Sunday 3rd May: Online worship led by Fiona Cruickshanks

Our online worship at 10am today will be led by Fiona Cruickshanks: https://youtu.be/6FL6G_Xnr64


If you miss the video when it goes live, or if you experience any kind of glitch, you can always catch up with it later. All our online worship videos remain available for viewing on YouTube.

Sunday 3 may 2020

Fiona Cruickshanks

Welcome : Me

Welcome to worship this morning, I’m excited and a wee bit terrified to be leading worship today, but as I am always telling ,myself ‘God wouldn’t ask you to do anything that he won’t equip you for’ 

So welcome from wherever you are in the world to our wee corner of Argyll – the Nethlorn Churches of Kilbrandon,Kilchattan  linked with Kilninver and Kilmelford. 

I am so lucky, as many of you are too,  to be living and working in this area – I live on the Island of Luing and my work as a District Nurse takes me all over Argyll at all times of year – one of the joys is driving past,through and visiting farms in Argyll and seeing all the wee lambs , and who doesn’t love a wee lamb ? (Sheep maybe not so instagram or snapchat worthy) but lambs are a real sign of spring and new life. Here  on Luing we have a wonderful flock of lambs which are being raised by the shepherds — Facebook keeps me up to date with how they are doing, and two of our  younger church family Iona and Freya Ferguson have been helping their dad Ewan who is the farm manager for landowner the Cadzows. Freya and Iona will tell you all about it

Video from Freya and Iona 

Hymn – Psalm 8  (Tune Tramps and Hawkers) 

Bible reading by Hazel Cruickshanks    John : chapter 10 verse  1-10 (video) New International version 

“I tell you the truth. Anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber!

But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 

The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognise his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.

They won’t  follow a stranger, they will run from him because they don’t know his voice”.

Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he what he meant,  so he explained to them:

 “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.

All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them .

Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”

Story : The Sheep fold 

There was once a wee lamb called Dugald who lived on Luing with his mummy sheep, and mostly he was a good lamb and did as he was told, he loved to play with the other lambs and you could often see him running around with a big group of pals, jumping up and kicking their wee hooves in the sunshine.  They played tig – and king of the castle on the wee rocks and humps around the fields. Their mummy’s didn’t really pay that much attention to them, they seemed to just eat grass all day, but when Dugald fell out with the other lambs ( as all good friends do sometimes) he would run back to his mum for a nice drink of milk, he would just bleat and his mum would answer him back – then he would run over to the safety of her and food -at night they would go into the sheep fold by using the big  gate and he felt safe and nurtured in his wee life on Luing, all the sheep felt secure inside the walls. 

One night when Dugald couldn’t sleep, he was restless and grumpy so he wandered over to the gate, but he found it was shut barring his way out – spoiling his fun – he wasn’t happy! Suddenly he heard a noise outside the wall of the sheep fold, and quick as a flash a robber climbed over the wall and grabbed him up and stole him away back over the wall !  What a disaster – poor Dugald didn’t understand what had happened – his mum was frantic , bleating and bleating for him – soon everyone was up and hunting around the sheepfold looking for him, they just couldn’t understand what had happen to him !   Dugald was making such a racket that the robber dropped him and ran off, Dugald quickly ran back to the gate where the gatekeeper kindly let him in , and what a welcome he got !  Everyone rejoiced that he was home safe and sound, and he told them all about the nasty thief and how the kind gatekeeper had let him back in, his mum just cuddled him and sent him back to bed – and he did sleep, because he felt safe and warm again. 

Sometimes we can be a bit like Dugald, restless and unhappy about being shut in not being allowed to play with friends, but when we are tempted to break rules we should always remember that Jesus is our gatekeeper, and when we choose to live in his sheepfold,be his sheep ,his follower, listen for his voice to call us and obey his commands  , then he will lie down at the entrance .  You see , the most important gate or door  that anyone in this lifetime will ever decide to walk through is a gate that has no hinges, no locks or bolts, it doesn’t swing out or in. This gate is a person and it is Jesus our friend and saviour. 

Maybe we will hear a bit more about Dugald the lamb and his family in the weeks to come . 

Some folks have set up a wee special place in their house – a prayer station or shrine a place where they can put some things that remind them of the things they are learning over Easter and beyond – This is mine , I have the palm Cross that I received on Palm Sunday and an Easter card, and a picture of my beautiful granddaughters Mia and Clara who I miss so much . Well I’m going to show you how to make this wee gate to remind of today’s service –  I’m going to show you how to make a simple gate, to represent Jesus our gatekeeper – and you could write our memory verse on it to remind you 

The memory verse will make you laugh – I’m not sure just how many of you listen to the music of LunchMoney Lewis- but to the tune of ‘Bills’ 

John 10, John 10, John 10, verse 10.   John 10, John 10, John 10.       I have come – that they may – have life and have it to the full.     

