Author Archives: Mike Jefferis

Online Sunday Service – 24th January 2021

Good morning folks, how are you? Keeping warm and safe I hope. Here is this weeks Sunday Service if you would like to sit back, relax and listen to it. We are looking at the 23rd Psalm and seeing how important it is to our everyday lives. It has an important message for us if we are willing to hear it. So why not grab a cuppa and take some time to see what it has to say to you. Take care, keep safe and God bless. Iain

Audio Version

Printed Version

 

The 23rd Psalm

 

Good morning, How are you this morning? Keeping safe and well I hope.

 

In today’s service we will be taking a closer look at that most loved of Psalms – Psalm 23.

And we see how it’s the same message as Jesus preached many years later.

And a message we very much need to hear today.

 

Circumstances may change but God’s love and care for His people never changes.

 

But before that, let us share a  prayer ~

 

Almighty and all Loving God, we come to you this day to give you our heartfelt thanks for all your goodness and all the many blessings that you give to us each day.

You bless us far beyond anything we could ever ask for or deserve. And we thank you.

 

Bless those who feel lost and alone. Bless those who have drifted away from your way of love, respect and care for others.

You are our great Shepherd and we pray that you will lead us all back on to your path and lead us along life’s road, walking with us, talking with us too, if we have the ears to hear you.

Forgive us for the times we are “too busy” to talk to you – to listen to you. And for the times we say and do things who must disappoint you.

We ask for your forgiveness – and in Jesus name.

Lord, hear our prayers – and hear us now as we pray together in faith – 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.

 

Our Reading for today is that well known and well loved – Psalm 23.

Let us listen to God’s word –

Readings  :  23rd Psalm

 

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want..
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

 

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.”

Amen.

 

This the Word of the Lord – thanks be to God

 

SERMON

 

 

Many people – including myself – love the Psalms.

Their ancient wisdom and spiritual depth still have much to say to us today.

They offer us a wealth of advice, understanding and comfort.

And perhaps the most well known Psalm of them all – is Psalm 23.

 

It was written by King David – the father of King Solomon.

 

And his description of God being like a Shepherd – gives us an image of how God tenderly watches over us and cares for us.

 

The KING David was of course the boy SHEPHERD David who once killed the Giant with a simple slingshot and a pebble.

And so he knew, first hand, what God’s strength and support can do.

 

As King he was encountering trouble all around him – and this was David reminiscing – looking back to happier days when everything seemed so much simpler.

 

Isn’t that what many of us do when things get complicated ? – we look back to happier days.

 

In this Psalm David is reminding himself – and us – that we have a great God of comfort who provides and cares for us, even in the tough times.

Perhaps that’s one reason why this Psalm means so much to us.

 

And that is why it is so popular at Funerals  –  a time when we look for comfort and reassurance the most.

 

But this Psalm isn’t just for Funerals.

 

It has a wonderful message for us even in today’s ‘high – tech’ world.

It doesn’t say that we will not suffer grief or sorrow – but it does say that whatever we go through – whatever we suffer – God goes with us.

 

I’d like to read that Psalm to you now – but in a slightly different form from the way we usually hear it ~ but perhaps that will help us to see it’s true meaning ~ as well as it’s beauty and relevance to our own everyday lives.

Think if as being written by someone who knows you very well – written just for you – and then I hope you will see  – that actually is was!

This version is called ~

 

The Lord is your Shepherd

 

The Lord is your shepherd

And you are one of his flock,

 

He watches over you like a good shepherd watches over his sheep,

 

He feeds you and gives you cool water when you are thirsty.

 

And when things get too much for you –

He gives you the extra strength you need

To help you through your troubled times and out in to that place of peace and tranquillity

which he sets aside for each and every one of us.

 

He keeps you on the straight and narrow path of what is right and proper –

Just like he promised you he would.

 

And even when things are at their very worst

You need not be afraid

Because god is always with you,

Comforting you and keeping you safe.

 

You are special to him

And he gives you all you need to live

A good and wholesome life..

Providing you with everything

You could ever want – aye – and so much more beside.

 

With God looking after you this way –

You should know that He loves you.

*

And so – when the end of your days shall come,

As come they surely will –

You will have the joy and comfort of knowing that He will not forsake you – even then.

He will take you home,

To a room He has prepared just for you

 

And there you will live with him,

Your Saviour – in peace – at his side,

Forever more.

Amen

 

What lovely words of comfort !

 

If you would like a copy of this version I shall post it on my Facebook Page – or message me and I can send you one.

 

The 23rd Psalm – a beautiful and familiar Psalm to us all – and perhaps it’s enduring quality is that it touches at the very heart of each one of us.

And that’s because it touches us all in a deep place – a place where, even in this ‘high-tech’, modern world – we all have that basic human need to feel loved and cared for.

 

The Psalm tells us that in a busy world – in a world where things don’t always go as we’d planned – where we have our ups and downs, our joys and our sadness – in a world where things can sometimes get dark and scary – this psalm reminds us that God is with us through it all. He doesn’t walk away when things get difficult – indeed, that’s the very time he draws closer !

 

Doesn’t it say ~ “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.   I will fear no evil, for you are with me” ?

 

It’s a wonderful message for us – especially at those difficult times when we can feel alone and down-hearted.

“You’re not alone !” – it says – “your God walks with you – carrying you through the “valley of the shadows” kind of days – and out into that sunshine which awaits all who put their trust in Him.”

 

This is not empty rhetoric – no false claim – but a firm and absolute promise to you – to me and to all who open their hearts and minds to allow Him in.

 

*

This business of “being with you” is one that God has promises to His people as far back as the days of the wandering Israelites’, and before.

 

Joshua 1:9  says –

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”

 

Psalm 46:1-3 says –  

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in troubled times.”

 

Isaiah 41:10  –

“So do not fear, for I am with you”

 

In Matthew 1:22–23 we hear the Angel telling Mary  – “You will have a Son and they will call Him “Immanuel’ which means “God is with us.”

 

Jesus said ““I will never leave you nor forsake you, I will always be with you.”

 

And –

John 1:14  tells us – “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…”

 

This message of a faithful God has endured throughout the ages – and remains as strong today as it ever was.

Through good and bad times, through sunshine and rain – He promises to be with us, walking beside us through those ‘valley of the shadows’ kind of days.

 

And that is what He wants us, you and I, to know for ourselves – and to share with others.

But it won’t be easy.

 

In a more ‘sophisticated’ yet cynical world many believe they are ‘self sufficient’, no need for God, they say.

But for those of us who know what it is like to have God in our lives, can’t imagine what life would be without His support, His strength, His care and His love for us.

Knowing Him, knowing that He is there right beside us –  is quite literally – life changing.

 

Why wouldn’t we want that for our families and for ourselves?

 

Matthew 7:7 says “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.”

Are you asking, are you seeking, are you knocking??

 

I hope and pray that you are.

And so come to know all these things for yourself – that you might pass them on to others so they will come to know all these wonderful Blessing for themselves.

 

And in Jesus’ precious name.

Amen.

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

 

Here’s a story that I am fairly sure I have told you before. But there will be those who haven’t heard it so bear with me as I share it again – I think it stands telling twice.

There was a party in full swing – one of the guest  was a well know actor with a lovely deep, rich voice.

 

The other guests prevailed upon him to recite something for them – and after very little persuasion – he cleared his throat and in his best ‘actorial’ voice- he began to recite the 23rd psalm.

His pronunciation was perfect and his presentation of the subject was superb.

 

The group sat enthralled – and when he finished- he took a long, slow bow – and was warmly applauded by all present.

 

The guests then asked if anyone else would like to do their ‘party piece.’

And rather nervous young woman stood up and asked if anyone minded if she sung the 23rd psalm as it was one of her favourites in church.

Some of the guests looked at each other – not sure if they really wanted another ‘holy bit’ in the proceeding – but eventually agreed thinking – oh well – it’s soon be over and it’ll keep her happy.

So the young girl – who was a student and far from home – began to sing  “the Lord’s my shepherd – I’ll not want – He makes me – down to lie…” and so on – and as she sang – tear came down her face – and you could hear a pin drop.

Lumps started appearing in throats and soon tear flowed around the room..

 

When she finished there was complete silence.

 

“That was absolutely beautiful” one lady said – “how did you mange to put so much feeling into your voice  – that was far more moving than the actors’ recital?” – said another.

 

“Well”  – the young girl said – “you see – he knew the words – whereas – I know the Shepherd!”

 

Do YOU know the Shepherd ? not just know about him – but know Him in your mind and in your heart?

 

I hope and pray that you do – but don’t worry if you don’t – it’s never too late – just ask, just seek, just knock – and all these thing will be given you.

And that’s a promise!

 

Much food for thought for us all.

Amen.

