Easter Sunday Service

Easter greetings from Kilbrandon and Kilchattan Church and the Netherlorn Churches. Christ is risen – he is risen indeed!
 
The link for our on-line worship for Easter Sunday is the following: https://youtu.be/lbYFdh-VX4M
 
For those who would like a copy, below is a script of the service:

SCRIPT 12 APRIL 2020

 

Opening music

 

Welcome and opening prayer

 

Good morning, and a very happy and blessed Easter to you all.  Welcome to our on-line worship from Kilbrandon and Kilchattan Church and the Netherlorn Churches on this very special day – Easter Sunday. The stone is rolled away, and the tomb is empty – the night has passed, and day has dawned, for Christ is risen – he is risen indeed!

 

Once again this Sunday, we all find ourselves having to stay at home and to remain separated from our friends, our neighbours, our wider families, and our churches – disappointing at the best of times, but especially sad on Easter Sunday.  But if Easter tells us anything, it is that we are not alone – we are part of a huge, world-wide community of Christians, who today are rejoicing in the fact that Jesus has risen from the dead and is alive and with us for ever.  And so no matter where we are, no matter our circumstances, we are glad to join together today to worship our Risen Lord.

 

During our on-line worship today, we will hear readings from the Bible.  We will hear music and singing, and maybe even join in with the singing.  We will reflect on the amazing events of that first Easter Sunday nearly 2,000 years ago.  We will hear poetry.  And we will join our hearts and minds together in praying for our families and loved ones, our communities and our nation, and our world, during these sad, difficult and dangerous times.  And afterwards, hopefully we will be able to continue celebrating Easter in our own homes – sadly, Myra and I haven’t managed to get ourselves an Easter Egg this year – but we do have some chocolate!  So wherever you are, and whatever circumstances you may find yourself in at Easter this year, a blessed Easter to you all.

 

Risen Lord Jesus, we greet you! 

Your hands still have holes in them;

your feet are wet from the morning dew;

and with the memory of each of our names, undimmed by death, you meet us, risen from the grave. 

This Easter morning you, the Risen Christ, have come to us –

not to answer all our questions,

not to solve all our problems,

not to confront us with those times when we have deserted you,

but to speak our names kindly and lovingly, one after the other, and to call each one of us to follow you. 

Risen Lord Jesus, we greet you – amen.

 

Bible readings

 

A reading from the Song of Songs, chapter 3 – seeking him whom my heart loves.

 

On my bed at night, I sought him

whom my heart loves.

I sought, but did not find him.

So I will rise and go through the city,

into the streets and into the squares –

I will seek him whom my heart loves.

 

I sought, but did not find him.

 

The watchmen came upon me

on the rounds of the city –

“Have you seen him whom my heart loves?”

 

Scarcely had I passed them

when I found him whom my heart loves –

I held him fast, nor would I let him go!

 

And now a reading from John’s Gospel, chapter 20 – Mary encounters Jesus in the garden

 

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.  So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid him.”  Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb.  The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.  He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings there, but he did not go in.  Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb.  He saw the linen wrappings lying there and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.  Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed.  Then the disciples returned to their homes.

 

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb.  As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb, and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and one at the feet.  They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”  She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid him.”  When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?  For whom are you looking?”  Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him and I will take him away.”  Jesus said to her, “Mary!”  She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher).  Jesus said to her, “Do not touch me, do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father.  But go to my sisters and brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”  Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and she told them that he had said these things to her.

 

For the word of God among us, for the word of God within us – thanks be to God.

 

Music (CH4 360 © Wild Goose/CH4 417 © Oxford University Press)

 

Easter is something that has been celebrated over and over again in art – as we’ll be reminding ourselves shortly in our worship together – and in music and singing.  We have so many hymns and songs in our various hymnbooks about Easter, and one of the best-known ones is “Now the green blade rises”.  We’re going to hear the melody for that hymn now, with the words appearing on our screens, and maybe as we hear the melody and see the words, we can join in together and sing it as part of our Easter praise today.

