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News from St James

Our Mothering Sunday service was well-attended and a cheerful event. The service, from the Reserved Sacrament, was conducted by Lay Reader, Arma, who began by thanking all who contributed in any wise to the very successful coffee morning on Saturday, when £456 was raised for church funds. She also reminded the congregation of the next Craft Fair on March 28.

Our other Lay Reader, Anne, preached on the theme for the day, and titled her address ‘The Motherlove of God’. She drew on the readings for the day which told of three mothers who each had a son, and in every case gave up her son to serve God. The first was Hannah, who gave birth in her mature years to a much longed-for son, who was named Schmu-el – or as we would say now, Samuel. He was dedicated to God at the age of only about four years, and went to serve in the temple at Shiloh. Then Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist – who also left home to wander the deserts as a prophet, and may himself have served in the temple at Jerusalem, and then gave his life as a follower of Jesus. Finally Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, who had to endure the agony of seeing her beloved son captured in his maturity, tortured and executed on the cross. Three mothers, making a sacrifice as great as that of giving their own lives – giving up their sons’ lives – as an act of love and obedience for God.

Mary’s heart was pieced by a burning lance of despair and forsakenness – but she was one of the first to know of the resurrection. Anne then went on to describe the Resurrection as an act of Mother-love – the Mother-love of God – indeed, the greater-than Mother-love of God.

At the end of the service the children from Sunday club brought their pictures for the congregation to see – then busied themselves with the giving out of bunches of daffodils as a token of affection to all present.

Stonehaven South

linked with Dunnottar

On the fourth Sunday in Lent, Mother’s Day, our service was led by Ian Wilson.

The children, young and old, appreciated the bright yellow flowers, giving a great deal of information on what they did for their mum on their special day.

Ian compared the brightness of the flowers to the joy and love of mums shining on them and showing them a bright way forward. That theme of brightness was carried forward in his sermon using two readings; one from the Old Testament and one from the New!

The informed analysis of these passages resolved an intriguing enigma identified in the readings. When Moses was leading his people, he told them to look at the bronze representation of a snake and they would be healed of snake bites which contradicted God’s instruction not to create graven images. St John mentions this in his Gospel saying that the Son of God should be raised up like the bronze snake. Why? The bronze snake was not poisonous, it was created pure, just as the Son of God was pure, made in the shape of humankind to bring healing.

As the service concluded, the children from Kids Praise presented all the ladies in church with a small posy of daffodils to celebrate Mothering Sunday.

Rosslyn returns from her well-deserved leave in time for the service this Sunday at Dunnottar.

Baptist Buzz

On Sunday, Nathan finished his series on the seven deadly sins, dealing with the last one, lust. He defined lust as sexual desire looking for satisfaction in the wrong places. He suggested that Satan wants us to have as much sex outside of marriage, and as little inside of marriage, as possible. Lust defrauds others, treating them in an exploitative way.

It is truly a deadly sin, as King David, the writer of Psalm 51, found out. As a result of his adultery with Bathsheba, he then committed murder, and there was havoc in his family life. By contrast purity, which now receives negative attention, respects and honours other people and God. He has not called believers in Jesus Christ to uncleanness, but to holiness.

Tomorrow (Friday) there will be a special missions meeting at Carronhill School at 7pm.

Rev. Connex Ijalisi, a pastor in rural Malawi, will be telling us about the work he does in the growing church there. He is in partnership with Kerusso Christian Trust, based in Scotland.

Connex provides training courses for rural pastors who have very little – perhaps one bible for the whole church. All are welcome to come along and hear about this work, and the relief work associated with the recent massive floods in Malawi.

He will also be speaking at Johnshaven Kirk this Saturday, 11-1pm, with light lunch afterwards.