 

BLESSING

 

May the great shepherd watch over you –

 

And the Lord bless you and keep you,

May the Lord make his face to shine upon you

And be gracious to you.

May He look kindly on you

And give you peace.

 

AMEN

 

Take care and May God Bless you – and your loved ones.

Have  a good week – and Please – keep safe.

 *

Be sure and look out for the Midweek ‘Meditation’ which is Posted every Wednesday Morning.

*

 “Be still and know that I am God”

Psalm 46 : 10

Midweek Meditation – Wednesday 20th January 2021

Good morning all, I trust you are all keeping as well as is possible in the present circumstances. Here is your opportunity to sit at peace for a few minutes and listen to this weeks Reflection. I hope you find it helpful. Please take care and God bless. Iain

Audio Version

Printed Version

 

“You are wonderfully made…”

 

Good morning folks,

How are you today? Well I hope and managing to keep safe.

 

As you will have noticed I often begin my services with asking “How are you?”

I know you can’t answer me, but I ask because so many of us are struggling in different ways and perhaps it’s nice to know that someone cares enough to ask.

 

I often find myself struggling – add to that the feeling that I am just one person, making my way through life on a small planet in a massive Universe – it’s easy to understand how humans can often feel a wee bit insignificant at times.

Just look up to the night sky on a clear night, it can be quite overwhelming.

 

The Bible says that compared to God, we are like ‘grasshoppers’ (see Isaiah 40:22).

Not very flattering!

 

God is the Creator of the whole Universe, including all the billions of billions of planets, star`s, black holes etc (see Isaiah 40:26). In comparison to Him – “our nations are just a drop in a bucket.” (see Isaiah 40:15).

 

That doesn’t really make me feel any better – until I remember this one thing – this is the same God who made me.

He made me (and you), the Bible tells us “with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with unfailing kindness, He says.” (See Jeremiah 31:3).

 

So if you are feeling down and things are getting on top of you, if all your “get up and go – has got up and gone” – never forget that the great Almighty God of the Universe, knows YOU and He loves you so very much.

He knows us better than we know ourselves – He knows all our faults, our failings  – our strength and our weakness – and yet He loves us still.

 

And that is a wonderful promise, made to you, to me and to all who open their hearts and their minds to Him.

 

The writer of Psalm 139:14 says –

“I praise you O Lord because I am wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.”

* *

Let us Pray ~

Loving, listening Lord, thank you for this amazing world, with all its beauty and its splendour – all made that we might enjoy and experience the wonder of your creation.

Thank you too for making each one of us – all different, all ‘wonderfully made’ in your own image but all special in your eyes. Lift us up when we feel low, keep us mindful of your many blessings and may we never be afraid to tell others of your greatness.

Amen.

 

As you think about all this – let me leave you with the words of  Psalm 8 : 1, 3 – 5

A psalm of David.

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory in the heavens.

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels.
and crowned them with glory and honour.”
Wow! I don’t know about you – but I’m feeing better already!   I hope you are too!

 

Now that really IS something for us to think about this week!            Don’t you think?

*

 

Take care and May God bless you

                and your loved ones.

Amen.

Hope your week is going well –

                            And please – keep safe…

Online Sunday Service – 17th January 2021

Good morning folks, I hope that you are well. Please find this weeks Sunday Service below should you wish to take a few minutes and listen to it. It’s about the first Miracle Jesus ever performed and what it means for you and for me in our own lives. Take care, keep warm and God Bless. Iain.

Audio Version

To listen click on the word Facebook

Printed Version

Good morning all

Well, as I write this, the snow is lying all around, reminding us that Winter is still very much with us.

Keeping warm is essential, more especially for our elderly and vulnerable. Let’s keep our eyes open for those who might be having to choose between heating or eating. For the most of us, there will be someone not too far away who is struggling, so a wee knock on their door to ask if there is anything they need would be most welcome. Yours may be the only other voice they hear today.

 

Today we are thinking about the beginning of the Ministry of Jesus. He has been Baptized and was now ready to start on His incredible ‘Mission Earth’ – but before He could get going, He, His mum and some of His close friends were invited to a Wedding.

 

But before that, let us pray ~

PRAYER

 

Loving Lord, as we sit in our various homes, we take time to tell you that you are our amazing God – the God who gave us life and sustains us each and every day.

 

We bring your our thanks for all your goodness – and we fell safe in the knowledge that whatever life may throw at us – you are alongside us, watching, guiding and supporting is as we go.

Thank you Father – how blessed we are.

 

Forgive us for the times we put ourselves before others – for the times we fail to see the needs of those around us – seeing only our own desires, wishes and needs.

 

Forgive us for praising you with our lips – but denying our love for you by our conduct.

 

Lord, help us to be ambassadors for you in our communities, our work and our homes – so that we might lead others to come to know you for themselves.

Listening Lord, be with us now as we bring to you all our worries and concerns– safe in the knowledge that you will take them from us and still our hearts and minds.

 

And hear us as we bring to you our own private and personal prayers of confession for those things we have said, done or thought which we know goes against our claim to be a good Christian. Forgive us father -and hear now as we gather all these thought together – our silent prayers. ….now we take a few moments for own personal prayers……………..

 

Forgive us, and bless us, we pray.

 

Lord, hear our prayers – and hear us now as we pray together in faith – 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.

 

PREAMBLE TO READING

 

In our reading for this morning we hear of the very first miracle that Jesus performed – changing the water into wine at a friends wedding.

 

But is that all there is to this that well known story ?

 

MMmm – we’ll see in a moment…

 

Let’s hear God’s word –

READING – John 2 : 1 – 11 New Living Translation

The Wedding at Cana

The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration.

 The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”

“Mother, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” 

When the jars had been filled, he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions.

When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over.

 10 “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!”

11 This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory.   And his disciples believed in him.”

 

Amen.

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

 

SERMON

 

I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU – BUT I LOVE A GOOD WEDDING.

 

THE BRIDE LOOKING BONNIE – THE GROOM  HANDSOME IN HIS KILT – AS DOES HIS BEST MAN.

 

THE BRIDESMAID AND THE GUESTS ALL DRESSED TO KILL (NOT LITERALLY, OBVIOUSLY! J )

AND THERE IS A LOVELY ATMOSPHERE AS NOT ONLY TWO PEOPLE, BUT 2 FAMILIES – AND THEIR FRIENDS – SHARE IN A HAPPY DAY…

*

 

JESUS had been baptized but HADN’T CALLED HIS FIRST DISCIPLES YET – AND THERE WAS MUCH TO DO – MANY THINGS TO ACCOMPLISH – AND YET WE SEE HIM TAKING SOME TIME OUT TO ENJOY A LOCAL WEDDING.

EVEN AT THIS EARLY STAGE – JESUS KNEW THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING INVOLVED IN THE EVERYDAY LIVES OF EVERYDAY PEOPLE – PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND I.

 

HE KNEW THAT HIS MISSION – AS SIGNIFICANT AND WORLD CHANGING AS IT WAS – WENT HAND IN HAND WITH THE LIVES OF ORDINARY PEOPLE.     PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND i.

 

UNLIKE THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS OF THE DAY – JESUS WAS A ‘PEOPLE PERSON’ – A ‘MAN OF THE PEOPLE’ – WHO LOVED TO GET TO KNOW PEOPLE – SEE HOW HE COULD HELP THEM, AND SO CHANGE THEIR LIVES FOR THE BETTER.

 

AND HERE HE WAS – MINGLING – CHATTING – SOCIALIZING – AS WE DO AY WEDDINGS.

 

NOT ONLY CHANGING WATER INTO WINE – BUT TRANSFORMING THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THOSE WHO SAW WHAT HE COULD DO.

“IF HE CAN DO SUCH AN AMAZING THING” THEY MAY WELL HAVE THOUGHT – “THEN HE SURELY IS – THE VERY SON OF GOD.”

 

IT SHOWS US – THE IMPORTANCE OF SHARING OUR FAITH WITH OTHERS.

 

IT’S NOT ABOUT BEING A ‘BIBLE BASHER’ OR A ‘HOLY WILLIE’ – BUT BEING A GOOD CHRISTIAN PERSON WHO CARES ABOUT THE LIVES OF OTHERS – WHO LEAVES A GOOD IMPRESSION – WHO PLAYS YOUR OWN HUMBLE PART IN THE TRANSFORMATION OF the lives of THOSE YOU AROUND YOU.

 

95% OF JESUS’ MINISTRY – WAS SPENT WALKING, TALKING, SHARING – WITH EVERYDAY PEOPLE – PEOPLE LIKE US – PEOPLE WE SEE ALL AROUND US IN SOCIETY.

 

pEOPLE, WITH ALL THEIR ISSUES AND WORRIES – IN THEIR TIMES OF SADNESS AND THEIR TIMES OF JOY.

