Last Sunday, Pastor Nathan and family having returned from a well-earned break, he turned our thoughts again to Philippians; looking at the opening verses of Chapter 3 which Nathan entitled Dying to Self.
He explained that we can all live a life that on one level appears flawless but we can still have doubts, difficulties and questions. Paul challenges that Christians should find their identity only in Christ. All Paul’s self confidence collapsed when he met Christ and what he had once thought important was now worthless. We too can put our trust in circumstances or even our church instead of in Jesus.
Dunnottar linked with South
Today, when so many parts of our world are in turmoil, peace in all its’ aspects was foremost in our thoughts and Reverend Duncan’s message for peace, prayer and faith in God was powerful. Our hymns spoke of the universal reach of God’s love, as did the anthem ‘Sing me a Song of Sharon’s Rose’, compellingly rendered by our joint choir.
The reading from Matthew recounted the faith of the Canaanite woman. Rosslyn explained that this was significant because, although not of their religion she demonstrated complete faith in Jesus.
Even when He ignored her, she persisted and was commended for her faith. In the second reflection, Rosslyn explained how in his letter to the Romans, Paul, a Pharisee, announced the message of the universality of God’s love to all people, including those who were not Jews. Our message? In Him, we are all brothers and sister in Christ.
We were encouraged to join in the united Church of Scotland prayers for peace using the unity and symbolism of the olive branch. We were given paper representations of the dove holding the olive branch and have been encouraged to write our own prayers for peace on the dove and return them next week. These doves will be returned to Edinburgh. Discover how you may participate at www.churchofscotland.org.uk.
Our service next week will be at Dunnottar at the usual time of 10.30am.
News from St James’
The 10.30 service was conducted by the Rector, Rev Maggie Jackson, who also delivered the address. In the intimations we were reminded that this weekend will be a busy one: on Saturday, 23rd there would be the Gay Anthony concert in the Church, and on Sunday 24th we would be promoting a stall at the Harbour Festival, with our ever-popular home produce on sale.
Maggie preached on the gospel reading from Matthew 15, vs. 10-28. The setting was in Samaria, and a Canaanite woman approached Jesus asking for healing for her daughter. She must have known he was coming, because she was ready to challenge him. She believed what she had heard and calls him ‘Son of David’. Jesus’ reply was ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel’ and ‘it is not fair to take the children’s food and feed it to the dogs’ – but she is not deterred by national or religious differences.
She will not accept any idea of being separated from the love and kindness of God and argues ‘Yes, Lord, but even the dogs gather up the crumbs from under their master’s table’. This poor outsider understands that God’s mercy is so great that even a tiny portion that escapes from the chosen ones is enough for healing and doin good.
Jesus responds: ‘your faith is great. Your daughter is well’.
This account tells us that the Good News comes from unexpected places – a woman ignored and considered a nuisance – a foreigner – becomes an object of admiration by Jesus himself. And the encounter happened outside the land of Israel, in the pagan realm of Tyre and Sidon. And this story is an example for all of us – God will bring good out of what may seem evil.
St David’s Episcopal Church Inverbervie
We are very pleased to report that after over 18 months of an interregnum a new rector had been appointed for us and our ‘link’ St Mary & St Peter’s Montrose. The Rev. Sam Ferguson will be Instituted by Bishop Nigel in Montrose on the evening of Thursday September 4th and Sam will take her first service at the usual morning 9.30 Eucharist, Sunday 7th Sept. in St David’s Inverbervie.
After all this time we have many thanks to all the visiting Clergy and Licensed Lay readers who have given us such good support with all services on Sundays and other festivals during the vacancy.
As Sam will be a ‘Full-time’ Rector we are hoping that we can see more of her involvement in the many religious and secular groups in Inverbervie.
We look forward to welcoming Rev. Sam and anyone else who feels they would like to come to our services. Just once or on a regular basis.
Focus on Fetteresso
Last week Fetteresso Church held its Holiday Club. The theme was Space Academy and the church was transformed for the occasion with planets and space rockets flying overhead.
We were treated to a video sequence of the whole event, including pictures not only of the children having fun, but the leaders too, who clearly enjoyed the whole experience, particularly the drama – and a great photo of our very own Buzz Lightyear! Holiday Club is a great opportunity for children to come together for a week of fun and also of Christian teaching, and this year was no exception.
We were pleased to welcome Fyfe back from his summer break, and in his message on Sunday morning he spoke of the forthcoming independence referendum not simply as one of the most momentous things to happen in the history of Scotland and the UK, but as something that we as Christians cannot and should not ignore.
The story in Chapter 12 of Mark’s Gospel, where Jesus answers the question of whether the Jews should pay their taxes to Rome by saying that they should pay to Caesar what was Caesar’s, reminds us that Jesus responded to the politics of His day, and so we can look to Him to determine how we should conduct ourselves during this period of history.
Fyfe has promised us more on this issue over the coming weeks - not to determine how we should vote, nor for any particular case to be made, but to help us consider how we might go about our daily lives in ways that no matter the decision, help us respect and be civil in our communities.
On Sunday evening we heard the story from Genesis of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar, the maidservant given by Sarah to her husband in order that he might father a child. Fyfe described this as a story that was ‘not very pretty’, sad and full of mess and intrigue, demonstrating discrimination, abuse and conflict.
It is a story of attempted escape followed by God’s instruction to return and face the difficulties of the household and its relationships, not in fear, but as a witness to God’s transforming power. Hagar recognises that God both hears and sees her suffering, and so she goes back in the knowledge of His grace.