VACANCY UPDATE

Our Nominating Committee is delighted to report that the invitation to be Sole Nominee in our Vacancy extended to the Revd Fraser Edwards BSc.,  BA,  currently Probationer Minister at Palmerston Place Church Edinburgh, has been accepted.   Fraser is 41 years old, married to Fiona and they have two children Anna (13) and Matthew (7), Fraser will preach as Sole Nominee sometime in late November, but fuller details will be given later.

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Fifth Sunday in Lent 29th March Worship – Rev Sara Embleton

Fifth Sunday in Lent

29th March 2020

Good morning everyone, and welcome to worship for the fifth Sunday in Lent. For once it doesn’t matter whether or not you remembered to put your clocks forward last night. No one will know if you creep in to worship just as it’s ending!

Today we begin with some words from Psalm 137:

By the rivers of Babylon

there we sat down and there we wept

when we remembered Zion.

On the willows there

we hung up our harps.

For there our captors

asked us for songs,

and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying,

“Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How could we sing the Lord’s song

in a foreign land?

The Israelites had been taken captive by the Babylonians. Overnight their entire world had changed. Jerusalem had been destroyed. They were living in a new land where everything was different. They had lost their freedom. They were frightened and depressed. To make it even worse they were being taunted to sing songs about their God in this alien landscape.

Sound familiar?

Here’s a poem I wrote earlier in the week after a trip to the chemist to collect prescriptions. It was the first day of our new landscape which is called Lockdown.

The new normal

This is a strange and alien land.

We stand in queues – 2 metre apart – to buy food and medicines

Eyes cast downwards

it seems safer to avoid even eye contact

Shopping

It used to be a social event

Now a furtive, fearful, hurried affair

We’re anxious to get back to the homes we long to escape

Darkened store fronts

Empty streets

We scuttle about

The virus like a sniper

Unseen

Unavoidable

Its bullet strikes home days later.

How do we sing the Lord’s song in this strange land?

What does the Lord’s song even sound like in this world that looks the same but feels so different?

It’s a song of hope

This too shall pass

We pray this will lead to a better world

It’s a song of trust

Coorie into God

Allow yourself to be held and soothed.

It’s a song of courage

Do not be afraid

Peace be with you

So raise your eyes and smile

Lift the phone

Speak words of encouragement

Be as Christ to one another

The new normal

Still God’s world

Still God’s people

singing a new yet familiar song

It was always thus.

Now I hope you’re all in good voice as we sing Hymn 192: All my hope on God is founded:

v.1 All my hope on God is founded,

all my trust he will renew;

safe through change and chance he guides me,

only good and only true.

God unknown,

he alone

calls my heart to be his own.

Our hope is in the God whose love has surrounded us all our days. Just as we gave a round of applause to all our NHS workers on Thursday evening, so we continue to pray for everyone who is involved in our health care system, including carers in the community and pharmacy staff. We are also grateful for all those who continue to make accessible the services that we all need to stay well in our homes. And we pray for guidance and wisdom for world leaders.

In a moment of quietness let us each remember our own families and friends, our neighbours and communities.

And now let us say together the words of 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.

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you

The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you

The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace this day and forever more.  Amen.

Some useful links:

Daily worship can be found on Radio 4 each weekday at 9.45am and Sunday worship at 8.10am.

If you require any help during the coming week-some food delivered to your doorstep, or a prescription collected or a phone call to keep you in touch with others, then please phone Sara Embleton on 01721 602157 or Ruth Kerr on 07845 122356.

A view from Venlaw. Brian, Orla and I have been climbing hills. We have been blessed with such beautiful weather. I hope you have all enjoyed the sunshine, either in your garden, out for a walk or streaming in through your windows. Take care, Sara

Worship booklet 22 March

Sunday 22nd March 2020

Fourth Sunday in Lent and Mother’s Day

From Innerleithen, Traquair and Walkerburn Church of Scotland.

During the coming weeks when we are not able to meet together in church to worship, we will each worship in our own homes, sharing the material which is included in this worship booklet. Here you will find a reading for the day, a prayer, a meditation and a blessing. There might even be a suggestion for a hymn. Read it or, if you are feeling in good voice, sing it aloud for singing lifts our spirits.

Image result for jesus light of the world

Churches Together in Britain and Ireland has urged us at 7pm today, to light a candle in the windows of our homes as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, our source and hope in prayer.

A prayer from Lezley Stewart, the Church of Scotland’s Recruitment and Support Secretary.

Each new day
we celebrate what it is to be free –
to live our lives in fullness.
This is the eternal gift of God.

But freedom and fullness live in the simple
⁃ in each breath we take
⁃ in knowing we have a roof over our heads
⁃ in the love of family and community
⁃ all the things we might usually take for granted…

Freedom also invites the gift of generosity
⁃ to continue to give where we can
⁃ to support one another as we are able and go the extra mile
⁃ to offer a welcome smile and forget the more formal handshake of yesterday
⁃ to be what we have always been called to be – human.

This is not a Church crisis, a worship crisis, nor a financial crisis
⁃ this is about the gift of life, which is for all, irrespective of birth, status or circumstances.

As we remember the most simple of these things, may we be inspired to renew calm, peace and hope in every new day.

For in the midst of all storms a Presence is found, and freedom in Christ remains.

HYMN 14:      The Lord is my shepherd

Matthew 11:28-30 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Under Siege! A reflection by Rev Brian Embleton

How long will all this last?     Another generation asked the same question and Winston Churchill answered, “This is not the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning”   We, I suspect, are just at the beginning – however a glimmer of hope. The Chinese authorities are beginning to relax restrictions.

How did the past generation – the generation that took us through the last War, cope?

They thrived despite hardships and ration books.  They developed humility and courage while we nurture celebrity.   They looked after their neighbours while we claim our rights.  They got on with life.    As a result they had the mental and physical strength often absent today.

How then will we cope?   When we lie in bed not able to fall asleep because of our many worries, too preoccupied about all the things that could go wrong, what are we supposed to do?     There are as many answers as there are people with different lifestyles, personalities and external circumstances.

One simple suggestion is to recite to yourself the words of the 23rd Psalm, The Lord is my shepherd I’ll not want, he makes lie down in green pastures, or Paul’s words about love to the Corinthians, There is nothing love cannot face; it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, or St Francis’ prayer, Lord, make me an instrument of your peace …… Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love.

As you lie in bed, drive the car, walk the dog, let the words of one of these prayers go through your mind, try to listen with your whole being to what they are saying.    If worries recur keep going back to the words of the prayer.   As the prayer descends from your mind into the centre of your being you will discover its healing power

An Irish Blessing

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face;

the rains fall soft upon your fields

and until we meet again,

may God hold you in the palm of His hand. Amen.

Daily worship can be found on Radio 4 at 9.45am each week day.If you require any help during the coming week-some food delivered to your doorstep, or a prescription collected or a phone call to keep you in touch with others, then please phone Sara Embleton on 01721 602157 or Ruth Kerr on 07845 122356. If you would like to receive this worship booklet by email, phone Ruth.

Meditation from Father Hendrick read by Rev Sara Embleton at morning worship on 15 March

Lockdown

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
But,
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Sing.

Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM
March 13th 2020

Samara’s Rebuilding the Ruins