 

Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,

wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;

love lives again, that with the dead has been –

love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

 

In the grave they laid him, love whom they had slain,

thinking that never he would wake again,

laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen –

love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

 

Forth he came at Easter, like the risen grain,

he that for three days in the grave had lain,

quick from the dead my risen Lord is seen –

love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

 

When our hearts are wintry, grieving or in pain,

your touch can call us back to life again,

fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been –

love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

 

Reflection

 

I am alone again – John and Simon Peter have gone to fetch the others.

 

I am not afraid.

They say that once you’ve known the grip of evil, you are always able to recognise it when it comes again.

But here, this presence is not evil.

There is something good about it, like a blanket that enfolds you, like the warmth we used to feel when he was near.

 

Can it be that Joseph came again?

He might have thought this place too dangerous.

It could be he feared that they’d wreck the tomb.

So perhaps he came back again, and they allowed him to take the body back to Galilee.

 

There’s the gardener – he’ll surely know the answer.

I’ll go and ask him.

 

The Easter story focuses on women.  In our reading from John’s Gospel, early on that first Easter morning, it was Mary Magdalene who went to Jesus’ tomb – the other Gospels tell us that she had other women as her companions, Salome, and Mary the mother of James, the three of them going to the tomb together with spices to anoint the body of Jesus.  It was these three women who first saw that the stone had been rolled away and that the tomb was empty, and it was Mary Magdalene who was the first to be astounded – and overwhelmed with joy – by hearing and seeing the risen Jesus.

 

The scene of Mary Magdalene meeting Jesus in the garden has inspired many artists to depict that scene in their paintings.  Durer, Corregio, Titian – some of the greatest artists who have ever lived.  Go, if you can, to the website for the National Gallery in London (or better still, go to the Gallery itself once our coronavirus isolation is ended) and look at the way in which Titian, for example, paints this incredible scene.  Mary and her companions have discovered the empty tomb.  Everyone else has fled, and she is left all alone.  She doesn’t imagine for one second that Jesus can be alive.  All she knows is that her Lord’s body has disappeared, so someone must have taken it away or even stolen it.  She has come to the garden to care for his dead body.  She has brought spices to anoint the body – she just has to find his body and do this last thing for him.  She is weeping and in great distress. She is interrupted in her grief by the voice of a man she doesn’t recognise, and she presumes him to be the gardener.  As she pleads with him to tell her where he has taken the body of her Lord, he speaks to her – he speaks her name – and in an instant she recognises him.

 

In Titian’s painting, Mary is kneeling on the ground, one hand resting on a jar of spices – the spices which she had brought to anoint Jesus’ body – the other hand trying to touch Jesus.  Surprisingly, Jesus is carrying a gardener’s hoe, as though he had picked it up to reassure Mary that it was natural that she should mistake him for the gardener.   But there’s absolutely no doubt that it is Jesus – the marks of the nails can still be seen on his feet.

 

The words which Jesus speaks to Mary – “Do not touch me, do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father.”  Are they a rebuff – is Jesus rejecting Mary, pushing her away?  Many artists show Jesus, at one and the same time, moving away from Mary, and leaning tenderly towards her and over her.  Mary can’t physically touch Jesus – but he is closer to her than she can possibly imagine, loving her more deeply and powerfully than she can possibly imagine.  We can’t physically touch Jesus, we can’t even physically see Jesus the way Mary did – but Jesus is closer to us than we can possibly imagine, loving us more deeply and powerfully than we can possibly imagine. 

 

Now of course, we can’t be physically close to each other this Easter – we can’t go up to each other, our family, friends and neighbours whom we know and love; we can’t do as we would long to do this Easter Sunday – smile directly at each other, talk to each other face to face, shake each other’s hands, give each other a hug or a kiss, feast and celebrate and share food together – we can’t even share coffee and cake and a good blether after our Easter church service.  Things which we have always done in more “normal” times – things which we maybe did without thinking too much about them, things which we maybe took for granted.  Things which we suddenly find ourselves missing hugely, valuing more than we ever did before, now that we’re stopped from doing them.  And this must surely make lots of us feel even more isolated during this coronavirus lockdown.

