Messages from the interim moderator
Sadly the Churches can no longer open at present. From time to time I will leave short Bible messages / prayers on the website. I know some people will be wanting more than we can offer, as we do not have facilities to stream live worship. Many websites will provide some form of worship or thoughts for the day etc.
One of the increasingly popular is fairly home grown. A web Church founded in Falkirk area, by an ex-Moderator of the Church of Scotland – the Rev Albert Bogle.
This offers a live Sunday service as well as other encouragement, and many of you may find it useful.
Bible reading: John 12:12-19
This week Prince Charles delivered a message of support to the nation via his role as patron of Age UK. Rightly he spoke of his thoughts and prayers for NHS staff and support workers. However his summing up was to do with hope and having faith in others and ourselves. He was sincere and meant well. Sadly though his closing words were expressing a view shared by many – that is a belief in a flawed humanity.
While at present we can see and appreciate much good, even sacrificial behaviour around us, and we can see some generous philanthropy from some e.g. Bill Gates, James McAvoy and many others, most anonymous, the overall pattern in recent years has not changed. In towns and cities, people afraid to leave their homes at night or even answer the door. Increasing anti-social behaviour. An increase in violent crime. An ever widening gap in wealth and in empathy, between rich and super rich, and the poorest of the world, e.g. businessman David Geffin encouraging us all to stay safe while telling us he was self-isolating on his £500m superyacht.
What many Christians are saying is that much of what is now happening is because we have seen God increasingly ignored, abandoned, and rejected. By actions and lifestyles, the world tells God he has no part of our lives. Funerals which have no thanksgiving to God for life. Infant naming ceremonies that have no recognition of the God of life. Sunday worship ignored by many. The consequence is not necessarily God disciplining his children in the hope that they will respect him and accept his blessing, but that, as the Bible tells us, he is willing to give us what we want. That is he leaves us alone. Left alone we have only a world which has shown it cannot work in peace and harmony and love. A world where all manner of things can spoil it, and the innocents and less guilty are caught in the same net. A truth seen in the Bible history of God's people, and in world history.
As we celebrate Palm Sunday, we are remembering a day when Jesus was cheered and praised by many. But also we know that when Jesus no longer seemed to be what they wanted and expected, the crowds turned against him. This Palm Sunday and in what is known as Holy Week, enjoy your knowledge of the love of God, and live in the light of the glorious gospel of Christ. Offer prayers that people today will stop their rejection and abandonment and ignoring of the Lord God. That instead they will look to embrace him and that in so doing God will again look with grace on his world.
May you each have a blessed week – Robert
In this country, our standards and morals are Bible based, even though not everyone believes in God, and even fewer trust in him through the resurrection of Jesus. Easter, however, is a time when the world is reminded of him – even if only through chocolate eggs or decorated boiled eggs, or pictures of bonnets and bunnies. Such fun things tell us it is Easter. And Easter should be a fun, happy, joy-filled time. Obviously this year life is different as the fun activities and family gatherings are cancelled. Easter, however, is not cancelled. Easter will always be a time for those who choose to, to reflect on life, on God and his declaration through the cross of his love for us.
In the Bible (Matthew 22) Jesus said the second greatest commandment is love your neighbour as yourself. At present much love is being shown by people making sacrifices for one another, and seen unusually by avoiding one another. There is no guilt in this, as we are also told to love ourselves. The greatest commandment is love God – for all he has done for us.
Christian or not, be encouraged by using YouTube or Spotify or similar music facilities, and listen to Scottish folk singer Heather Heywood singing 'Paul's song'. And keep building a better world.
And stay safe
This morning on Radio 4, Desert Island Discs' castaway was Daniel Radcliffe, aka Harry Potter.
I do not know anything about his beliefs but now, 30 years old, he comes over as a decent well adjusted person. He contrasted very favourably with many celebrities who speak of bad parenting and bad influences when growing up, and who frequently put down others around them.
Radcliffe spoke well and generously of his parents in keeping him right. He spoke well and generously of many of the cast and crew of the Harry Potter films who befriended him and nurtured him. He blamed no one for any past or present faults. He does not want to rest on his riches but continue to prove himself in his career.
Sometimes, celebrity biographies or bio-pics can show people helplessly descending into drink and drugs and general unpleasantness. But we can be encouraged by the stories of others who we do not know, who live positive lives. Radcliffe's most favoured disc on the programme was Morecambe and Wise – Bring me sunshine. A secular song focussing on happiness and joy and love. A very positive choice.
Even better for us to remember, at all times, that Jesus' promise to the faithful is exactly these things.
He speaks often of joy and love. And his complete promise to us is as summed up in his words in John 10:10, 'I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.' Real True life is living in the blessing of God.
Whatever is happening around you, be encouraged to remain faithful as Christ was and is faithful.
The Church of Scotland will be providing a recorded service every Sunday via its website and social media platforms. It will also aim to provide guidance and ideas for how congregations can connect with each other and offer spiritual practices for members to follow in their own time. Cormac Russell writes on Asset Based Community Development, and he stresses: 'We are not engaging in "social-distancing"; we are engaged in "physical distancing" while remaining social.'
Scotland’s church leaders have joined with others in the United Kingdom calling for a National Day of Prayer, and inviting people to join together at 7 pm on Sunday 22nd March to say a common prayer together; this prayer can be found here.
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