NEWSLETTER / CHURCH SERVICE

Podcast service for Sunday 1 August 2021

Our Minister, Rev John Wells, is on holiday this week so unfortunately there will be no podcast, but the service content is below so that you can read and join in regardless.

 

SUNDAY 1st AUGUST 2021

‘A Time for Everything…including Hope’

A SERVICE FOR THE TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

GATHERING SONG CH4 657 ‘Father most loving’ ( v1 & 2)

Father most loving, listen to your children,

who as your family gladly come together,

singing the praises of your Son, our Brother,

Jesus beloved.

 

We stand attentive, listening to God's Gospel,

welcoming Jesus as he speaks among us,

mind and heart open, ready to receive him,

lips to proclaim him.

 

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all this day.

 

WELCOME

Welcome to this service of hope. Whether you join us in church, in the comfort of your own home or wherever you happen to be, we hope you find God in these words of praise and worship.

 

OPENING RESPONSES

L Happy are we who hear the joyful call to worship;

ALL For we walk in the light of God’s presence!

L Let’s worship God together—

ALL Celebrating who he is and all that he has done!

For God is our strength and our protection,

the One in whom we trust.

 

HYMN CH4 192 ‘All my hope on God is founded’ (v 1&3)

All my hope on God is founded,

all my trust he will renew;

safe through change and chance he guides me,

only good and only true.

God unknown,

he alone

calls my heart to be his own.

 

God's great goodness lasts for ever,

deep his wisdom passing thought:

splendour, light, and life attend him,

beauty springing out of naught.

Evermore

from his store,

new-born worlds rise and adore.

 

PRAYER OF APPROACH AND CONFESSION

Let us pray-

 

There is a time for celebrating,

and this is that time.

There is a time for mourning,

and this is that time.

There is a time for confessing,

and this is that time.

There is a time for dreaming,

and this is that time.

God, we bring our stories to you this day

and we wait to be held by yours.

 

We bring our faithfulness;

shape it with grace.

We bring our success;

shape it with generosity.

We bring our weaknesses;

shape them with compassion.

We bring our possibilities;

shape them with hope.

We confess, God, that the way is hard

and we are tired;

Speak into our tiredness with your story of grace

We confess that the way is unclear,

and we do not know the path;

Speak into our wandering with your story of vision.

We confess that we are tired of waiting,

and we just want to make it happen;

Speak into our impatience with your story of wisdom.

Let your story be our story,

and we pray this in Jesus’ name.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

POEM – ‘Purpose’

Is there a purpose to all this?

Time comes around and goes around,

we are born and we die.

We plant food and we pull it up again, we grow it, we waste it, we eat it.

We fight and get injured, we kill and we hurt,

we patch ourselves up and hope to heal.

We break things down and we rebuild them,

we tear them down and build again.

We laugh and we cry, we mourn and we celebrate.

We collect things and we scatter them again,

we hoard and we give away and we hoard again.

We buy things and we get rid of them, we pay and we consume.

We tear things and we fix them, we damage and we patch up.

We keep silent and we speak up, our words go round and round.

We love, we hate, we adore, we argue, we go to war and we make peace.

Time passes, the days fly, things rise and fall, we come and we go.

There is a time for everything. But is there a purpose?

And who gives these things meaning?

 

BIBLE READING ECCLESIATES 3: 1-15

A Time for Everything

3 Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses.

2 He sets the time for birth and the time for death, the time for planting and the time for pulling up, 3 the time for killing and the time for healing, the time for tearing down and the time for building. 4 He sets the time for sorrow and the time for joy, the time for mourning and the time for dancing, 5 the time for making love and the time for not making love, the time for kissing and the time for not kissing. 6 He sets the time for finding and the time for losing, the time for saving and the time for throwing away, 7 the time for tearing and the time for mending, the time for silence and the time for talk. 8 He sets the time for love and the time for hate, the time for war and the time for peace.

9 What do we gain from all our work? 10 I know the heavy burdens that God has laid on us. 11 He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what he does. 12 So I realized that all we can do is be happy and do the best we can while we are still alive. 13 All of us should eat and drink and enjoy what we have worked for. It is God's gift.

14 I know that everything God does will last forever. You can't add anything to it or take anything away from it. And one thing God does is to make us stand in awe of him. 15 Whatever happens or can happen has already happened before. God makes the same thing happen again and again.