 

But I’m sure that, like me, many of you will have been discovering other ways of keeping contact with other people whom we know and love and miss.  I have to confess that, over the past three weeks, I’ve found myself contacting far more people and catching up with them, than I would have been contacting in “normal” times.  I’ve found myself phoning and speaking to friends – some near, some quite far off – with whom I’ve been completely out of touch for ages – years in some cases.  And you know what?  It’s been great to be in touch with them again – to renew friendships which would otherwise have been in danger of withering away through neglect.  So this Easter we do remain close to each other in spite of everything, loving and supporting each other, just as this Easter Jesus remains close to us in spite of everything, loving and supporting us.

 

Reading or hearing the Easter story, can make us react in different ways.  Maybe we are moved by it, maybe we are completely unaffected by it.  But this story of the first person to have an encounter with the risen Jesus does ask us questions.  Is it possible for us to follow Jesus’ journey through Holy Week towards his arrest and execution, and not be moved?  Is it possible for us to encounter the risen Jesus, and not be changed?  And is it possible for us to experience what we’ve been going through these past two or three weeks, and not be changed – to be more determined to value our friendships and relationships with other people, and to keep these relationships fresh and alive once this is all over?  Is it possible for our community, our nation, our world to experience what we’ve all been going through, and not be changed – to be more just, caring, gentle and loving towards each other?  On this Easter Sunday, we hear good news that Jesus is alive, that goodness is stronger than evil; love is stronger than hate; light is stronger than darkness; life is stronger than death – victory is ours through him who loved us.  Thanks be to God.

 

Poem by Kenneth Steven

 

She had not slept for days.

She had forgotten food.

She barely knew her name.

Just lay and listened to the city sleep.

 

She went because she did not know what else to do.

She did not care or think which path she took;

if they should find her now what could they do:

the one she’d served and loved was dead.

 

A green star on the sky’s far edge

and a single bird sang darkness bright.

She found her way: would watch, keep vigil

until they came to chase her off.

 

She crouched so small so long

the cold crept sore through hands and feet.

Then somewhere on the eastern sky

a wound that opened like a window

and from it poured a broken light

that filled the valley red.

 

She saw the stone was gone, the body gone –

that even here they could not grant him peace,

and through her tore an iron grief

as though beneath deep water.

 

She saw in fragments that a man

stood there before her – doubtless come to mock

and from her poured a waterfall of words

that flowed into the uselessness of grief.

 

Only when he swam before her

and filled her empty eyes

did she fit together all the fragments of his voice

and hear her own name whole and new again.

 

Song

 

The story which we’ve been thinking about – Mary Magdalene encountering Jesus in the garden – is just the first of many stories in the Gospels of people who encountered Jesus on that first Easter Sunday.  Mary met Jesus at break of day – two other followers had a very different encounter with Jesus towards the end of that day, walking from Jerusalem towards Emmaus, meeting and talking with a stranger, realising that that stranger was none other than Jesus himself, and then rushing back to Jerusalem to tell the others, only to find that Mary Magdalene and the other women had beaten them to it.  This is a song from the Wild Goose Resource Group of the Iona Community about that encounter – sung to a traditional Scottish tune: the Silkie.

 

As we walked home at close of day,

a stranger joined us on our way.

He heard us speak of one who’d gone,

and when we stopped, he carried on.

 

“Why wander further without light?

Please stay with us this troubled night.

We’ve shared the truth of how we feel

and now would like to share a meal.”

 

We sat to eat our simple spread,

then watched the stranger take the bread;

and as he said the blessing prayer,

we knew that someone else was there.

 

No stranger he: it was our eyes

which failed to see, in stranger’s guise,

the Lord who, risen from the dead,

met us when ready to be fed.