 

HIS KINDNESS – HIS FAITH – GAVE AN EXAMPLE – A HOPE AND A FAITH – TO THOSE WHO MET HIM – AND TO COUNTLESS MILLIONS EVER SINCE.

*

BELIEVE IT OR NOT – BUT YOUR LIFE HAS AN EFFECT ON THOSE AROUND YOU.

 

THE WAY YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE – HOW YOU ACT –  RE-ACT AND INTER-ACT WITH OTHERS – ALL SHOWS WHO YOU REALLY ARE – AND IF YOU HAVE A FAITH – IT SHOWS THAT TOO.

 

DO YOU REMEMBER THAT SAYING OF St FRANCIS OF ASSISI – WHEN HE WAS ASKED BY A STUDENT HOW HE CHANGED THE LIVES OF so many of the people HE MET – HE REPLIED – PREACH THE GOSPEL AT ALL TIMES – AND WHEN NECESSARY – USE WORDS!

 

HE “LIVED” THE GOSPELS – IN HIS EVERYDAY LIFE – AND WHEN PEOPLE SAW HIS FAITH – HIS CHARACTER – THEY TOO WERE CHANGED.

 

THIS IS WHAT JESUS WAS DOING AT THAT WEDDING IN CANA – AND IT’S WHAT WE – AS CHRISTIANS – ARE ALSO CALLED TO DO TOO.

 

‘OH DEAR!’ – YOU MIGHT BE THINKING – “THIS SOUNDS LIKE i’M GOING TO HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!’

 

MAYBE THAT’S WHAT JESUS THOUGHT WHEN MARY ASKED HIM TO HELP – HE WAS CERTAINLY RELUCTANT!

 

WE SEE THAT IN VERSE 4 OF OUR N.T. READING – WHEN JESUS SAID – “WHY DO YOU INVOLVE ME!? – MY TIME HASN’T COME YET !”

IN OTHER WORDS – DON’T ASK ME ! – I’M NOT READY TO DO THAT KIND OF THING!’

 

PERHAPS HE WAS NERVOUS.

AFTER ALL – IT WAS HIS FIRST TIME – BUT  WITH A LITTLE ENCOURAGEMENT – HE STEPPED UP AND SHOWED THOSE PRESENT – THE AMAZING, TRANSFORMING POWER OF GOD.

 

and IF WE’RE TOTALLY HONEST – MANY OF US ARE RELUCTANT TOO – BUT WITH A LITTLE ENCOURAGEMENT – WE CAN SHOW OTHERS THE TRANSFORMATION IN OUR OWN LIVES – AND SO ENCOURAGE THEM TO CONSIDER DOING THE SAME.

 

*

YOU SEE – IF WE THINK THAT THIS MIRACLE IS ALL ABOUT THE WINE – we would be seriously missing the point.

 

IT’S ABOUT THE ACT OF TRANSFORMATION – IT’S ABOUT THE ABILITY TO TRANSFORM THINGS FROM WHAT THEY WERE – INTO WHAT THEY CAN BE – IT’S ABOUT TAKING EVERYDAY, ORDINARY, MUNDANE THINGS – LIKE WATER – LIKE OUR LIVES – AND THROUGH THE POWER OF CHRIST – CHANGING THEM INTO SOMETHING FAR SWEETER – FAR MORE ENRICHING – SOmething so UNBELIEVABLY DIFFERENT.

 

THAT’S WHAT IS accessible AND ABSOLUTELY AVAILABLE TO PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND i – AND TO OTHERS – IF THEY BUT KNEW IT!

BUT HOW CAN THEY KNOW WHAT AWAITS THEM – UNLESS SOMEONE TELLS THEM?

 

HOW CAN THEY KNOW ABOUT THE LOVE THAT GOD HAS FOR THEM?

 

HOW CAN THEY KNOW THAT HE HAS A  PLAN FOR THEIR LIVES WHICH INVOLVES A BOY FROM GALILEE, BECOMING A MAN FROM HEAVEN – WALKING BESIDE THEM THROUGH THEIR LIVES – AND STEPPING INTO ETERNITY WITH THEM?

HOW CAN WE KNOW UNLESS WE COME AND HEAR IT FOR OURSELVES ?   HOW CAN THEY KNOW –  UNLESS SOMEONE TELLS THEM?

 

AND THAT’S WHERE YOU AND I COME IN – WE MUST TELL THEM IN THE NAME OF THAT WEE BABY BOY WHO WAS BORN IN BETHLEHEM  JUST A FEW SHORT WEEKS AGO – OR HAVE WE FORGOTTEN SO SOON!?

 

THAT’S THE MESSAGE – THAT’S THE CHALLENGE – BUT THAT’S NOT ALL !

AS THE IRISH COMEDIAN USED TO SAY – “THERE’S MORE!”

 

AND IT’S AT VERSE 10 – WHERE THE ‘mASTER OF THE BANQUET’ –THE ONE OVERSEEING THE ARRANGEMENTS – SAYS “ EVERYONE USUALLY BRINGS OUT THE BEST WINE FIRST – AND THEN THE CHEAPER WINE – WHEN THEY’VE HAD A FEW DRAMS NOBODY WILL NOTICE ! –

 

BUT (AND HERE’S THE IMPORTANT LINE) “BUT YOU – HAVE SAVED THE BEST TILL LAST!”

 

AND THAT’S THE POINT – THE IMPLICATION THAT THIS PASSAGE HAS FOR YOUR life – AND MINE – AND FOR THOSE AROUND US.

 

AND IT’S THIS ~

THAT FOR AS RICHLY BLESSED AS WE ARE IN OUR LIVES – THE BEST IS YET TO COME !!

 

GOD’S LOVE FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THOSE WHO RESPONDS TO HIS LOVE – WILL KNOW AN OVER ABUNDANCE OF HIS GENEROUS BLESSINGS.

AND AT THE LAST – THAT DAY OF SORROW WILL BECOME THE DAY OF JOY FOR YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES – AS HE RECEIVES YOU INTO HIS KINGDOM FOR ALL ETERNITY –TO LIVE IN PEACE AND TRANQUILLITY IN THAT MOST WONDERFUL OF PLACES – WITH THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE US.

THAT’S HIS PROMISE – AND PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW THAT – WE NEED TO TELL THEM.  FOR EACH ONE OF US – AND FOR OUR LOVED ONES – THE BEST REALLY IS – YET TO COME !!

 

AND IT’LL BE BETTER THAN ANYTHING WE HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED BEFORE.

 

it’s A BREATHTAKING TRANSFORMATION that we all have TO LOOK FORWARD TO.

 

AND WHAT A WONDERFULLY COMFORTING THOUGHT FOR US TO TAKE AWAY WITH US TODAY AND THINK ABOUT –

TO PRAUY ABOUT –

 

 

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.

 

‘THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK’

Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth’s rite of passage?

His father takes him into the forest…blindfolded…and leaves him….alone.

He must sit on a stump the whole night…and not take off the blindfold until the ray of sun shines through it.

He is all by himself.

He cannot cry out for help to anyone.

Once he survives the night…he is a MAN.

He cannot tell the other boys of this experience. Each boy must come into his own manhood.

 

The boy was terrified…could hear all kinds of noise…Beasts were all around him. Maybe even some human who would hurt him.

The wind blew the branches of the trees… and it shook the tree stump on which he was sitting.

But he sat there, determined not to give up and remove the blindfold.

Finally, after a horrific night…the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. He blinked a few times – and it was then that he saw his father…sitting on the tree stump next to him…at watch…the entire night.

We are never truly alone.

Even although we do not know it, our Heavenly Father is always watching over us – and when we realize that – our lives will be transformed – we will never be the same again….

That is what God Promises to us.

 

Now THAT IS food for thought for us all !!

Amen.

 

BLESSING

 

And now – go in love, joy and peace –

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 – be with your families and all who you know and love – and ought to love – this day – and everyday.   Amen.

 

And now a few verse of my favourite praise song – “standing on the promises…”

 

Take care and May God Bless you – and your loved ones.

 

Have  good week – and Please – keep safe.

 

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Be sure and look out for the Midweek ‘Meditation’ which is Posted every Wednesday Morning.

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 “Be still and know that I am God”

Psalm 46 : 10

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Midweek Meditation – Wednesday 13th January 2021

Midweek Meditation

13.1.21

“Let us encourage one another..”

Good morning, here is this weeks Midweek Meditation if you would like to take a few minutes to sit and listen to it. I hope you are all managing to keep safe and warm. Take care and God bless. Iain

Audio Version

To play the video click on the word ‘facebook’.

Printed Version

Good morning –

How are you today ?

