Sunday Evening Worship

There is a new initiative, being promoted by the North West Regional Council. Les Ireland, Rector of St Cyprian, Lenzie and instigator of the idea writes:

The North East Regional Council, of which we are all part, is planning to try out a joint Monthly Sunday Evening service on zoom only, at 7.00pm. It’s not just for council members, or even members of the churches in the NERC, anyone and everyone is welcome to join us. The first service is on the 30th January, and then on the last Sunday of the month into the future. I guess the service will last about 45 minutes. 

Zoom link details are below and will be the same for; 26th Feb; 27th March; 24th April; 29th May; 26th June.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87638384745?pwd=Yk9RMUczZWRYakJPUTJoVlFFNFUrdz09

Meeting ID: 876 3838 4745

Passcode: 605087


The Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway is part of the Scottish Episcopal Church, which is part of the Anglican Communion. The North East Regional Council is part of the diocese, and the service is run by clergy and members of the council, anyone from anywhere can join in the service. You do

If you want to know more, or want the access codes personally, just email Les Ireland at Rector@stcyprianslenzie.com

Chalking the Lintel

We all know the story. The Magi arrived with their gifts via Herod’s Palace, Herod asked them to return and let them know where the infant king was. In a dream they were warned to go home another route, which they did. Joseph in another dream was told to flee to Egypt as Herod wanted to kill the Babe of Bethlehem. All this to fulfil a prophesy about the Messiah coming out of Egypt.

We all know this older story too. The Hebrews enslaved for many years in Egypt finally freed. The act that brought about that freedom, the Passover. When the Passover was instigated the Hebrews were told to mark their doorposts and lintels with the blood of the lamb they were to eat that night.

Centuries later; we aren’t sure, when, how and where, but that doesn’t really matter; centuries later the two stories collided and chalking the lintels became a custom. In more recent years it has reached these shores. Usually happening at Epiphany, probably because of the Orthodox Churches celebration of Epiphany being a bigger festival than Christmas and New Year and it being present in those lands before these. It is a time set aside to ask for God’s continual blessing upon our homes and lives.

At the service on Epiphany chalk was blessed and the church was marked, those present were able to take home a piece of chalk to chalk their own homes. Geoff will explain the custom to those who attend Church on Sunday 9th January and you too will have the opportunity to take home a piece of chalk and join in. There is a gallery of members of the congregations chalking below, please feel free to send in your own photo to be added.

Mark the lintel of your door, or your door post, or porch step as follows:

20 + C + M + B + 22

The Blessing itself is encompassed in the year, The C M B stand for Christus Mansionem  Benedicat – Christ bless this home, the + are the symbol of blessing.

You may use this prayer afterwards if you wish.

May Christ bless our home and remain with us throughout the year.  Visit, O blessed Lord, this place with the gladness of your presence. Bless all who worship and visit here with the gift of your love; and grant that we may manifest your love to each other and to all whose lives we touch. May we grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of you; guide, comfort, and strengthen us in peace, O Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen.

It was a bit too windy, dark and slippy to get up to the lintel of the church door so the door post was chalking instead.
Our Friends at Holy Name also chalked the church and their homes.

Laminar Flow

Old once more meets New.
Ties of blood, earthly cousins;
fastened in heaven for
this time
this moment.
Proclaimer’s destiny.

The One never parted, yet
now united,
woven in a dance of mystery.
Water and fire,
flesh and spirit.
Beloved Son, Holy Dove.
Rising, swooping,
intertwining.
God of Love.

Epiphany, The Day – The Season

The first half of the season of Epiphany completes Christmas beginning of the day of Epiphany itself, 6th January.  It ends on 2nd February with Candlemas and Joseph and Mary taking Jesus to the temple for Mary’s purification Rights and Jesus’ Dedication. 

If you turn up your Scottish Prayer Book you will find the day we know as Epiphany referred to as the Revelation of Christ to the Gentiles. It is the day we recall those Magi from the east arriving with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew, the only Gospel writer who tells this story, tells us that the Magi first went to Herod’s Place. Herod fearful of what a new king would do to his own power, sent the Magi on their way with a request that they come back and tell him where they find this new born king. However, the Magi are warned in a dream not to tell Herod, Herod gets mad and orders the killing of all male children who might have been born in the period of Jesus’ birth and Mary and Joseph take Jesus to safety in Egypt. Within this story old testament prophecies are woven as the central theme of revelation, not just to some, but to all people, is told.