 

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia!

As Mary and our sisters said,

the Lord is risen from the dead!

 

Prayers for others

 

Lord God, we join together in your presence at Easter – and yet not together as one body. Like the disciples we are alone behind closed doors. Let the light of Easter come alive in us like the light of the newborn sun after darkness. Open our ears and hearts to the sound of your voice and let the reality of your resurrection light the loneliness all of us are feeling at this time in different ways and to different degrees. Lord, what brings the gospel story alive to us is its honesty and truthfulness. It’s a story not peopled with perfect disciples: instead it’s a story of doubt and despair and darkness where the humans we encounter are so like ourselves. They are broken and they are anxious and they are frail. And yet, despite all the darkness and all their doubt, they have faith. Lord God, help us to remember that the more broken we are the more we are able to let in the light. Fill our broken humanity with all our faults and all our flaws, and give us the courage to go out into a world that needs you to show fragments of your light. Thank you for Easter: thank you that the story of Jesus did not end with the tragedy of his death but passed into the glory of his return.

 

Closing words and blessing

 

He who hung the earth upon the waters, was hung upon a cross.

He who was the king of angels, was crowned with thorns.

He who comforted the sorrowing, received a blow to the face.

He who wrapped the heavens in clouds, was wrapped in a shroud.

He who raised Lazarus from the dead, was laid in a tomb.

He who tasted death for all of us, was raised to life.

We who put our trust in him, will be raised to everlasting life.

 

And may the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with us all, those whom we love, and those who love us, this Easter Sunday, the weeks and months that lie ahead of us, and for evermore – amen.

 

 

Closing music

 

Good Friday Meditation, 12 noon

Today, at 12 noon, we will be broadcasting a meditation for Good Friday, led by Maura Rae, with music and pictures.

This will go live on YouTube at noon and can be accessed via the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVxFMy6i_1E&feature=youtu.be

Some Good Friday activities to do at home can be downloaded here: Holy-Week-and-Good-Friday-from-Godly-Play-UK.

I invite you to a meditation for Good Friday I will lead using some pictures I painted for last year’s event. Scripture references are in italics and are taken from the New Living Translation. The first three are on a theme of ‘feet’.

1. Anointing:

In John’s Gospel we are told that after the raising of Lazarus from the dead In Bethany the religious leaders decided that Jesus must be put to death. Jesus knew this and set off for Jerusalem for the last time. John chapter 12 picks up the story.

Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus – the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honour, Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary took a twelveounze jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance. But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, ”That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” Not that he cared for the poor – he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciple’s money, he often stole some for himself Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

We do not know what essence of Nard smells like but we invite you to find a perfume you like and allow yourself to enter in to that situation. What would you be feeling or trying to say if you were the one doing the anointing?

2. Jesus washed his disciple’s feet at the last supper:

John 13 describes what happened; It was time for supper and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given Him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin.

Then He began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. When he came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, ”Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, ”You don’t understand now what I am doing , but someday you will” “No, Peter protested, ”You will never ever wash my feet!” Jesus replied, ”Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me” Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, not just my feet” Jesus went on to explain that that was not necessary and when all their feet were washed he made sure that they understood that as he, their Lord and Master had been willing to wash their feet, then they must be willing to do such menial tasks for each other.

As with the previous picture this is painted as if you are participating in the event. How do you react to Jesus being willing to do this for you? What are the implications for you of following His example?

3. Crucifixion:

I flinched at the possibility of attempting this theme. However I felt I could reinforce the purpose of Jesus’ suffering by making the nail silver.

Silver is symbolic of redemption i.e. when you pay money to a pawnbroker to get your possession back, you ’redeem’ it.

Therefore we are restored to a full relationship with God by the payment of Jesus’ death.

The first people to receive this are the two figures at the bottom of the picture, representing John and Jesus’ mother.

The letter to the Hebrews puts it like this: “So Christ has now become High Priest……………..With his own blood- not the blood of goats and calves- He entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.”