I hope you are managing to cope with this latest Lockdown – it looks like it’s set to continue for some time yet…I’m afraid…

Being locked down – or is it ‘locked up!?’

is bad enough but if there are a few of you in the household – we can might get on each others’ nerves,  or rub each other up the wrong way, and tensions can rise.

But being alone, seeing no-one all day, everyday can be tough too.

Just imagine if you are both elderly and poorly – as well as being isolated – that IS tough!

Of course there are many who don’t have to imagine what that’s like, for them it is an everyday reality.

*

Being isolated goes against our very  nature – we are social creatures and crave the company and interaction of others. Well, most of us do.

 

God created us  to live in community with each other, mutually dependent and supporting each other.

Just like the parts of the human body – all different but all important and necessary to make the whole body work.

 

God tells us in 1st Corinthians that “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many different parts, they form one body”

(1st Corinthians 12 : 12).

 

We are all different,  but we form one society – working together, helping each other, looking out for each other –  for the good of us all.

More so in these times.

 

1st Thessalonians 5 : 11 tells us ~

“Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up…”

Many of you are already helping others in some way, and that’s exactly what God wants us to do.

 

But there are many, for whatever reason,  who are not able to physically help others – but you can still play an important part – by Praying.

And we can all do that at this time of self isolation…

 

There are so many in the world who need your prayers.

 

Why not set up a daily Prayer routine, praying for individuals or a particular group of people, for example – our front line workers,  the homeless, the growing number of children living in poverty, the terminally ill and their families – and so many others who need your prayers, now more than ever.

Why not phone your friends and ask them to pray for them too.

Perhaps you and a few friends could form a wee ‘Prayer group’

 

If you know of someone who is isolated, alone, struggling, then reach out to them – bring them into the fold, call them, ask them how you can help.

 

We are a family – each and everyone of us are brothers and sisters on this small planet which is spinning  in a mind blowingly enormous Universe.   If we don’t help – who will?

 

Hebrews 10:24

 

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.”

That’s what God wants us to do – to “love thy neighbour”  – and I hope and pray that we will. – Amen.

 

Food for thought for each of us.

*

Let us pray –

Almighty and all loving God, I thank you for your many blessings to me – so many blessings each day that I take  them for granted. Forgive me Father, it’s not that I’m not grateful, rather, in the comings and goings of everyday life seem to occupy my time and my mind.

Help me to be more grateful for all that is good in my life – and help me also, to see the needs of others and make it my business to help whenever and  wherever I can.

 

Bless all those who are struggling at this time, watch over them and remind those who are lonely  and feel neglected by society that there are lots of good people doing lots of good things.

Remind them too of your Great Love for them – for each one of us – and all this we ask, is in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Why not remain seated for a wee while and listen to this relaxing music – take a few deep breaths and chill out…………. Think about what you have heard today and think about how you can help someone.

Whether it be by prayer, a phone call or by dropping them a wee note…

 

Something for us all to think about….

 

Take care and may God bless you –

and your loved ones.

*

I hope your week is going well –

and please – keep safe.

 

*

Online Sunday Service – 10th January 2021

Good morning folks, here is this weeks Sunday Service. Today we are looking at the Baptism of Jesus, and as the Bible tells us that “all Scripture is for teaching” we know that there is a lesson here for our own lives, aye but what is it? Take a comfy seat and find out what that means for you. Take care and keep warm, God bless. Iain

Audio Version

 

Printed Version

Sunday Service

10.1.21

The Baptism of Christ

 

Good morning all, How are you today? Keeping safe and warm I hope. And remember that if you are struggling or in any kind of need, please contact one of the many helplines or phone numbers of those who will be more than happy and willing to help you.

 

Well, as you might have guessed from the that verse at the beginning – to day we are talking about Baptism – the Baptism of Christ to be precise.

He was baptized by His cousin, John the Baptist, in the River Jordan…

 

 

But before that, let us pray,

 

Almighty God, our God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, from our different homes, we unite in giving you our heartfelt praises and worship.

We come to acknowledge your greatness, to celebrate your great love for each of us.

What an amazing God you are.

 

You know each one of us better than we know ourselves – watching over us, wanting the best for us – wishing we would give our lives fully to you.

 

Help us, guide us we pray that we might take time out of our busy lives to learn more about your ways so that our lives might be more fulfilled, more contented and comforted.

Bless our families, friends, neighbours and those we love and those we ought to love.

 

Forgive us, we pray, when we wander from your path, saying, doing and thinking things which we know are not in accordance with your ways. Draw us back on to your path, living your way, so that through our everyday lives –  you can be proud of us, your faithful children.

 

Hear now our personal prayers of confession as we think of the times we fall short of what you would expect of us – and we bring them to you now – in our silent prayers – and we take a short time for our own private and personal prayers………and here we take time for your your own personal prayers…………………..

 

Forgive us Father, bless us we pray – and hear us now as we pray the prayer which brings us together as one family – your family – 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.

 

As I said earlier – today we are talking about the Baptism of Jesus.

 

And our reading is from Matthew’s Gospel is a narrative of all that took place on the banks of the River Jordan that day ~

 

 Matthew 3 : 13 – 17     New International Version – UK

 

“The Baptism of Jesus.”

Let us hear the word of God.

 

“As the crowds were gathering to be Baptized – Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, ‘I need to be baptised by you, and yet, you come to me?’

15 Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then John consented.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptised, he rose up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Amen.

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

That’s an amazing reading I always  think – it conjours up clear images in my head – and well – before we get too far – I’m sure you’ll be disappointed to hear that instead of a sermon – I’m going to read to you piece I wrote a few years ago – it’s called –

A Day Dream… or was it?

Perhaps you would like to make yourself comfortable and close your eyes and imagine the scene I am about to describe to you –

 

Look around, see of you can see the river, feel the breeze, see all that is going on – so relax and take it all in –

 

A Day Dream… or was it?

 

It was a lovely, warm summer’s day as I strolled beside the winding Highland stream. I would often go fishing there in it’s pools as a

as a child.

 

The soft wind was making patterns in the long green grass which blew this way and that, like corn blowing in a corn field.

I could hear the water guttering around the stones in the burn – the birds were singing their praises and giving thanks for such a beautiful day.

It was an idyllic scene – but my mind was troubled.

 

As I ambled along, taking in all that surrounded me, I struggled with many issues.

 

My life was in turmoil and my faith was in tatters. What was I to do? How could God let this happen? Hadn’t I always been a regular church goer, always willing to help out at coffee mornings or sell raffle tickets for charity?

As these thoughts raced through my mind, I noticed a wooden seat some way off. I often walked this way but hadn’t noticed it before.

As I got closer I saw a small brass plaque which simply said “All things bright and beautiful, the Lord God made them all” – I remembered the words from my Sunday School days and somehow they gave me comfort.

 

I sat on the seat and thought over my troubles and felt the heat of the wooden back rest which had been warmed by the sun, creep through to my skin, that gave me a measure of comfort too.

I felt my body relax and I must have dozed off for a few moments – but I was soon wakened by the sound of voices and splashing water.

 

Looking up I saw a group of men, women and children standing by the stream; they were wearing white robes, some were soaked and others dry. Some were laughing and others praying.

They were watching as a tall bearded man held the head of another man under the water for a few seconds.

The wee burn was now a flowing river and the group stood at what seemed to be a shallow crossing.

 

My instinct was to rub my eyes thinking it was a dream but after a few blinks I looked up – the group were still there! What was going on? Was I losing my mind, or perhaps hallucinating? I don’t know but I can assure you that I saw it all as clear as day.

 

Suddenly the man under the water burst up and out of the water, but it was the strangest thing, everything seemed to go into slow motion for a few seconds – like from one of those classic films.  He slowly appeared from beneath the surface and as he did so, a pure white dove came down and settled on his head.

 

The crowd gasped and then a great hush came upon them as they looked up towards the skies. It was as if they were listening to something or some-one; and then I heard it – “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased!” the voice said.

My mind and my heart were racing – was I witnessing…? Could he really be..? But how could it be?

Had I just witnessed the baptism of Jesus – but how could that be possible?

 

I know the Bible says that “nothing is impossible for God” but this seemed to stretch that a bit far.

 

‘Things like this don’t happen to people like me’ I thought – but it had!

 

I shook my head and rubbed my eyes once more – and when I opened them, all was silent. The group had gone, the river was now a stream again and the birds were singing as before.

I looked around, wondering if anyone else had seen this amazing scene – but I was alone, with not a sound except for the guttering burn, the birdsong and the warm breeze which caressed my face.

 

As I sat and pondered my short but powerful experience, I wondered if there was a reason or purpose to what had just occurred.

 

I thought about baptism and recalled the Minister once saying the baptism was about new beginnings – a throwing off of the old and putting on the new, renewing, rejuvenating and refreshing our lives.