Unveiled
~~~~~~~

Veiled in flesh, of
wriggling skin and bone.
The Godhead seen.

Clouds that veiled mountain tops,
cleared by celestial choirs.
Shepherds ran
in seeing frayed the veil
soon to be rent forever.

Even the skies unfurled
and others saw and travelled.
Clouds of praise and worship
replacing clouds of fear and doubt,
veil further frayed.

Veil now gone
no word or action hide
the God of Love from sight.
Even pseudo-pious proclamations
spewed forth diminishing those 
yearning to see;
can not, will not, 
replace the veil.

All encompassing Epiphany
Glory fully seen.

The Season of Epiphany continues with the greater Christmas season of revelation beginning with Jesus’ Baptism, followed by a collection of different stories which vary during our three year lectionary cycle but all following the theme of what is expected from a Messiah, who Jesus begins to fulfil those expectations and; what now happens to John the Baptist, the one who prepared the way.

These 40 days end in the Temple, with Simeon and Anna pious Jews completing the revelation to all kinds of people, from all walks of life and all places. In the fulfilling of the Jewish customs and traditions of purifying a woman after giving birth, and offering the proper sacrifice to God for a first born son. The circle is complete, while others from outside and afar see Jesus in awe, so too do those of unquestionable Jewish heritage. Epiphany then changes tone.  At the end of the Candlemas Gospel we hear of Simeon warning Mary what is to come. 

Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’

Luke 2:34-35

The wonder of Christmas and Epiphany shifts to the reality of having God with us and among us.  While there is much joy, there is also much sacrifice. While any and all can believe, there are consequences to believing that may not sit comfortably at first. The season of Epiphany ends with the Transfiguration another wonderous sight.

Holy, Moly … Who?

Just who did he think he was?
a god that's who.
Ordering people to travel miles,
to be counted.
They were his, or so he thought,
yet he didn't know how many there were,
never mind
how many hairs each had on their head.
But he didn’t care about them
no, only the coin they carried,
his coin.
Cesar a god, pah,
hardly even a king.

Just who did he think he was?
A King, that's who, king of the Jews,
Yeah right!
What kind of king slaughters children?
What kind of insecure power hungry local official,
even does that?
Herod called himself king of the Jews, while
Mary and Joseph took
the true King,
and the King of all Kings,
to Egypt,
as heartache approached.

Anguish still rents the skies
Mingled with the angels cries of
‘Peace on earth.’
‘A King is born.’
Emmanuel,
more than a King,
Emmanuel, God is with you.
The true King and true God,
feeling pain in hands wrung with grief,
empty of food,
raw from enforced labour,
dry from tears that can no longer be shed.
Feet bloodied by the cruelty of others,
miles walked,
stamped on,
crushed by those who should protect,
dispossessed and bare.
Heads weighed with worry
for the future,
prickling aches for freedom
and hope to return.
For life to be reborn.
.
And still some cry;
at those who dare to follow
such fanciful ways.
Just who does he think he is?

Glory Upon Glory

Amid the shadows of unwelcome,
glory breaks through.
Amid the poverty of used straw,
the glory of life glistens.
Amid the sighs of essential work,
glory is birthed.
Amid the coverings for protection,
glory rests.
Inside, safe and secure with anticipations hope
glory resides.

Meanwhile, outwith_
Amid the melancholy of not being elsewhere,
glory spills.
Amid the chill of roofless nights,
glory is sung.
Amid the warmth of a few companions
gathered round a fire
glory is felt.
Amid the last minute gifts of love
glory is proclaimed.
Glory seeping through every crack it can find.

And still_
Amid fleeing refugees, 
one eye looking anxiously back,
glory travels.
Amid the disquieting of the unfamiliar,
glory waits in silent presence.
Amid souls and bodies contracted with pain,
glory sparks.
Amid those who feel dark encompassing them
glory knocks.

The glory of the One and Only
the glory of the Word
the glory of a Baby’s cry
the glory of Hope realised.
The glory of a star proclaiming
a glorious new beginning for the world.

Members of the diocese recorded this into a video for Christmas Day 2021.

A Christmas message from the Primus

“I’m bringing a Christmas and New Year message together as we begin to consider what life is going to be like in the year 2022,” says Bishop Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church. “We made all sorts of predictions for 2021 which in the end have, in some cases, proven to be accurate; but we’re still caught in this pandemic.

