no – I’m quite sure that he gave the lad a friendly smile and patted him on the head.

And can we really  imagine Jesus looking serious and sombre as He blessed the little children and bounced them on His knee ?? – I don’t think so !

And I also think that it’s more than just possible – that  Jesus had as smile on His face as He spoke to the woman in our New Testament reading .

Let’s imagine that we are bystanders at that conversation.

Here was a woman approaching Jesus – Matthew describes her as a ‘Canaanite woman’ – and in those two words – he makes her an outcast of the Jewish community.

A Canaanite– an outsider – not one of us  – bad news.

A woman –  even worse news – for in that place and at that time – Jewish men were not to be seeing speaking to women in public.

So here was a stranger – a female stranger – asking Jesus for a favour – in public!!

Well, we have to give her 10 out of 10 for determination!

Perhaps He was taken aback a little – or perhaps He was just testing her sincerity.

“Help me!” She had pleaded –

But He doesn’t answer her at first – and then He says  – “But I was sent here to save my own people…..” and may have turned away – because the woman cried even louder saying  – “Lord, please help me !!”

Then He talks about tables, breadcrumbs and dogs ..

And we might wonder – what that was all about !! –

Well, it’s not an easy passage to understand – unless you’re willing to concede that Jesus had a sense of humour – because then it all becomes much clearer –

So let’s look at this passage in a slightly  ‘different’ way – to see just what is going on here –

The woman is desperate. Her daughter is very ill.

The Canaanite woman has no right to ask anything of Jesus.

She is not a Jew. She is not a disciple. She offers no money for his ministry. She makes no promises to devote herself to missionary service.

You get the impression that she knows as well as anybody that Jesus doesn’t owe her anything

And yet she is asking Him for everything.

But that doesn’t slow her down. She persists in her plea.

“have mercy on me!!!!!”  She cries….

Matthew notes that Jesus says nothing at first. Noth­ing. He doesn’t open his mouth. Why?

To test her? Most commentators suggest this. Maybe, they say, He is waiting to see how serious she is about her plea.

I was brought up by my grandmother  – and she used to make me wait a week from the day I asked her for something – to the day she gave me her answer.

Most of the time, I had forgotten that I ever made the request. Time has a way of separating wants from needs. Is Jesus doing that? I can’t see it. I am sure He could see the anxiety, the fear in her voice and in her demeanour.

I have another opinion.

I think that He was admiring her courage.

I think that it did His heart good to see some good old fashioned faith for a change. I think that it refreshed Him to see someone asking Him to do the very things He came to do – to heal the sick and give new life.

The Canaanite woman came with no hidden agenda – no heritage – no religiously stored up brownie points. She knew only two things: 1. Her daughter was weak, and 2. Jesus was strong.

And what follows is one of the most intriguing dialogues in the New Testament.

And, in essence, this is what they were saying –

“You know, of course, that I am the bread of life – and this bread (himself) is really only for feeding my own family?” Jesus said.

“Yes” the woman replied “but there are others who hunger for you too – surely you don’t mind us getting some of the crumbs, do you !?’

And it’s here that I feel sure that Jesus would have smiled at her !

Such understanding – such faith in Him – how could He fail to be pleased ?

And so in a feeling of exuberance and happiness – He answers – “never have I seen such faith – your daughter is healed !”

And with that, her daughter WAS healed.

That doesn’t sound like a stern and condescending God to me – but rather a kind and smiling Jesus.

Her faith and belief in the power of Jesus – was justified and her prayer was answered……..

*

This difficult text becomes so much clearer – for me – when I see Jesus smiling at the distressed woman – admiring her faith – seeing her situation and opening His heart to her  – not because of any worth of hers – but because of His great love and mercy for her………….

Daniel’s words from our Old Testament reading could have been hers: “we do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.” (Daniel 9 : 9-11)

 She came, banking on the hope that Jesus would answer her prayer based on His goodness and not her worthiness.

And he did. With a smile.

He answers our prayers too – yours and mine – He smiles upon us and heals us of our pain – when we put our trust and our faith in Him – not because of anything we have done to deserve it – but because of His great love and compassion for us……..

When I think about the prayers God has answered for me in spite of the life I’ve lived, I think he must be smiling still.

 

*

Just 4 short weeks ago – we remembered the bad news of our Saviour’s suffering and death –-

Then there was wonderful good news of the Resurrection – and the love, peace – hope and joy that it brought to the world.

And in 3 weeks time we celebrate the day of ‘Pentecost’ – when God sent down his Holy Spirit to stay with us and guide us. That’s another day of strange and mysterious happenings  – and we will go through that, as we always do, to find out what it is all about,

It’s ‘Good News’ all the way – so let us enjoy our faith – let’s smile with contentment as we know that we have a loving God who cares and provides for us – what could be more wonderful and joyful than that ??