And the Dove was a symbol of God’s blessing – giving the power to go out and begin a new life –  new, positive, way of life…

Then it struck me, hitting me like a bolt of lightning – that was it!

I was to put my old downhearted ways behind me, be positive and go forward with a renewed energy and strength, safe in the knowledge that I was not travelling alone.

 

I felt regenerated and motivated to sort my life out – not to leave it all up to God but to take responsibility for my life, and to work with God to change what needed to be changed.

 

I knew that some things would be harder to resolve than others , like my pain, my loneliness but at that moment I felt healed, if not in body then in mind and soul.

 

I could cope with whatever lay ahead, knowing that I was being held safely in the very palm of God’s hand – and that He had a plan for me, just as He has for each one of us.

 

If I was to be taken into that ‘heavenly’ place soon, then so be it, how wonderful that would be.

 

I would miss my family, of course, but I was certain that we would meet again – I new that there was NO WAY such a loving God would separate me from my loved ones either in this world or the next – and this would be but a temporary parting.

 

I saw that it isn’t just about attending church – coffee mornings or raffle tickets; it is about God’s love for me and more importantly – my love for him.

 

It isn’t about what is going on around me, but what is going on inside of me, in my heart.

 

I jumped up from that warm seat and as I hurried home.

 

I vowed to make amends for the many things that were wrong in my life, while I still had time.

I would ask forgiveness from those I may have upset – and visit my friends and tell them I love them.

I would count my blessings instead of numbering my troubles.

 

On that warm summer’s day, I realized just how very blessed I am – and how short was the time.

 

Open your heart and your mind to God – and you will be richly blessed too – and that is a promise.

Thanks be to God.

 

I have walked that way a few times since that day – but have never found that wooden seat again.

 

But it was just a day dream……. or was it??

 

Either way – it certainly changed my life..

*

Amen.

Let us pray –

All loving, listening Father – I thank you for always being there for me – in my sadness and my times of celebration.

Remind me that you are watching over me – caring for me – guiding me – if I would only take the time to hear your words to me.

.

You bless me beyond my deserving  – and for that I will be eternally grateful – and may I live a life worthy of your kindness – a life worthy of  being a “child in whom you can be well pleased.”

Amen.

 

Food for thought

 

We see from that baptism of Jesus –that the Holy Spirit came upon Him – in the form of a Dove – giving Him the power, the spirit, the HOLY spirit of God – changing him from a boy from Galilee to a ‘man on a Mission.’

It gave Him authority and purpose to go about God’s business.

 

Sometime we need a push, a kick start if you like – to go out and do what needs to be done… to fulfil our purpose, our calling – whatever that may  be.

 

I heard a wee story which might give us some ‘food for thought’ for us to take away and think about ~

People without a purpose are like Alice in the fairy tale Alice in Wonderland.

 

 In a conversation between her and the Cheshire Cat, Alice asked, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the cat.

“I don’t much care where I go,” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the cat.

Are you like so many in the world , not sure where to go – and even less sure how to get there.

You were created for a purpose – and you have an assurance that you have the wonderful love of Jesus as you travel along life’s road.

Some already know what God wants them to do.

Are you fulfilling God’s plan for your life – or are you just filling your days doing ‘this and that’ to pass the time?

If you’re not sure – ask God –

Think about it, pray about it and then set about it  – and one day – you too will know the joy of being received in to heaven and hear those wonderful words –

“Well done thou good and faithful servant – enter now into the kingdom of god

 

And that IS a promise  – in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

BLESSING

And now –

Live in Hope, Love and joy –

Live 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, friends, those you know and love, aye, and ought to love  – this day – and every day.

AMEN.

 

Take care and May God Bless you – and your loved ones.

 

Have  good week – and Please – keep safe

 

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You can also hear this Service on the Audio version.

 

Be sure and look out for the Midweek ‘Meditation’ which is Posted every Wednesday Morning.

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Midweek Meditation – Wednesday 6th January 2020

Good morning folks, Here is this week’s Midweek Meditation if you should wish to take a few quiet moments to listen and think about it. It tells of a 16th Century secret code. I hope you find it both interesting and thought provoking. It reminds us that there is much about the Bible and Faith that we don”t understand but that’s ok, there is a great and all seeing and all knowing God who does, and one day all will be revealed. Take care and keep safe. Iain

Audio Version

Printed version

Midweek Meditation

6th January 2020

On the 12 days of Christmas……

 

Good morning folks, I hope you are as well as you can be under these pretty extreme kind of circumstances.

 

Today is, of course, the 6th January, the 12th day after Christmas.

 

Is it only 12 days? It seems so much longer.

 

The day all the decorations should be down by – and it is also, and more importantly, the day of Epiphany –  the day of ‘enlightenment’ of understanding just who this Holy child really is.

He wasn’t just a ‘child in a manger’ but God’s own son.

The Magi  – through their gifts – foretold the world who this child was – and would be.

 

  1. Gold for a King,
  2. Frankincense, an incense used by priests
  3. And Myrrh, used in embalming, foretelling of His impending cruel death – all revealed that this child was the Saviour that the people had asked for – the Saviour that God had promised.

 

Prophet, Priest and King – all wrapped in in that wee baby boy.

 

The symbolism would not have been lost on the Holy men of the day.

*

There is much symbolism in and around Christmas, and as it is the 12th day – I thought I would share something with you that you may not we aware of.

 

But first let us pray –

Holy, Heavenly Father, we thank you for your great love for us – and for  sending your Son down to us so that we might know that love in our everyday lives. Christ came for us.

Bless those who have yet to know that love, and bless those whose lives are confused  and chaotic – bring to them an understanding of the role that Jesus can make to their lives – if only they would let Him in.

 

Give them, give us, a faith to trust and believe in His life giving, life saving power, even when we do not fully understand all of His ways.

Watch over us and all those we know and love in this brand new year. May it bring health, happiness and a faith filled, peace filled year.

And all this we ask is in the precious name of God’s only Son, our only Hope – Jesus Christ.

Amen.

 

*

 

What’s your favourite part of Christmas ??

Is it the presents – the food – or perhaps the tinsel or the Carols ?

 

One of the thing is like is the “12 days of Christmas song” – you know – with ‘Lord’s a leaping and Maids a milking and all that.

 

But just like Christmas itself – beneath that seemingly daft wee song  – there is a wealth of Christian history – and so –– I thought that we’d look at this Christmas song – and see what lies beneath this harmless song. Or is it?

 

You might be surprised to hear that it is actually a secret undercover code.

 

mmmmmmmmm tell me more !! –

 

Well – it was written in 16th century England – by two monks – at a time of much political and religious turmoil.

 

The Roma Catholics had been in  power and all things Protestant were banned.

 

And now the Protestants had gained political power and the Roman Catholic faith had been driven underground – and practicing such a faith was punishable by death.

 

And so our two ‘musical monks’ – wrote the “12 days of Christmas” – with seemingly silly and pointless lyrics – but just like the Christmas message itself – there is more to it than meets the eye.

 

And so let’s go through each day to see what it really says !!

 

 

The first day – ‘a partridge in a pear tree’ – relates to Jesus on the cross.

 

The second day – ‘two turtle doves’ – refers to the two parts of the bible – the Old and the New Testaments

 

The third day – ‘three french hens’ represents the 3 Wise men – and the three Biblical virtues – faith – hope and charity.

 

The fourth day – ‘the four calling cards’ are the 4 gospels – of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

 

The ‘five gold rings’ refer to the first 5 books of the Old Testament – once believed to have been written by Moses himself.

 

The ‘six geese a laying’ represent the six days of creation.

 

And the ‘seven swans a swimming’ refer to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit  – namely prophesying – serving – teaching – encouraging – helping others – leadership and mercy.

 

The ‘eight maids a milking’ – are the eight Beatitudes which Jesus spoke of in his Sermon on the Mount – blessed are the poor, those who mourn – the meek – those who hunger – the merciful – the pure in heart – the peacemakers – and those who are persecuted.

 

The ‘nine ladies dancing’ are the nine fruits of the spirit- namely – love – joy – peace – patience – kindness – goodness – faithfulness – gentleness and  self control – virtues that as christians – if we are filled with the holy spirit – we are to practice.

 

And the ‘10 lord’s a leaping’ are the 10 commandments .

 

The ‘11 pipers playing’ refer to the 11 faithful apostles (excluding Judas of course !)

 

And finally the ‘12 drummers drumming’ are in reference to the 12 beliefs outlined in the Apostles Creed – an it’s an affirmation of our faith – and that’s why we say it together at our Communion Services – when we say together – I believe in –

 

  1. GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY
  2. IN JESUS CHRIST
  3. IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
  4. THE VIRGIN MARY
  5. THAT JESUS DIED AND WAS BURIED
  6. THE RESURRECTION
  7. THAT HE COMES TO JUDGE THE QUICK AND THE DEAD
  8. IN THE CATHOLIC OR UNIVERSAL CHURCH
  9. THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS
  10. THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS
  11. THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY (OUR BODY WITH JESUS)
  12. IN THE LIFE EVER LASTING.

