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Stonehaven South linked with Dunnottar

While Rosslyn was on leave, our service was led by Mr Ian Wilson.

The children enjoyed cutting out paper shapes and discovering that a triangle could be cut in half many times while still remaining a triangle. This was an effective metaphor for a person, tall or small, old or young remaining a whole person held in God’s hands.

Our readings were taken from 1st Thessalonians and Matthew 25 revealing that from being held in God’s care we should care for each other.

Using the parable of the three servants and the letter from Paul, Ian drew links from the uncertainty of the early Christians to our community today.

Just as they were encouraged to use their discernment and talents to support one another in Faith, when we can see a talent, let us support and nurture our community of Faith. Let us not ignore the talent we see in others or indeed in ourselves.

Talking of support, a huge thank you to everyone who supported the South Coffee Morning on November 8. At the last count, over £950 had been raised. Well done to the catering team, bakers and crafters who produced such splendid items for the tables and stalls.

Today (Thursday) there will be Friendship Coffee at St Bridget’s from10am until noon and Craft Group at South Conservatory from 2-4pm.

Dunnottar Guild will have their coffee morning this Saturday from 10am until noon and rehearsals for 9 Lessons and Carols continue from 5-6pm, both at St Bridget’s.

Kids’ Praise wuill host a ceilidh on November 29, from 7 - 9.30pm, and entry is by donation. Tickets are available now from Carol Eddie. To ensure that the buffet caters for everyone, make sure you get your ticket soon!

Baptist Buzz

In the communion services over several weeks, Nathan has been dealing with sin. A gloomy subject, you might think, but you would be wrong. For confronting the reality of sin is actually the way to the gospel, which could be described as – God dealing with sin.

The gospel is only for self-confessed sinners, so we need to confront and acknowledge the reality of it in our everyday lives. We need to stop polishing our own medals, and start recognising the reality of what our hearts are like.

The gospel of Jesus Christ allows us to do this. God raised Jesus from the dead, to reveal a righteousness that comes, not by “good” works or living “good” lives, but by faith in Him.

The gospel is a gift to self-confessed sinners – a gift of forgiveness and everlasting life. Jesus takes the shame, we take the life. What’s more the gospel enlivened person is enabled by God’s spirit to grow and to receive God’s blessing.

A fantastic example of this was described by Nathan in the main service, from the book of Exodus. Confronted with the terrible command from Pharaoh, to kill all the male Hebrew children at birth, the Hebrew midwives secretly defied him and pretended that the Hebrew mothers all gave birth before the midwives arrived.

Their faith and trust in God, which enabled them to do this, led to great blessing, when God granted the midwives children of their own.

What an irony – the opponents of God’s work actually saw unintended consequences of their wrong doing, which were exactly the reverse of what they intended.

News from St James

The service on Sunday comprised Communion from the Reserved Sacrament, conducted by Lay Reader, Anne., who also delivered the address.

She began by thanking all who were involved in arranging and assisting at the service of Remembrance last Sunday, where the collection in excess of £600 would be passed to the Scottish Poppy charities.

She then reminded the congregation of next weekend’s busy times: there would be a craft fair this Saturday from 10.30am until 3pm – entrance free, refreshments available and many stalls with attractive craft items.

In the evening, from 6.30 onwards, we will have a ‘Quiz and Curry’ event – entry £5 for adults, £3 for children. All are welcome and interested parties can sign up on the list at the back of the church.

Anne’s address provided a ‘different’ reflection on the parable of the Talents (Matthew 25: 14-30).

n the days of Jesus, a talent was a large sum of money – equivalent to a year’s earnings. So the parable about a wealthy man going away and leaving sums of money to three servants with instructions to increase their investment.

Traditionally, this is interpreted in one of two ways: either to use our money wisely and increase its value, or in modern parlance, to use the talents (gifts) we are given to their best effect. Failure to do so would result in loss – the ‘use it or lose it’ principle.

However, Anne focussed her attention on the third servant who did not invest the money, but instead told his master the naked truth about his investment methods and his life-style. He became a whistle-blower.

He said ‘Master, you are a harsh man, reaping where you do not sow, harvesting where you do not plant’. The first two slaves double the huge amount of money they were given – and this is a sign that they shared their master’s economic principles.

But the third slave – we must ask, was he afraid? Or was he in fact very brave. He decided not to do his master’s dirty work any more. He returns the investment portfolio – the talent – explaining what he had done. And the master explodes ‘you wicked, lazy unprofitable slave! At least you could have invested my money with the banks where it would have earned interest’. And here we have a clue as to what the parable is really about. The Bible forbids lending money to people – especially the poor - and charging them interest (Exodus 22.25 and Leviticus 25. 35-38)

The master then goes on to show just how horrible he is: he takes the talent from the last slave and gives it to the one who made ten.

‘For to all who have, more will be given. But from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for you, worthless slave, you’re fired!’

So why did Jesus tell this story? Remember Jesus said no man can serve two masters. He was referring to the two masters of God and Mammon – mammon being the worshipping of wealth. So maybe what this parable is actually about is teaching followers of Jesus how to stand up and speak out against injustice, sin and evil. How to be a whistle-blower for God. Yet being a whistle-blower is not necessarily effective – in this case, the master was not converted, the other slaves got promoted, but the righteous one, the whistle-blower, got thrown into outer darkness.

Where’s the justice in that?

Dawn Walker and Barry Cochlan, formerly of Montrose and now Arbroath, were married at Guthrie Castle.

Photo by Lynne Robertson.

n If you’d like to have your wedding photograph published simply send a copy, together with details of the couple, to:

news@mearnsleader.com