*

So what is this all about?

It’s about how God answers our prayers and cares for us – not because of anything  we have done but because He loves us  – and for no other reason  – and that should be enough to make anyone smile !!

So I’m going to keep on thinking of that picture of Jesus laughing.  To me, it’s more like the Jesus  I  have grown to know and love,  the Jesus who loves and forgives  me – and each and every one of us – just because……

And not for who we are or what we’ve done – but because of who He is –and what His Son did for us on the Cross.

And all this He does – in the precious name of Jesus.

How awesome is that!?

Amen.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

I was reminded of a story about a wee girl who saved up her pocket money to buy a string of cheap imitation pearls.

They only cost a few pounds from a market stall – but she just loved them. She wore them wherever she went – she even wore them to bed every night !

Each night her father would tuck her in and say “I love you Jenny” and Jenny would say “ love you too daddy”,  “do you love me enough to give me your pearls?”-  her father would say – “oh not my precious pearls !” she would answer “but I’ll give you any of my other things”.

This went on for a few nights –  then one night – Jenny took the pearls off of her neck – and with tears in her eyes and gave her father her precious pearls. “here daddy” she said “these are for you” and handed the pearls to him.

With tears gathering in his own eyes – he took the pearls – and with the other hand – gave Jenny a blue velvet case. When she opened it – it was a beautiful string of real pearls.

“Oh daddy – I love you so much” she said and gave her father a great big hug.

“I love you very much too” said the father – and they both smiled.

It’s a lovely story – and it reminds us that when we come to Jesus and give him our worries, our fears and bring those things which we cling on to – He gives back so much more.

Like the woman in our New Testament reading this morning –

she had offered Him nothing but her faith in Him – and He rewarded her by giving her hope, healing, love, peace and joy.

We give Him so little and yet He gives us so much in return.

So here’s a thought ~

What do you need to let go of and hand over to Jesus ?

Is it a worry – a fear – an addiction of some sort – perhaps you are finding it difficult to forgive someone –  or maybe you are struggling with an issue of some other kind.

Hand it over to Jesus in prayer today – and He’ll take it from you – if you’ll let go – and He’ll bless you in ways which will comfort and amaze you – He’ll work a miracle in your life.

He has changed my life – and the lives of millions of people – He can change yours too.

But will you let go ??

Mmmmmmmmm – It’s a thought isn’t it !

AMEN.

 Benediction

And now –

 Go out in love, peace, hope and joy –

Go with God’s love in your heart – and his hand on your shoulder, watching and guiding you in all you say and do..

And may the blessing of almighty God – Father- Son – and Holy Spirit – be with you all – may he be with your families – your friends and all who you know and love – and ought to love – this day and everyday.

Amen

Take care, God Bless you, and your loved ones.

Stay safe.

Food Angels FOODBANK scheme at Port Glasgow is closed until further notice

Food Angels FOODBANK scheme at Port Glasgow is closed until further notice

Assistance to those whom they helped is now being provided by the Salvation Army at 19 King Street Port Glasgow PA14 5JA where the Officer in Charge is Lt. Ian Arthur.

 In these difficult times it is probably not desirable to pass on gifts in kind but monetary donations would be appreciated.

 As the foodbank project has been well supported by our congregation I would ask you to make this news widely known among your Elders’ districts.

Church Services in Kilmacolm Old Kirk and ST Columba are cancelled until further notice

Subject: Guidance from Church of Scotland

Church of Scotland – Covid-19 Briefing 17th March 2020 – Cancellation of Services and other information

The Church’s Covid-19 Task Group met this morning, and considered the most recent advice from the Scottish Government, issued on the evening of Monday 16th March, available here. This information from the Scottish Government takes precedence over the briefing note issued by myself at 17:53 on 16th March 2020.

The Scottish Government advised that people should minimise social contact by avoiding crowded areas and large gatherings, including religious congregations, and smaller gatherings, listing areas which were of concern.

Worship – Cancellation of Worship Services

In the light of the above, the Church of Scotland Task Group has agreed to ask, in the strongest terms, that all gatherings for worship should cease until further notice, with effect from Wednesday 17th March 2020, or earlier if possible. Other Scottish Churches are taking similar actions.  This obviously includes Easter services.  Some Presbyteries have already instructed this action. This will include, but not be restricted to, housegroups, meetings for youth work, and church cafes.  It will still be possible for an individual to offer a livestreaming of a sermon and prayers. Further information on livestreaming, including information on copyright, can be found in this circular on the Law Department’s webpages.  Sunday broadcasts of a weekly service take place on Radio 4, and also on Radio Scotland; other radio stations are available.

 Church buildings can be kept open as a place for people to come and pray. Notices should be clearly displayed asking that visitors observe robust hand hygiene, including washing their hands on entry to the church.