 

So you see – what was a simple little ditty – turns out to be  theological dialogue – set to music..!! It could be sung or recited in public as a statement of faith – buT without the danger of being arrested….

 

It also shows us that in matters of faith – in matters of Christmas – there is much more than at first meets the eye !

And even tho’ we may not FULLY understand it all – we place out trust in an all seeing, all knowing God, who does!

 

You see – Christmas is not just about a baby – but it’s about God coming into the world,

 

it’s not just about ‘saying’ we’re Christians and then living lives that bear no resemblance to his.

 

It’s about modeling ourselves on Him – following His ways – praying that God will forgive us our selfish and narrow ways – so that we might be filled with His Holy Spirit and so filled with those 7 gifts that the  seven swans a swimming  alluded to –

namely prophesying – serving – teaching – encouraging – helping others – leadership and mercy……

 

and if we’re working through a check list – how many of those have we yet to acquire ??

 

Christmas is about God coming into the world for ordinary, everyday people like you and I – showing us that he is not just for the high and the holy – but  for the poor and the lowly –

 

The unmarried mothers – like Mary.

 

Like the Shepherds – real, everyday people – people – like us – for the people that society so often shuns – yet Jesus showed himself first to them!

 

Christmas is about the church – the people of God – who come together – week by week – to learn about this wee baby – what He grew into – who He really was – is – and what we must learn from Him if we are to hope for a better life to come.

 

Christmas  – Christ – is about all this – and so much more

 

It’s about – as the Carol says – that ‘love which came down at Christmas’..

 

A love that stayed and is still here –

 

That love that He gives to us – and asks us to give to others – not just for the 12 days of Christmas – but all the year round !!

 

Now doesn’t that give us all something to think about?!

Amen.

 

Take care and God bless.

 

I hope your week is going well –

and please – keep safe.

Proposed Union between Kilmacolm Old and Kilmacolm St Columba

Proposed Union between Kilmacolm Old and Kilmacolm St Columba

In conjunction with Clyde Presbytery, the undernoted draft Basis of Union has been approved by both Kirk Sessions and a copy of this document has been issued to each member and adherent.

A period of 14 days is now allowed from 5 January 2021 during which members and adherents may submit to the Kirk Session questions about the Basis of Union which they wish to have answered.  A “questions and answers” document will thereafter be prepared by Presbytery in conjunction with the Kirk Sessions and this document, together with a ballot paper, will subsequently be issued to each member and adherent.

Leon Marshall

Session Clerk

THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND

 

CLYDE PRESBYTERY

 

Basis of Union of the Congregations of

Kilmacolm: Old and Kilmacolm: St Columba’s

 

The Congregations of Kilmacolm: Old (Scottish Charity Number SC009291) and Kilmacolm: St. Columba’s (Scottish Charity Number SC007992) shall be united at a date to be determined by the Presbytery, and that on the following conditions:

 

  1. Name:

            The name of the united congregation shall be Kilmacolm Parish Church of Scotland.

  1. Charity Number:

          The charity number of the new congregation shall be that currently held by St. Columba’s,

          SC007992.

  1. Transference of Property and Funds

The property and funds belonging to or on behalf of each congregation shall belong to or be held on behalf of the united congregation and any transference necessary shall be duly effected.

The issue of which sanctuary, chapel, halls, offices shall be used by the united congregation shall be determined by a committee of the Presbytery, appointed specially for this purpose, who shall act as arbiters.  Their decision shall be final and shall be binding on all parties.

All the property currently held by one of the current congregations (except the manse which is dealt with separately in clause 9) shall be retained by the united congregation.  The remaining properties held by the other congregation of shall be sold, let or otherwise disposed of subject to the approval of the Presbytery and the General Trustees. The free proceeds of any such sale or let shall (a) if falling within the scope of Act VII 1995, be credited to the benefit of the united congregation in the Consolidated Fabric Fund; or (b) if not falling within the scope of the Act, be held and applied for fabric purposes in connection with the properties of the congregation.

  1. Place of Worship

The sole place of worship of the united congregation for normal Sunday services shall be determined by the Presbytery and that decision shall be binding on all parties.

  1. Territorial Responsibilities

The bounds to be served by the united charge shall be the bounds of each of the congregations or as Presbytery shall determine.

  1. Kirk Session

The elders of both congregations shall form with the Minister or Interim Moderator the Kirk Session of the united congregation.

  1. Congregational Management

The temporal affairs of the congregation shall be administered in terms of the Unitary Constitution, the Delegation of Assembly being authorized to issue an appropriate deed of Constitution to the said congregation.

8       Minister: After the union has taken place, the united congregation shall proceed to the election of a minister.  In the first instance, the Nominating Committee shall be formed by electing six members from each of the former congregations with one additional member elected from the congregation with the larger communion roll.

  1. The Manse
    The manse of the Old Kirk shall be retained as the manse of the united church.  The manse of St. Columba shall be sold,let or otherwise disposed of subject to the approval of the Presbytery and the General Trustees. The free proceeds of any such sale or let shall be held and applied for fabric purposes in connection with the properties of the congregation.
  2. Ministerial support
    The stipend of the charge shall be paid in accordance with the terms of the National Stipend Scheme.
  3. Power to Readjust

While the above articles and terms shall form the Basis of Union for the two congregations now uniting, the united congregation shall be free, like other congregations, to adjust arrangements under the authority of Presbytery as need may arise.

Online Sunday Service – 3rd January 2021

Good morning all, I hope you are well and keeping safe. Please find this weeks’ Sunday Service here for you if you should wish to take a wee while to relax and listen to it. Take care and God bless. Iain

Audio Version

Printed version

Online Service

The visit of the Magi

 

 

Good Morning all,

How are you?  I hope you are managing to keep warm and well.

 

And may I begin by wishing you all a Healthy and Happy new year. I hope your festivities all went as well as they could in the current circumstances.

 

Today, our focus is on the Wise men who travelled to pay homage to the Heavenly baby, Jesus Christ.

 

This is the time of  “Epiphany’ which begins on the 6th January the “old Christmas day” – and incidentally that is the “12th Night” so  Wednesday is the last chance to take all your decorations down! J

 

But before we think about all that, let us pray.

 

Almighty and everlasting God,

We come to bring our worship and our praise, for you are the great and glorious God who

Gives us life and in all it fullness.

 

This is the day which reminds us

of how you led the Magi on their journey,

your light was with them —a guiding star,

a sign of your presence, a call to follow,

until they came to the place where the child lay.

Forgive us that we are so often closed to your guidance, unable or unwilling to see your guiding hand, more concerned with our own way than yours, reluctant to commit ourselves to anything when the final goal is not clear.

Forgive us for talking of faith as a journey, but not so willing to take that journey of faith, preferring instead to take a comfortable road of our own choosing, leading to a safe destination.

Receive us in all our weakness –

give us your strength –

and go with us on our way, we pray.

and

As we journey through life – help us to seek for those who are in need, the hungry and the homeless, the sick and the bereaved, those seeking understanding and peace in their lives.

May we help to bring light into their darkness and so show them the love of  your Son for all mankind.

 

Father, we know that our lives are not always as you would wish them to be – we go our own way, doing our own thing,  rather than following your ways.

 

Forgive us, we pray – guide us to find the Christ which came to show us the way to everlasting life, so that we might spend a life of joy and expectation of the glories yet to come.

 

Hear now our silent prayers Lord, as we bring to you our own prayers of confession – and for those we know and love – and for those we know who need a prayer this day…….

 

Hear us now  – as we gather all these thought and pray,  in the peace of our silence…

…… as we take a short time for your own, personal prayers………….

 

Forgive us father, bless us with your mercy and your grace, we pray.

 

Lord, we know that you hear us when we pray to you in Faith – so hear us now, as we say 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.

 

We have 2 Readings today…

 

Our O.T. Reading this morning is taken from the prophet Isaiah and prophesies the coming of one who is the ‘light of God’  – one who will dispel the darkness in which many in the world live.

And you might see an early prophesy too – of ones who will come bearing gifts.

 

And our second reading this morning tells of the visit of the Magi – the three wise men or three kings as they are sometimes called – again a well known story – but there is more to this visit than meets the eye –

 

Let us Hear the Word of God ~

 

Isaiah 60 : 1 – 3

The glory of Zion

60 ‘Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

6 Herds of camels will cover your land,
young camels of Midian and Ephah.
And all from Sheba will come,
bearing gold and incense
and proclaiming the praise of the Lord.”

And

Matthew 2 : 1 – 12

The Magi visit the Messiah

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written:

But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;  for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’

 

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.