 

The Cup 

The following three pictures arose out of the realisation that Jesus chose to accept his fate.

4. Gethsemane:

Jesus wrestled with the cup. He knew that he was to be killed by crucifixion and his humanity shrank from the horror.

He prayed ”My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. “ An angel ministered to Jesus and strengthened Him.

This is represented by the Gold (symbol of Divine kingship) caressing his head. He was not alone. The cup is full of all the sin and brokenness of the world.

Jesus said. “ Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Are we in that place? Come what may?

5. Calvary:

Jesus accepts and becomes the cup of suffering. It wasn’t the nails that held Him there. Luke records in Chapter22 verse 20”This cup is the new covenant between God and His people – an agreement confirmed by my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you” From this cup pours out the water of cleansing and the blood of healing and forgiveness.

6. Resurrection:

The cup becomes the flame of the Holy Spirit, and the cross, the Sword of the Spirit. The power of the action at Calvary means that chains are broken and people are born into new life because of the love of God sown into their lives.

7. His presence:

Now, because of Jesus sacrifice and His Resurrection, the way into the presence of God has been opened. Only our acceptance of our need of forgiveness and faith in this world changing event is required. Come into His presence with thankfulness and trust.

Presbytery Prayer, 8th April

Presbytery Prayer Point

You are invited to pray with fellow Presbyters at

12 noon on Wednesday 8th April 2020

Lord, keep us under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress.

Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low;

that we may rejoice in your comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love.

Lord, during this most holy of weeks for the church we continue to be separated and isolated physically but we know that with you, we are never separated; indeed in times like these we become more closely entwined with you and our fellow believers in a spiritual sense that transcends all separations. 

Lord God, today, we bring to mind children and young people everywhere. As we recall their enthusiasm and zeal for life, their innocence and natural enquiry, their ability to look at things with a realism and pragmatism that so often surprises and delights us, we visualise for a moment the rainbows that so many children have created and displayed in the front windows of their homes. The vibrancy of the colours remind us time and time again of the hope for the future, especially the future of these youngsters, growing up in a world so different from what we knew in the past. Lord we pray your protection on all young people today and in particular those with underlying health conditions who are relying on the rest of us observing social distancing and good hand hygiene. We bring to mind those unborn children and their excited expectant parents whose joy may now be tinged with a worry, for those new-born babies who now need extra protection so that their small bodies can cope with any additional threats and we remember those inquisitive toddlers who simply cannot understand why their world has changed so dramatically.  

Lord we pray your protection for school-age youngsters whose education has been disrupted and who now may be placed at a disadvantage because of this. We pray that the sterling efforts of parents and family now engaging in home schooling and for the plethora of digital tutors will pay dividends in inspiring youngsters and ensuring that their full potential is realised. We pray that all youngsters are treated fairly by the exam system now running to a different process as this cruel virus denies youngsters the opportunity to excel at their education.  

Lord we give thanks for teenagers despite the angst they often cause to parents and family! They deserve our prayers and encouragement as they strike out on a path to life which for now has been de-railed. We pray that all teenagers stay safe and healthy, so that in time and in hope, they can pick up the fragments and set out firmly and with confidence, on the path you have for them. 

Lord, as we travel on the journey through Lent and into Holy Week, we are aware of the awfulness of the Friday and we cannot avoid this but we know too that in time Easter Sunday will dawn afresh and renew us in spirit and hope for the future. So, it is with our current situation, we know that the virus has more havoc to wreak, more families to learn of the loss of loved ones, the denial of the opportunity for people to meet socially and in worship but in time it will be defeated and life will return to normality and so with your blessing ringing in our ears, we look forward to that time but for now, we focus on the children’s rainbows and that expression of a hopeful future. 

We are not people of fear: we are people of courage.

We are not people who protect our own safety: we are people who protect our neighbours’ safety.

We are not people of greed: we are people of generosity.

We are your people God, giving and loving, wherever we are, whatever it costs

For as long as it takes wherever you call us. 

