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News from St James

This Sunday, the 9am service of communion from the reserved sacrament was conducted by Lay Reader, Anne, while Rev Jane Nelson led the 10.30am service and preached on the reading from the letter to the Ephesians, where the writer uses ‘armour’ as a figure of speech – it advises believers to put on the armour of God to avert violence and evil. The writer makes it clear that the struggle in which believers are engaged is real and dangerous.

For this kind of danger we need to wear God’s special armour.

We are told about the enemy, the devil, and the equipment needed.

The text is striking, and it may shock some people to find the New Testament using strong military images.

These images create a sense of urgency. But we are told plainly that our struggle is not against enemies of flesh and blood – but a call to rigorous spiritual preparation: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes that will make us ready to proclaim the gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. Five items are clearly for defence.

The only offensive weapon is the sword of the Spirit, but this is explained as being the Word of God.

The call of this text to Christians is to put on this special armour by the grace and power of God, to stand firm in the faith.

The next text was from the Gospel according to John, where we hear of another confrontation between Jesus and his hearers, this time, remarkably, his disciples.

Some of them took offence at what Jesus was saying and said no-one could understand it. Jesus rebuked them, and many left his company.

Jesus then challenges the twelve, but Simon Peter speaks for the group.

He declares their belief about Jesus – Son of Man, incarnate Son of God, God’s gift to humankind.

Our Gospel readings for the last several weeks have shown the importance of the incarnation the understanding that Jesus is the bread of life.

John, Paul and the other Christian thinkers thought and taught about the salvation that came through Jesus’ death.

From the earliest days, the claim that Jesus is the Incarnate Word has been impossible for some people to accept. Jesus does not send them away – he acknowledged their disbelief and even explains it. But his explanation may have been more disturbing.

Yet he did not drive them away – even those who still had doubts were encouraged to follow him.

Peter sums up their belief after Jesus asks the twelve ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ when he replies ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.

We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’

Intimations: next Sunday, August 30 – look out for St James’ stall at the Harbour Festival – lots of home produced goods and delicious food items.

Spotlight on Dunnottar linked with South

With the Minister, Rev Rosslyn Duncan, on the last few days of a well-deserved holiday, morning worship last Sunday at Dunnottar Church was once again led by Mr Ian Wilson.

Ian’s first reflection was about holidays.

His message was that God never takes a holiday and no matter what we may be doing or where we may be, there will always be others who know and follow Jesus.

We are all part of the world church.

In his main address, Ian alluded to summer holiday reading which might comprise of easily read novels with many strands, ending neatly with a well-planned conclusion.

On studying the readings from Joshua and John for last Sunday, and planning his address, he suggested there were four different pictures given.

From each picture there arose a choice, a challenge and then a certainty.

Joshua challenged the people to put away the gods of their ancestors and worship the Lord’.

Jesus words to his disciples in john’s gospel were clear and challenging. The disciples were faced with a challenge, a choice and a certainty.

The third picture allowed us to think about John, who wrote the Gospel.

He remembered what Jesus said and contrasted this with how difficult a commitment could be for those who had suffered persecution.

Ian finished his talk with today’s choices, challenges and our commitment, which may be different for different people.

However, we have a certainty. We can read God’s word, we can pray.

We can learn God’s truth and live knowing the Holy Spirit will guide us.

He is the one who can help us face the challenges and choices of today.

Members of Dunnottar Church have been involved for many years in supporting the India Village Ministries (IVM) and one of the ways is in collecting odd change in “wee Hoosies” which are cardboard collection boxes shaped like houses.

Money still keeps trickling in from these and in the first three months this year the total collected was £372, and in next quarter, £279 which is an encouraging amount, given that the boxes are mostly used to collect coppers and 5p, 10p and 20p pieces.

Indian Village Ministries needs £20,000 to build a new boys dormitory at the orphanage so every penny counts!

Morning worship next Sunday is at St Bridget’s as it is the fifth Sunday in the month-usual time of 10.30am - all are welcome to come along.