News from St James
The 10.30 Eucharist was celebrated on Sunday by the Rev Maggie Jackson who also preached on the gospel for the day.
She began by reminding us in advance of several dates for March that will appear in this column a little nearer the time.
She also reminded the congregation that she would be on annual leave for the week to come and any crises or emergencies should be notified to Anne or Arma, our lay readers.
Maggie began by talking about the celebrations that many people had enjoyed this weekend, with fancy cards, boxes of chocolates – and bouquets of red roses – in memory of St Valentine. We were reminded that not a lot is known about St Valentine, except that he was a priest in Rome in the fifth century who was prepared to conduct marriage ceremonies for soldiers, who were forbidden by the Roman authorities to marry as it would interfere with their military duties. Because of Valentine’s sympathy with the soldiers he conducted their marriages. As a result he ended up in jail, condemned to death. History is very vague, but there is a story that Valentine sent a letter to a young woman parishioner signed ‘from your Valentine’.
However, this romantic story and the tokens that accompany celebrations of Valentine’s Day do not compare to the utter love shown to us by Jesus. Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5 was all about showing utter love – to God, and to our fellow human beings. In the passage about divorce, Jesus makes it clear that people should not seek divorce for trivial reasons – in his day a man could divorce a woman simply because she had grown old and he was tired of her . And He made it clear that even looking at a woman lustfully was wrong.
She concluded by reminding us of the ‘golden rule’ for Christians: to love God with all our hearts, and to love our fellow human beings.
The parable of the talents is set in the context of Jesus’ teaching on His return to judge the world in the future –“As it was in the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man”. He was warning his disciples, who were so enamoured of the visible temple in Jerusalem, that the days were coming when this temple would be destroyed.
Jesus’ parable told of two faithful servants, faced with the long wait for their master’s return, yet each entrusted with golden talents by their absent master; like Noah, building the ark, they went about their master’s business with full endeavour and commitment.
Last Sunday, Nathan focused his preaching on the third servant: the one who was entrusted with just one talent. This servant did not go about his master’s business, but buried the talent in the ground. This servant’s chief concern was not to take risks with that with which he had been entrusted, so he buried the talent in the ground in case he lost it. This was the most risky option of all, for on the master’s return he was condemned as wicked and lazy!
Nathan spoke with us about risk-taking faith: being sensible is not always being faithful. In the Master’s service we have to be prepared to take responsibility, which often involves hard work and commitment to the cause of the gospel: when given opportunity to present the gospel, we should go for it!
There is no room for spectators in the local church – whether or not we have the name of servants of God. Even the disciples risked losing eternal life when the Master returns, and being cast into outer darkness if they did not get on with the work of the gospel. “As it was in the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man”.
May God give Christians the grace to respond to this in our corner of the vineyard!
Focus on Fetteresso
Lent is approaching, and Fyfe suggests we invite a few people to a simple meal on Ash Wednesday, March 5, and then attend a short service in the church at 7.15pm – in this way we would be starting on our spiritual journey together.
He also reminded us that Friday, March 7, is World Day of Prayer and that a service will be held at St James at 10.30am.
A new Griefshare group will be starting on Tuesday, April 2, for 10 weeks; please see Sandra or Frank for further details.
Information on all church activities can be found on the Fetteresso Church Facebook page.
The reading on Sunday was from 1Timothy 4 v1-10 where Paul warns against false teaching and gives advice on living a good Christian life.
It is a waste of time arguing over godless ideas - we should be training for a spiritual life which will give us benefits in this world and the next.
We may find it difficult at times, just as physical athletes may sweat and find training hard, but with a daily diet of good discipline in our faith, we hope to come closer to what Christ expects of us.
So we need to get on our bicycles of spirituality!