Pastor Nathan continued our study in Philippians. His sermon was entitled “God’s grace makes His people generous”. The Philippians gave to Paul out of their extreme poverty so that he could continue to spread the gospel. God supplies all our needs when we trust Him. We should approach our giving with similar generosity. God is faithful to bless when we are faithful to give. We cannot outgive God and we should give, remembering that Jesus gave His life for us.
Where there is a silver lining there is often a cloud: Because of the tattie holidays (where has this year gone?) The Zone is off for 3 weeks - 17. 24 and 31 October. We start back on November 7.
Stonehaven South linked with Dunnottar
Glorious weather heralded part two of our Harvest celebration and a packed church welcomed the members of Granite City Community Brass Band led by Alan Haggart to today’s worship, which was led by Rosslyn our minister. The band added an extra dimension to our praise with a wonderful mix of old and new harvest favourites.
The church was simply bursting with colour. There were floral arrangements and harvest displays, including lovely decorations using vegetables and various other foods made by the young folk of Kids’ Praise and all the pews were decorated with small posies of flowers.
Rosslyn used this to great effect in her reflections. God promised mankind the earth and everything on it but with that great power must come the responsibility of husbanding those resources, caring for the people of our world both near and far. The message from the reflections could be seen in our donations of food for the homeless in Aberdeen, through the money collected to support the work of Christian Aid abroad and in the distribution of all the posies to members of our community as a wee cheer up.
Rosslyn takes a well-deserved break for the next week and the service at Dunnottar next Sunday, 12 October, will be led by the joint worship group so we’d love you to come and give the learners and improvers your support.
Craft Group meets in the conservatory at the South on Thursday afternoon. Everyone welcome!
Kids’ Praise and Sunday School take a break over the next two Sundays.
News from St James’
The 10.30 service comprised communion from the Reserved Sacrament, conducted by Lay Reader, Anne, with our other Lay Reader, Arma, delivering the address. Before the service began, Anne announced that the produce donated by our members for the Harvest Festival last week had been distributed: tinned and dry goods had been taken to the Cyreneans for the needy, and fresh produce had been given to church members and to the folk at the nearby Abbeyfield Nursing home. Also, the Book Browse on Saturday, despite inclement weather, had raised £360 – many thanks to all who helped in any way on this day. People should take close note of the newsletter for future events during the winter months.
Arma based her address on the gospel reading, where Jesus told the parable of the vineyard from Matthew 21. “There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, then he leased it to tenants…”
We often use the expression ‘I heard it on the grapevine’ when we don’t want to be identified with a particular piece of gossip (which may be untrue or malicious), but sometimes it can be good news, like ‘I heard it on the grapevine that it is your birthday…’
It is interesting that the people of Israel are referred to metaphorically as a grapevine. Psalm 80, which we recited this day, used the same image: “You brought a vine out of Egypt. You drove out the nations and planted it. Why then have you broken down its wall so that all who pass by pluck of its grapes?”
It’s no use having a business where everybody is great at networking, if the product is not being promoted – then you have to look to the management!
So it was with Israel, the leaders were inward-looking, forgetting what the nation was there for. Jesus taught that the ‘Chosen People’ had been chosen for service, not for privilege. The nation was not living up to its calling, so he compared the leaders to wicked tenants who didn’t actually own the vines but were ignoring their responsibilities. In the parable, the tenants killed the messengers sent by the owner, and even killed the owner’s son – who we understand to be Jesus himself. ‘Then,’ said Jesus, ‘the Kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who produce the fruits of the Kingdom’. Who would these be? The Gentiles, nations who would learn to pass on the concept of a loving God.
Was Jesus hinting at the growth of the Christian Church throughout the world? If so, this is a privilege that also calls us to a deeper commitment to service.
Thus Christians become part of the grapevine – we are all entrusted with responsible networking. So are we to use our key position as one of the strands in God’s grapevine to pass on gossip? Or rather to pass on the God News to people who need to know that God loves them.
At the end of the Service, children from the Sunday Club came to the front to tell us how they had been working on this theme of being God’s vineyard. They linked this theme with having gifts given by God that they should allow to grow and be useful. One was good at ‘remembering’, another had ‘good ball skills’ and one was good at acting and making people happy. The children’s contribution will be a regular feature from now on!