10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”

Amen.

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

 

SERMON

Well – here we are –  3rd of January – the festivities are behind us – the celebrations over – resolutions made – and some already broken – and nothing left but the bills to pay.

 

Over the past couple of  weeks, we heard of the census, the trip to Bethlehem, the “no room at the inn”, the stable, angels, and the shepherds— all very familiar and rather comforting.

But there’s a danger that we let them become just “traditional”, like Christmas pudding and mince pies – that the familiar words just wash over us.

Christmas has gone – and now we really are ‘back to the old clothes and porridge!’ J

Christmas may be over – but the story, the message of Christmas is just begun.

But are we any the wiser for it? What have we learned – what have we understood?

Well –  if we look behind the words – read between the lines – we see that this is much more than a nice story to tell the children at Christmas – but a cosmic narrative of God’s own son – the one sent to bring us help and hope, coming quite literally , from heaven – into the daily – everyday lives of everyday people like you and I.

It’s an amazing story of God and of Angels – yet it’s also a very real and human story too – one that touches the lives of each one of us – if, as the Bible says – we have the ears to hear it – and the eyes to see.

So let’s have a closer look at this amazing story –

We know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem – why Bethlehem and not, say, Jerusalem?

Well – Bethlehem had a long history – much of which is recorded in the Old Testament for us.

It was here that Jacob had buried Rachel and set up a pillar of memory beside her grave – and we can read about that in Genesis chapter 48.

It was here, in Bethlehem that the humble gleaner Ruth had lived when she married Boaz – and that’s recorded for us in the book of Ruth.

But perhaps more importantly – Bethlehem was the home and city of David – that shepherd boy who slayed Goliath – and was later called by God to be a great king.

And it was this which lay in the minds and the psyche of the Jewish people – Bethlehem was a holy city – and it was from here, the prophets had foretold, that one day –  another king would come – from the line of David – but this would be the king of all kings – the Saviour, the Messiah – the Chosen one.

Well, that day had come – the Saviour was here – God had crept into the world with no sound other than the cry of a baby in that silent, holy night.

The Angels proclaimed his arrival – the Shepherds came to see – and Wise men came to pay Him homage.

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And these ‘wise men’ have always fascinated me.

 

Who were they ? Where did they come from ? Were they kings or just ‘wise’ men?

 

Some say there were philosophers – others say they were astrologers – and the very word ‘Magi’ sounds uncomfortably close to the word “Magic” doesn’t it?

 

Even their very names are unknown – although legend has it that they were called – Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar.

Persian holy men who were skilled in philosophy, medicine, natural science and interpreting dreams.

They watched the heavens for signs – they read the ancient writings – the world was in turmoil and unrest – and a feeling of eager expectancy was in the air.

 

The Jewish people greatly resented the Roman occupation and appealed to God for help.

 

And it was into this atmosphere that Jesus was born – the Saviour they had asked for – the Saviour God had promised.

 

And so, the wise men set out on their dangerous mission –  to see this wonderful occurrence for themselves.

 

Chronologically, it’s believed that it was some months after the Nativity scene that they actually reached the Holy family – but it is celebrated on the 12th day – which is the 6th January – the day of the Epiphany which means enlightenment,  illumination, finally understanding who this baby really is.

 

But I’d like to bring your attention to the last 2 verses of our N.T. reading ~ “then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said ~ “go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

 

Of course, Herod’s motives were led by his paranoia – he wanted this new ‘king of the Jews’ – this threat to his position and power – removed once and for all.

 

But God had other plans !…..

 

The words of Herod – might – with better motives – lead us to “go and make careful search for Jesus” for ourselves.

 

In some sense we are, or ought to be, like those wise men – some still searching for Jesus – others have found him and their lives are never to be the same, that they go back to their everyday lives changed people – they ‘return by another way.’

 

For those of you who have already found Him – you will know only too well the joy – the deep inner peace – which His presence brings to your everyday life.

 

For those of you who have yet to come to know Him – I encourage you to continue your search – many have given up along the way – but Christ is here, watching, waiting – willing you to open your heart to His love – and open your mind to the truth that this wonderful and awesome promise is there – just for you.

 

Don’t give up your search – don’t be put off –

And one day you will find him – He’s there, waiting for you

 

What a glorious day that will be !

 

Amen.

And may God bless this preaching of His holy word – and may all the glory and the praise – be His.

 

Let us pray ~

Lord Jesus Christ, though the journey is long and I encounter obstacles along the way, help me to keep searching to know you better, until that wonderful day when I enter the very gates of Heaven – into your kingdom and meet you face to face – and live there in eternal peace.

Amen.

 

Thee wise men brought Jesus gifts – what can we – what can you give to him?

 

Well – all he really wants is you – your life and your heart – and for that – he promises you a lifetime of hope and an eternity of love.

 

Sounds good to me – how about you??

 

Food for Thought

 

It was just after Christmas when I saw a poster outside a church with a picture of the Three Wise men on Camels – and a motto underneath which really made me think – and I hope it’ll make you think too –

 

So – I’d like to leave you with this thought – it is the words on the poster –

It simply said  –

 

WISE MEN SEEK JESUS…

 

….  DO YOU ??”

 

For your own sake – I truly hope and pray that you do – man or woman – because, you see, the rewards are, quite literally, out if this world!! And that’s a promise!

 

Food for thought for all of us.

Amen.

 

BLESSING

 

Go now in love – joy and peace –

 

Go and share God’s love, peace, hope and joy with all you meet.

 

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

 

Take care and May God Bless you – and your loved ones.

 

Have  good week – and Please – keep safe

 

*

Be sure and look out for the Midweek ‘Meditation’ which is Posted every Wednesday Morning.

*

And can I remind those of you who aren’t too far away from Kilmacolm, that our Murray Chapel is currently opened for a time of  personal Peace and Prayer, each day from Monday to Saturday from 11am – 1pm.

All welcome.

“Be still and know that I am God”

Psalm 46 : 10

*

 

Midweek Meditation – Wednesday 30th December 2020

Midweek Meditation

30 December 2020

 

Welcome to our Midweek Meditation.

Good morning folks, I hope this finds you well. Here is this week’s Midweek Meditation, the last of 2020 (is that a cheer I hear? 😀). I hope that You had a nice Christmas, albeit a very different one and I wish you Health and Happiness for 2021.

Audio Version

Printed Version

This week between Christmas and new Year is a strange week , it’s kind of “in limbo” kind of week.

But it gives us time to reflect on Christmas and prepare for the coming of a New Year.

*

Do you remember the days of ‘power cuts’?  When  the lights would go out and we would bring out the candles and torches and carry on as before.

Maybe it was a West Coast thing, but we don’t seem to have them anymore, or at least not so often. As children it was great fun , sitting in the dark reading a book with a torch – or looking out of the window to see all the other houses in the street in total darkness.  And when the lights came back on again we’d all give a great cheer!

 

It’s true to say that there are many today who are walking and living in darkness. No direction, no real focus – not seeing  the pitfalls which lie ahead of them. Wandering, stumbling down a path not knowing where it will take them.

Some choose that path – others find themselves there without knowing how they got there.

Maybe if we shine our own light around them they will see what a difference ‘living in the light’ can make to our lives, it might  help and encourage them to turn to the one who is ‘The Light of the World.’

By your example, you could change someone’s life – bringing them from a darkness into God’s saving light – isn’t that something worthy of a great cheer!?

 

Proverbs 4 : 18 – 19

 

18 The path of the honourable is like the light of dawn,
shining brighter and brighter until it is day.
19 But the way of the lost  is like gloomy darkness.
They never know where they will stumble.”

 

Let us Pray –

Almighty and Loving God, we thank you for sending your Light into our dark world – in the form of that wee baby boy, born in Bethlehem – a light which shows the way to many who are lost and afraid. Father, this New Year, help us to help others see how much more pleasant life is – when living in the warmth and brightness of the light, your warm, life giving light, there for each one of us.

Amen.

 

1st Thessalonians 5 :5

 

 “For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night.” 

 

*

This year has been designated by a number of Faiths as the “Year of Light” –

Let our resolution be, this  New Year, to share our love and our light with others, more specially those who are struggling and in need.

Amen.

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I’d like to wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Peace-filled new Year when it comes…

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When I was a child in Sunday School – one of my  favourite hymns was “This little light of mine – I’m gonna let it shine..”    it always make me happy…

 

Take care and  God bless…

 

*

Play “This Little light of mine…”

 

I don’t know about you I’ll be humming that tune for the rest of the day!…

 

Have a good week – and please – keep safe…

 

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Online Sunday Service – 27th December 2020

Online Service – 27th December 2020

Good morning folks, I hope you are well and enjoyed a Happy Christmas. Please find the AUDIO version of today’s Sunday Service. Today we hear about the Shepherds ‘returning’ after all they had seen and heard, and think what that has to say to us as we ‘return’ to some kind of normality after the Christmas festivities. Why not find a quiet space and take a wee while to relax and listen to the service, and I hope that you will find something here which speaks to you and will give you some comfort and encouragement. And may I wish you all a Happy, Healthy and peace files New Year. God Bless. Iain

Audio Version

Printed version

Online Sunday Service

Returning Home

 

Good morning all, Welcome to our Sunday Service on this the 1st Sunday After Christmas.