I have come – that they may – have life and have it to the full.   John 10, John 10, John 10, verse 10

Reflection – video from Katie-Ellen Mellish (younger church family ) 

As you sit at the gate, Lord,

what are you thinking?

Are you wondering…

when those lost sheep might come over the hill and find their way back to you?

As you sit at the gate, Lord,

does your patience get tested?

Are you wondering…

when we are going to make an appearance, tails between our legs?

As you sit by the gate, Lord,

do you search in vain on the horizon? Are you wondering…

who might be the next sheep

to be tempted away?

As you sit by the gate, Lord,

we are so grateful

for the welcome we will receive

as we saunter our way back to you. Knowing that you, our Shepherd, wait for us.

Bible reading – Acts chapter 2 verses 42 – 47 – Hazel Cruickshanks

The Believers form a community:

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching,  and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lords Supper) and to prayer.  A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 

And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the temple each day, met in homes for the Lords Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity – all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. Amen.

There is nothing nicer than going out to dinner, going to a friends house, a family meal, or a pot luck supper like the community meals we have at the Atlantic Islands Centre here on Luing – everyone sharing and enjoying a catch up, some food and drink – just enjoying being together. 

The Disciples or Apostles as they are named in Hazel’s reading were now left to continue Jesus’ work on earth – to spread his teaching after his death and resurrection which we learned about at Easter. But what a lovely way they went about it – they nurtured the faith they had found with Jesus by spending time together, by sharing bread together, eating with glad and sincere hearts – what a lovely picture this brings into our imagination.   It’s a bit like the flock of sheep being nurtured  in the sheep fold, they are like us in our church family ,but it is a two way gate folks, we don’t get all cosy and stay in our own wee group , we need to head out and do Jesus work in our world, and spread love.

I remember as a young teenage Christian probably about 15 years old going to St Ninnian’s Church of Scotland centre in Crieff, it was an experience that changed my life forever really.  They ran courses and seminars for all ages, but I was there for the youth weekends, they had a devoted youth worker who was planning to lead one of the Church of Scotland Summer Mission’s on the Isle Of Skye – I was hooked !  This was the kind of Christianity I had been looking for – being surrounded by other christians, immersed in the fellowship led me to volunteer to be on summer mission with Bill Taylor and I made life long friends from those days on.

Being together as a team, spreading the word of Jesus in new and imaginative ways, supporting each other and sharing everything – food, accommodation , laughter and tears, formed a tight bond that nothing can break.

So how can we continue to live like the sheep in the sheep fold – nurtured and cared for by Jesus our shepherd ? Like the early Christians living together and sharing food and fellowship bonding? 

The thief comes to steal and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

When things are already so difficult because of this robber and thief that they  call Covid19  “The thief who comes to steel and destroy”  who lurks on shiny surfaces and in a simple cough or sneeze – who steals our fun and freedom and even sadly people’s lives – So how can  we stay together as a tight flock ? We need to use all the technology that we can to help us stay in touch, be clever about staying in touch, unite in prayer and unite by watching the weekly services that Gary and Stuart have helped to pull together. 

Jesus tells us in John 10 verse 10 “I have come that they (that’s us) may have life, and have it to the full”    So we need to trust that Jesus will give us this – we have so much to be thankful for, at the moment we are all forced be with the family we were living with at the end of March when Borris told us to stay home – you might not be happy about this but that’s the rules!  So let’s make an effort to remember our memory verse – remember ‘John 10 John 10 John 10 verse 10 – I have come – that they may – have life and have it to the full.     I have come – that they may – have life and have it to the full.   John 10, John 10, John 10, verse 10

All age Prayer:

Doors,

Gates,

Windows:

All designed to keep the outside outside

And the inside inside,

To keep us safe from harm.

Lord Jesus,

You too want to keep us safe,

To shepherd us into your family.

Help us let people know

When we are scared or upset.

Help us accept the help

Of those who love us;q

Our families, our friends,

Our church family

Help us to let them protect us

Amen

Blessing: 

The Shepherd knows us

The shepherd calls us in

And sends us out 

To love and serve

The waiting world. 

In the name of God the Father, Jesus his Son and Holy Spirit

Amen