“I’m sitting here at Bishop’s House beside the family crib. This is a Philippines crib given to me by pupils and staff of Warndon Junior School, where I had my first incumbency on the outskirts of Worcester. It’s very precious to me because it’s been with me a long time. It reminds me of some of the earliest ministry I have, and of those early Christmases as the vicar of the parish. And of course, that brings nostalgia: for what things were like, for what I might have been like, and that sense of reflecting on what has been. The angel above the crib is even older. That comes from a crib set that I was given when I was really quite young. And so it’s quite possible for me to sit here and consider the overpowering sense of what things used to be like, what I want things to be like. 

On

“For many of us, that’s the problem with Christmas. We conjure up in our minds all sorts of glorious things to do with family, snow, wonderful gifts, and the freedom to do precisely what we want to do. And now for the second year running, we find ourselves under a degree of restrictions. That doesn’t actually change Christmas. Christmas isn’t about all those things we remember. It isn’t about children. It isn’t about families. It isn’t about snow.

“It is actually about the birth of a child, born as the family travelled, born in a place where there was no room so they were huddled into a corner. Born with nothing extraordinary – well, that is until the angel spoke to the shepherds. A kind of birth that happens across the world. You know of so many people who are on the road, people who are traveling people who are in some cases risking their lives to travel. Babies are born in the most unusual places all the time. So it’s not about the stable. It’s not about those wise man. It isn’t simply about this family. It is about this member of the family. It is about Jesus. It is about that relationship between God and us. It is about God loving us so much that he enabled through all the wonderment of God’s great glory to allow Jesus His Son to be born among us. To learn what it was to be like us and ultimately to give his life for us. 

“So however much I might be wishing things could be as the Christmas cards show me, nothing will diminish for me the overwhelming joy of being reminded on this, Jesus’s birthday, that the greatest gift that we have is him. The greatest gift we have to share is Jesus. And the most powerful thing we have to tell the world is just how wonderful this story is now and always has been. A story of love, a story of hope, and a story of salvation. 

“A very happy Christmas to you and a blessed new year when it comes. Let’s not spend our lives looking backwards, but looking forwards to the opportunities we have to tell the story of this child – to reveal His glory in the world, to be like the angels: saying out loud: “Glory to God and the highest and peace to God’s people on Earth.”

The Shortest Day is Filled with Memories

As the final days of Advent unfold, our morning prayer continues via zoom at 8am Today’s #AdventWord is generations and this quote from Sister Parish reminded me of my mother who died in earlier this year.


Even the simplest wicker basket can become priceless when it is loved and cared for through the generations of a family.

Sister Parish


My mother gave me the basket pictured below many years ago. For a number of years she taken to gifting me things of hers that she knew I would treasure as my birthday present. Those things have become the most precious of things, this basket among them.

I remember her carrying shopping home in it, till she started to drive, then it housed knitting for a while. Then, it sat with reusable bags in it, latterly she kept paperwork in it, before it appear with a bow tied around the handle for my birthday about 12 years or so ago. I also remember, as a child, being given it to collect shopping and the heavy basket bashing against my leg as I tried to find a comfortable way to carry it. I remember filling it with treats for guests at parties, and it has accompanied me to church on many occasion as a prop or to just as a basket.

Today, on this the shortest day of the year, I will fill this basket with virtual memories of my mum and of other people I will miss this Christmastime. Why don’t you join me?

Interview with Richard Holloway

Stark Talk on 19 December was a fascinating interview with the former Bishop of Edinburgh and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Right Rev Richard Holloway.
Host Edi Stark talked to Bishop Holloway about family life and his early resolve to be an Anglican priest in a 45-minute look back on his life which was at times emotion as well as poignant. The interview can be listened to at the link below, and will be available online for a year.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0bbdrdp