 

HYMN CH4 200 ‘Christ is made the sure foundation’ (v1 & 3)

Christ is made the sure foundation,

Christ the head and corner-stone,

chosen of the Lord and precious,

building all the Church in one,

holy Zion's help for ever,

and her confidence alone.

 

Praise and honour to the Father,

praise and honour to the Son,

praise and honour to the Spirit,

ever Three and ever One,

One in might and One in glory

while unending ages run.

 

REFLECTION ‘A Time for Everything…including Hope’

 

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Hope is not just for Advent!!!

There I have said it. Probably the first person to preach about Advent this year, and we are only just in August. The shops will be selling Christmas cards next.

Also known as the “prophecy candle,” the candle of hope for Advent assures us we can have hope that God will fulfill the prophecies declared in the Old Testament about Jesus. Hope doesn’t disappoint us. It tells us so in Romans 5:5.

But wait, I am not going to go there just yet.

I just wanted to grab your attention and highlight that Advent does not hold the monopoly on Hope.

We all need hope, and our reading this morning at a glance might not be a first choice to bring us hope.

I think part of this reading is underestimated, as with this well known reading we automatically focus on the first 8 verses and forget the other 7, but they are just as important if not more so.

So lets split this reading into a game of 2 halves and look into them further.

In the first half God our manager is setting up his team, that is you and I, with timelines, what we can and cannot do, and when we can do it. A time for this and a time for that etc. How things are going to pan out if you like. No opposition is not mentioned here, but we know that God if there was one, God would be in charge of the other team too. Everything happens in this world happens at the time God chooses. In verse 1 he tells us just that.

Howeve,r in the second half we learn that all that hard work from the first half has paid off. Those heavy burdens that God has laid on us, gives us the time, although not fully understanding his plans, to be happy and content. He is letting us know that all life is a gift form Him and we should use that gift wisely and fully while we are still alive. We should all eat and drink and enjoy what we have worked for. It is our reward from God. It is as if this part was written for us here in St Margarets. Our motto if you like.

This church prides itself on its fellowship. Our time if you like after our worshipping and praising God to enjoy one another's company, sharing quality time and learning about each other. How similar that is to verses 1-8 in our reading and the latter 7. We have endeavoured to continue our fellowship throughout the last 18 months, albeit in a different form. We might not have been able to physically meet, but through advances in technology, zoom meetings have been set up, emails sent, the good old phone has been used, whether in conversation or texting each other. Cards have been sent from our family groupings. Friendships have continued, new ones have been nurtured and those strong relationships that stand the test of time, will remain. We don’t have to live in each other’s pockets. Because of the deep bonds already thee, mean we can rely on each other at the drop of a hat. We are always there for each other.

Our reading this morning reminds us of God's awesome power, but also of his love, grace, humour and hope for the future.

Yes, there is a time for everything, and each line in verses 2-8, guides us throughout our lives. It is our lives in a nutshell, and a reading I know that is used a lot at funerals, to bring comfort and hope to the bereaved,

but it only gives an insight or headings if you like of a life lived. Verses 8 -15 fill in the gaps of a life well lived.

Where would be without hope? It is something I am sure we have all clinged onto sometime in our lives. Perhaps this morning’s reflection will remind you of times gone by, and you lived through that.

A time for Everything….including Hope that is today’s message. The Hope of Advent brings a baby into our lives. That baby is still with us. So you see it is not just for Advent, but constantly in lives throughout the year.

 

I am going to finish with some words that reminds us of the lighter side of life but also of God's sense of humour. The author is unknown and it is entitled-

 

Take Time to be Funny.

 

Take time to be funny, rejoice in the Lord

Let laughter explode and have fun with God’s Word

For laughter is healing, gives strength to the weak

God loves to see smiles, for they lift up the meek.

 

Take time to be silly, it’s good for the soul

Too many are sombre, grabbing control.

Let go and let God’s love wash over your soul

Heavenly transcendence can be your life’s goal.

 

Old Sarah and Abram – a child they lacked

But God’s angels promised and she birthed Isaac

In Hebrew that’s “laughter”, go check if you want

Genesis Seven-teen is where it is found.