I hope you had a good Christmas, if you are anything like us it would have been a very quite one – but needs must in such times I suppose.

Today we hear about the shepherds ‘returning’ after Christmas.

It prompts us to think about our own ‘return back to normality’ –  whatever ‘normal’ may be.

But before that –

Let us pray ~

 

PRAYER –

 

Loving Lord –  As we stand in the brink of a brand New Year – we gather here,  as your family – to bring you our worship and our praise – in the name of the one who came to give us new life, new hope – our dear Saviour, Jesus Christ.

We know that as we live and work and breathe – we are surrounded by your love, your compassion and your care. With you in our lives, we need nothing else – in you we are complete.

 

You are the God who changes lives – who turns us around – who offers us a new way to think and live and be.

You are the God  – OUR God who loves us with a love like we have never  – or could ever know without you.

 

Heavenly father – we know that you walk with us – you talk with us – and we know too that through your Holy Spirit you guide us along life’s road.

But we are also aware of our own arrogance in thinking that we know best – and often go off down paths which lead us away from you – and then we wonder why things go wrong for us.

 

Forgive us for going our own ways – following our own notions and agenda’s –

and help us to see that whatever life may put before us – whatever burdens or joys lay ahead – that your promise is that you will lift us up and carry us through – leaving the old, the damaged and the past behind us and bringing us into a new light and a new life – thanks to that day when Jesus died on the Cross – that day when He gave His life for us and cried – “It is accomplished !”

 

Forgive us for not appreciating the enormity of what He did for us – forgive us for not always being worthy of His great sacrifice – bless us with your mercy and your grace and help us to live as Jesus would want us to live – a life of love, compassion and forgiveness to others.

 

Lord, as we come to you this morning – we bring you our worries – our concerns – the hassles and the issues which bother us –

hear us as we sit now, for a few moments in silence, to hand them over to you – laying them at your feet so that you can lift up our burdens and carry them for us.

so hear us now as we hand over our anxieties you – and so cleanse and refresh ourselves for the week – the year, ahead.

 

And hear us now as we open our hearts and acknowledge those things which we have done, said or thought, which go against our claim to be good, Christian people – things which we now regret.   Hear now then, as we bring all these thoughts to you – in our own personal prayers of confession…………. ………….silence………

 

Forgive us Father. Renew us – re-invigorate us as we open our hearts and our minds to your saving love and compassion.

 

Lord we know that you hear us when we pray to you 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.

 

PREAMBLE TO READINGS

In our O.T. reading this morning – we hear part of a letter that King Hezakiah wrote to his people throughout Judah and Israel. He was a Godly man – and his letter urged them to return to God.

It’s a letter that might have been written for our society today – perhaps it was

 

And in our N.T. reading the theme of ‘returning’ continues. We hear of the Shepherds returning after their amazing experience at the birth of the baby Jesus.

 

Let us listen to God’s word.

 

2nd Chronicles 30 : 6 – 9  New International Version

At the king’s command, couriers went throughout Israel and Judah with letters from the king and from his officials, which read:

“People of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. Do not be like your parents and your fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see.Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the Lord. Come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.”

 

And

 

 

LUKE 2 : 8 – 20   New International Version

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”

Amen.

 

 

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

 

 

SERMON

 

Well – that’s the Christmas festivities just about over – the heartburn is a fading memory – and later this week we celebrate the coming of a New Year.

 

And after all the festivities – we’ll soon be ‘back to the old clothes and porridge’ – as the saying goes.

 

*

The Sunday after Christmas – has been called ‘steak pie Sunday’ – because after the feasting and the over – eating on Turkey or roast beef – this Sunday many people will be quite happy with something plain like ‘steak pie’.

*

The bills will soon be coming in – the presents will lost have their newness – and the darkness seems that bit darker now that the lights of Christmas are beginning to fade.

 

People will be returning to work – returning from holidays – returning from visiting family……..  Returning to ‘normality’ – (whatever “normal” is !) –

 

*

There are quite a few references to people “returning” – in the Bible.       We heard two of them this morning ~

 

Our O.T. reading told us of King Hezekiah’s wish that his people would return to God.

 

And of course – our N.T. reading this morning tells of the return of the Shepherds after their experience of that very first Christmas.

 

The Shepherds returned – verse 20 tells us – “glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard about and seen..”

 

They had experienced the most amazing Christmas ever – angels, Mary and Joseph – the Wise Men – and of course – at the centre of it all – the Saviour of the World – in the form of that wee baby – born in a byre in Bethlehem – the Christchild – Jesus Christ.

 

What a time it must have been for them !  Humble shepherds – simple – country folk – going about their everyday work – yet the first to hear the good news – witnessing the most amazing event the world has – or will ever know…  an event which was to change the world.

And they could say – “I was there!”

 

They were returning to their own particular version of ‘old clothes and porridge’ – returning to their sheep in the fields –

and on their way – they were “glorifying and praising God”....

 

The routine to which they were returning – like us – was the same as before – only this time – things were different.

 

They were different ! – after all they had ‘seen and heard’ – how could they ever be the same?

 

And how must they have felt ?? – difficult to say.  But we can imagine how we might feel if these things were to happen to us .

Could we ever return to being the same again?

 

How could we fail to be changed by all of that ? – how could we ‘return’ to being our old selves again ?

 

But perhaps that’s the point.

Perhaps we aren’t supposed to return to being our “old selves”  –  after the ‘Christmas experience’ !!…

 

Perhaps we are meant to see thing differently.  Perhaps we are  meant to return to our routine with a different eye – a new freshness – a new excitement – to carry on our lives with a new determination – ‘glorifying and praising God’ – for all we have ‘seen and heard’ about Jesus – this Christmas.

 

….pause….

 

Has Christmas changed us I wonder ? – and I don’t just mean our waistline or our bank balance !

 

Did we hear, feel, experience something which has given us food for thought?

 

Has Christmas really changed us – has it made any difference to us at all ? – or are we returning to the same old routine – as the same old people ??…….

 

Wouldn’t it be sad if that were the case ?

The Angels – Mary and Joseph, the Shepherds – the Wise Men – the birth of God’s own son – all of that – and all for what ? – so that we can carry on as before ?

 

Are we in danger of putting Jesus away with the Christmas Decorations – to be left in a box until next Christmas ?

 

*

If we don’t feel closer to Him who came to lead us back to God – then we have lost something along the way.

 

Christmas should mean much more to us than presents and parties and Christmas pudding

 

The clue is in the name CHRIST – mas.

*

It ought to remind us of the importance of what God actually did for us on that silent, holy night.

The love – the sacrifice – the Good News that ‘God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son’ – for the world – for you and for me.

 

And if we understand that – then we cannot help but be changed.

 

His very presence in our lives changes us.

 

Has Jesus, has your faith changed your life ? – or is it still the same as before?

 

If you don’t feel that He has – well, it’s never too late to invite Him into your life…

 

Jesus won’t come in where he is not invited – and He stands beside you – just longing to be asked in.

 

So – this New Year – let him be your first foot – let Jesus be all that you need to carry you safely through this next year – and all the years ahead.

 

Let Jesus be the very foundation of your life – on which everything else in your life stands.

 

….pause….

 

So let us look back and reflect over Christmas, and give thanks to God for the coming of Jesus into the world – into our lives.

 

And let us also look ahead to the New Year – and be determined to go forward – starting a brand new, clean sheet in our lives – living His way.

And let’s do it – like those shepherds –  glorifying and praising God.

 

As we return to our particular routine – let us resolve to give our lives  and our hearts to our precious Saviour.

 

Let that be our present to God

Our New year Resolution to ourselves – and to our families.

 

Then we really will have a ‘Happy New Year’.

 

I pray that you will – and I pray for you  in Jesus’ precious name.

Amen.

 

BLESSING

 

Go in hope – peace  joy and love –

 

Go with God’s love in your heart – and His hand on your shoulder – guiding and protecting you in all you do in the coming year.

 

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

This day –  this coming year – and forever more.

 

Amen (sung)

 

 

AND I WISH YOU  ALL A HAPPY

HEALTHY  – peace filled

NEW YEAR WHEN IT COMES

And may God bless you – and your loved ones at this very special time of year.

 

 

Have a good week – and please keep safe