We ask all this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Presbytery Prayer 1st April

Please join us in this week’s prayer, to be prayed unitedly at 12 noon on Wednesday 1st April.

Lord, keep us under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress.

Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love.

 

Lord we seek your protection for all those who still need to travel to engage in essential tasks to keep the rest of us safe. Today we bring to mind all those front-line staff working in hospitals, testing stations, ambulances, police and fire stations, supermarkets and pharmacies. We give thanks for their dedication and hard work and we pray that they stay safe at this time. We remember too those who maintain our mail delivery helping us to maintain contact with others and for delivery drivers and local shopkeepers who bring essential goods to our doorsteps. We give thanks and acknowledge the willingness of local volunteers to look after the vulnerable in our communities and we are all reminded at this time of the importance of looking out for our neighbours.

 

Lord, we are challenged to maintain our faith in these difficult times having been deprived of the sense of community worship. Lord we give thanks for the sterling efforts of all those who have endeavoured to learn new digital skills so that corporate worship of sorts can continue throughout Argyll and beyond. We pray that those who have embarked on this form of ministry are able to sustain us all through these difficult times. We especially pray for our ministerial colleagues who strive to maintain pastoral care at a distance; an alien concept in a world where personal interaction and presence are crucial but now no longer possible. We pray too for those times when they might be called upon to conduct funeral services; help them to find ways of consoling the bereaved that is meaningful in these difficulties.

 

We are not people of fear: we are people of courage.
We are not people who protect our own safety: we are people who protect our neighbours’ safety.
We are not people of greed: we are people of generosity.
We are your people God, giving and loving, wherever we are, whatever it costs
For as long as it takes wherever you call us.

 

We ask all this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Presbytery Prayer 25th March

Presbytery Prayer

Merciful Father, we come before you today with our concerns and our fears. You are the comforter to all, and we ask that Your comfort be shared amongst us at this time.

We turn to you in the days of uncertainty and ask that you stay close to all who are suffering this virus, from loneliness and the pain of loss. We ask forgiveness for the times we have taken our homes and communities for granted. We must feel the love and compassion of people who are working to stem the disease and fears, and those keeping in touch with the elderly and the lonely.

Scripture assures of promises made to us in times of trouble so give us strength to remember that You are always with us in whatever trial we face.

May people reach out in their despair and grief to know the compassion You have for your people and how You heal at times like these.

Lord we never thought there would be a situation that would mean us having to make the decision to stop us worshipping together in our Churches. That day has come, and we pray for all who miss the congregational prayers and singing of praise and the assurance of a sermon. As disciples we will try to keep our congregations involved and uplifted by a different form of worship. Give us guidance and the resources to spread the Gospel, especially at this difficult time, to all in Argyll and beyond. We give thanks for those who have the gifts to deliver worship using technology as we discover how we can truly become a Church without Walls.

We ask blessings on all Nurses and Doctors tending to the sick, those who work in hospitals, keeping the wheels turning, to allow medics to do their work and help in the healing of all those affected.

We pray for those self-isolating; may they find peace in their homes and enjoy the thoughts of friends and family that they are parted from.

We pray for all those volunteering to help alleviate their loneliness and the consequences thereof.

We pray for all who work in supermarkets, who serve the people, who fill the shelves and delivery drivers who keep us supplied with the foods we need.

We pray for all those in essential occupations– bless them and give them strength and perseverance to continue their work to support the country and communities in which they serve.

In this crisis, Lord, we look to You who rules over Heaven and Earth who is the great comforter and our salvation. May our God the Father bless us and Christ guard us and the Holy Spirit enlighten us. All the days of our lives.    Amen

Prof. Leitch shares advice for church goers during the Coronavirus lockdown

In this 3 minute video, Professor Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director of Healthcare Quality and Strategy for the Scottish Government, shares advice for church goers in wake of the lockdown instigated by the Coronavirus outbreak:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ro0NG1zW9d0&feature=youtu.be

Please join us in prayer as a Presbytery at noon, Wednesday 25th March

Presbytery Prayer Point

You are invited to pray with fellow Presbyters at 12 noon on Wednesday 25th March 2020

 

Lord, keep us under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love.

