Round the Churches

Dunnottar linked with South

On Sunday, worship at South Church began with the traditional hymn “All things bright and beautiful” expressing that childlike awe and wonder at the Creator God, the “Almighty Who has made all things well”. The wonder of creation was thus uppermost in our thoughts as the Reverend Rosslyn Duncan led us in prayers of adoration and thanksgiving for creation, prayers to the Lord shared with congregations throughout Scotland.

In addressing the children whom she knows well not only in her role on Sunday but also as their School Chaplain she spoke of the blessings of education and how it was the vision of the Church that every child throughout the world should learn to read and write. The congregation was encouraged to sign a petition to those in power with a plea to honour a commitment to universal basic education.

The readings from James and the gospel of Mark spoke of wisdom; and the disciples dispute over who was the greatest. Rosslyn told the congregation of a lively discussion in which she was involved in the company of a secondary school teacher and Cambridge academics.

The question was what makes a good teacher. Is it primarily concerned with the skill of communicating with the young or is it a depth of knowledge and an enthusiasm for a particular discipline which spills over to those who hear? Jesus’ followers argued about how good disciples they were. Our Lord gave them and gives us a perfect measure of our dedication to Him. By sitting a child on His knee He shows us how far we have to travel in our discipleship. We must make that journey and learn to love and trust Him with that special childlike trust of knowing Him to be our Saviour, our Master and our Friend.

Next Sunday September 27 at 10.30am Dunnottar Church Harvest Praise with Granite City Brass Ensemble, 2.30pm Harvest Praise at St Bridget’s

Sunday October 4 Harvest Praise at South Church. Harvest gifts of produce welcome at all services along with contributions to Christian Aid’s Bolivia appeal.

You are warmly welcome to join us in any of our services.

Thursday September 24, 10am-12pm Fellowship Coffee St Bridget’s. All Welcome.

Baptist Buzz

During the Communion service at 10am, Nathan read from Colossians 1:15-25, and spoke about the gospel. He reminded us that the gospel magnifies the Son of God; it reconciles us to God; and it establishes our new identity and gives us hope.

In the main worship service, he continued to talk about how the gospel should affect our lives, using 1Thess. 4:1-12 as his references. We are called to love people sacrificially, not in a romantic way which may fade and falter as the years pass but more and more, as we grow in the knowledge of Christ’s love for us. We often hear folk say that they love God but hate going to church, but if we neglect the church we are neglecting Christ, as the church is the body of Christ. The gospel clearly states that if we love Christ we will love his church also. After all we are unlikely to say we love our spouse, yet we live apart from them. It just doesn’t make sense, does it? We must love others as Christ has loved us. The gospel gives us this overwhelming compulsion to love and have compassion on others. It doesn’t mean we will always succeed in loving them perfectly as we are imperfect people, but we can point them to the One who is Perfect Love.

People often complain that they get nothing out of church attendance, but that is not what church is about. It is not about getting but about giving. If we are being served we start getting really picky about our needs and wants, but serving others changes the focus and we become constructive not critical. How do YOU react when someone asks you to do something you’d rather not do? One way we can demonstrate our love is through sacrificial service. Others will notice how we behave; our example must be to show the love of Christ in action.

News from St James’

Lay Reader, Anne, conducted both the 9am and the 10.30am Communion services. She reminded the congregations of the up-coming Harvest Festival (followed by lunch in the Hall) next Sunday, as well as the Seniors’ service, Welcome the Harvest the following Wednesday. Our gifts this year will be mainly of tinned and dry-goods that will be donated to the Cyrenians for distribution to the poor and homeless in Aberdeen and the Mearns.

Anne’s address focused on the Epistle of James – particularly on some of the little ‘pearls of wisdom’ which this wonderful teaching epistle has to offer us. For example, James speaks out against snobbery in worship – giving greater status to the richer members while delegating the poor to lower seats in the assembly. Also (the topic that she preached on last week) the tendency of people to let their tongue run away with them. For James, religion is a very practical thing – real religion is to visit the fatherless and widow and lead a clean life. James didn’t see the point of praying for people to have enough to eat and saying ‘go, be filled’ without doing something practical to help.

James also speaks of covetous ambition which leads to disorder and wickedness. Anne referred to examples from our present day. Recent newspaper reports tell of several cases where people have used money trusted to them either in their employment or through Benefits to indulge in on-line gambling – such as Bingo. What might have begun as a bit of fun, leads to the urge to have more and the players go on – and on – until the debt runs into thousands and even tens of thousands. The result has been family disgrace and imprisonment for the offender. The embezzlement or cheating arose out of wanting to get a lot of money – and the charity foundation, in one case, the business enterprise in another, and the Benefits system in another – were the losers.

James points to the craving for ‘more’ as part of wanting what you don’t have and being prepared to commit sin to get it. So the reading leaves us with a few questions to think about this week:

When does the desire for money lead to crime? When does the possession of money become a crime? When do certain ways of making money become a sin?