 

For humour is holy, it sanctifies life,

Replenishes hope and oft softens advice

It undercuts sorrow, deflates haughty pride

So smile and hang on, and rejoice in life’s ride.

 

Amen.

 

PRAYER OF THANKS AND FOR OTHERS

We come now to our prayers where we take time remember those most in need of guidance, love and hope, and we still ourselves to name those before God now.

Let us pray,

 

Living God,

we thank you today for the message of hope

that lies at the heart of the gospel,

the assurance that, whatever may seem to deny it

your love will emerge victorious.

You have given us hope,

and hope does not disappoint us.

 

We thank you for your word of hope that runs through the Scriptures-

your promise to Abraham that, through his offspring,

all the world would be blessed,

to Moses, that you would lead the Israelites out of Egypt

and into the Promised Land,

to Isaiah, that your people's exile in Babylon would be ended,

to your prophets, that the Messiah would come,

to the followers of Jesus, that he would rise again on the third day,

to the disciples, that, as he had departed into heaven,

so he would return.

You have given us hope,

and hope does not disappoint us.

 

We thank you that you fulfilled those promises,

just as you said you would-

your Son born from the line of Abraham,

your chosen nation set free from slavery,

your people returning joyfully to Jerusalem,

your promised deliverer, born in Bethlehem,

your power seen in the resurrection of Christ,

and we thank you that in the fullness of time

that final promise will also be fulfilled,

your kingdom established when Jesus comes again in glory.

You have given us hope,

and hope does not disappoint us.

 

We thank you for what that means for us today...

that we can live each moment with confidence,

and look forward with anticipation,

whatever our circumstances may be,

whatever times of testing may befall us.

Though dreams may be dashed and plans thwarted,

though life may be hard and the future look bleak,

we know that your steadfast love continues

and your purpose endures,

our trust not in things seen

but in the assurance of things hoped for,

the conviction of things unseen.

You have given us hope,

and hope does not disappoint us.

 

Living God,

we thank you that we can put our hand in yours,

and walk where you will lead us,

confident that, though all else may fail, you will not,

though heaven and earth pass away,

your words will endure forever.

So we come in faith,

with joyful hearts and in glad thanksgiving,

to offer our worship,

and to dedicate our lives once more to your service.

You have given us hope,

and hope does not disappoint us.

 

Loving Lord,

give hope to the people of this congregation,

let them know they are missed,

but not forgotten,

remind them there is always a place for them,

and when able we will be waiting with open arms.

We remember those in the parish and in the wider world,

who are looking for hope, a glimmer of light after the darkness of the last 18 months.

This church and it's people are here for them,

just as you are Lord.

Hear all our prayers this day and in the future,

and unite us all now as we pray

you yourself taught us,

saying together.

Our Father...

Amen.

 

HYMN CH4 543 ‘Longing for light…’(v1&2)

Longing for light, we wait in darkness.

Longing for truth, we turn to you.

Make us your own, your holy people,

light for the world to see.

Christ be our light!

Shine in our hearts.

Shine through the darkness.

Christ be our light!

Shine in your Church gathered today.

 

Longing for peace, our world is troubled.

Longing for hope, many despair.

Your world alone has power to save us.

Make us your living voice.

Christ be our light!

Shine in our hearts.

Shine through the darkness.

Christ be our light!

Shine in your Church gathered today.

 

CLOSING RESPONSES

L It’s time to go;

ALL Time to re-engage outside the 4 walls surrounding us.

L Time to put the faith into deeds .

ALL Time to practice unconditional love.

L Time to meet the Christ who waits for you.

ALL Time to share His boundless hope.

BENEDICTION

You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

With the blessing of God, in your mind and heart, let

each morning bring hope to you,

each path lead you to that happy place,

where hope can sustain fulfil you,

now and always

THREEFOLD AMEN

Easing of restrictions - Update on Sunday services

At a meeting of the Kirk Session on the 11th March, it was agreed that St.Margaret’s would re-open for worship on Palm Sunday the 28th of March with numbers limited to a total of 20 people per service.
Please reserve your seat by phoning the Church Office (0131 554 7400) between 10am and 2.30pm, each Tuesday or Wednesday prior to the Sunday service you wish to attend. Due to the restrictions we are working under members need to phone every week to make a reservation as it will not be possible to admit anyone who has not made the necessary arrangements.
I hope that you are all well.
Yours, John

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