 

Merciful God, we entrust to your tender care those who have contracted the virus and those who have succumbed. We commend their families to you at this time especially when the opportunity to say goodbye has gone. Be with those who feel unwell; comfort and heal them and restore them to health and strength; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

We pray for decision makers and health experts who have to make difficult decisions to keep us all safe and healthy. Keep them from becoming overwhelmed and fatigued in their relentless task so that they continue to give best advice and to stay well themselves.

 

We are not people of fear: we are people of courage.
We are not people who protect our own safety: we are people who protect our neighbours’ safety.
We are not people of greed: we are people of generosity.
We are your people God, giving and loving, wherever we are, whatever it costs
For as long as it takes wherever you call us.

 

We ask all this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Revelation 2: 7; 1-2

Copied from BRF New Daylight for 21 March
Revelation 2: 7; 1-2    (note the week’s  notes had been on the theme Gardens in the Bible)
‘Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.  To everyone who conquers, I will give permission to eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God…  Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as chrystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city.  On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.’
We have come full circle.  There is no explicit mention of a garden here; indeed, the setting is a city.  But the reference to paradise make the connection with the garden of Eden quite clear.  The river flowing out of Eden (Genesis 2:10) becomes the river flowing through the city; the tree of life in the midst of the garden (Genesis 2:9) is here the tree of life bursting with fruit and healing foliage.  And the tree’s healing properties extend way beyond the boundaries of the original garden; they are for the “healing of the nations”. 
When we consider the sad and desperate state of our world, we may wonder how such healing is possible.  The gap between our present experience and this vision seems unbridgeable.  But, thank God, we are not required to understand how such a healing can come about; only to believe and trust that, in God’s good time, it will.  There is a hymn by W.Y. Fullerton (1857-1932) sung to the tune “Londonderry Air”, which captures this hope and longing perfectly.  The first four lines of each verse begin “I cannot tell”, expressing our anguish at the pain and injustice in the world.  But the second group of four lines respond with a resouding “But this I know”, affirming our belief in God’s vision for our future.       Barbara Mosse.
 
Here are the words to I cannot tell  –
 
I cannot tell why He, whom angels worship, should set His love 
upon the sons of men,
or why, as Shepherd He should seek the wanderers, to bring them back, they know not how or when.
But this I know that he was born of Mary, when Bethlehem’s manger was His only home, and that He lived at Nazareth and laboured, and so the Saviour, Saviour of the world is come.
 
I cannot tell how silently, He suffered, as with HIs peace
He graced this place of tears, or how his heart upon the cross was broken, the crown of pain for three and thirty years.
But this I know He heals the broken hearted,  and stays our sin, and calms our lurking fear, 
And lifts the burden from the heavy-laden, for yet the Saviour, Saviour of the world is here.
 
I cannot tell how He will win the nations, how He will claim His earthly heritage, how satisfy the needs and aspirations of east and west, of sinner and of sage.
But this I know all flesh shall see His glory, and He shall reap the harvest He has sown,
and some glad day, His sun shall shine in splendour, when He the Saviour, Saviour of the world is known.
 
I cannot tell how how all the lands shall worship, when at His bidding every storm is stilled.
or who can say how great the jubilation when all the hearts of men with love are filled.
But this I know, the skies will thrill with rapture,
and myriad myriad human voices sing, and earth to heaven, and heaven to earth will answer:
At last the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is King!
 

Sing for Seed night great success

Sing for Seed was a great success raising funds and awareness towards our Seed for Life campaign.  Our guest celebrity at the Sing for Seed event in Seil Island Hall at the weekend was Vera Kamtukule, CEO of the Malawi Scotland Partnership. Thanks to all who took part and contributed to a great night!