Fruit of the Spirit

This morning we hear from Paul as he writes to the Galatians (You can find the reading at the foot of the page) urging them to live lives enriched by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The concept is simple, but often we find the execution harder.

Love: loving our neighbours, all our neighbours, those near and those further away.
Joy: sharing our joy and sharing in our neighbours joys, even if we don't understand the joy they feel.
Peace: doing all we can to ensure our neighbours lives are peaceful ones.
Patience: being patience with our neighbours as we would want them to be patient with us.  Taking the time to understand them and why they may see the world differently.
Kindness: showing kindness to our neighbours, even when they are unkind to us.
Generosity: sharing all the gifts God has showered upon us with all our neighbours, especially those who are in need.
Faithfulness: never giving up on our neighbours, just as God never gives up on us.
Gentleness: being gentle with our neighbours especially those who are often classed as outsiders for one reason or another.
Self-control: taking time to stop, to think, to pray, to love our neighbour as we should, even when that challenges our own ideas or understandings
Life in all it's fullness comes from embodying the fruits of the Spirit and Loving God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength.
So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.  For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”  But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.  The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.  But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarrelling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

Galatians 5:1,13-25

All Are Welcome

For June – Pride month – rainbow ribbon is woven along our railings to show our support and solidarity for all those who count themselves among the LGBTIQ+ community.

God is love and love is love.

Ascension, the 40th Day

Easter is a season of 50 days, the Ascension falls on the 40th of those days. The Ascension the Day Jesus left this earth in human form. Luke tells us that the disciples were then left were staring up, in a bit of a dwam, wondering now what?

Gregory of Nyssa in his Oration ‘on the resurrection’, said:

‘This is the day that the Lord has made’ – a day very different from those made when the world was first created and which are measured by the passage of time. This is the beginning of a new creation. On this day, as the prophet says, God makes a new heaven and a new earth. What is this new heaven? you may ask. It is the firmament of our faith in Christ. What is the new earth? A good heart, a heart like the earth, which drinks up the rain that falls on it and yields a rich harvest. In this new creation, purity of life is the sun, the virtues are the stars, transparent goodness is the air, and ‘the depths of the riches of wisdom and knowledge’, the sea. Sound doctrine, the divine teachings are the grass and plants that feed God’s flock, the people whom he shepherds, the keeping of the commandments is the fruit borne by the trees. On this day is created a new humanity, one made in the image and likeness of God. For ‘this day the Lord has made’ is the beginning of this new world. Of this day the prophet says that it is not like any other day, nor is this night like other nights. But still we have not spoken of the greatest gift it has brought us. This day destroyed the pangs of death and brought to birth the firstborn of the dead.

‘I am ascending to my Father and to your Father, to my God and to your God,’

declares the risen Christ. O what wonderful good news! He who for our sake became like us in order to make us his brothers and sisters, now presents to his true Father his own humanity in order to draw all his brothers and sisters up after him.

We are part of creation, not above it, or separate from it. The wind and waves, the trees and animals, the sun and moon, all creation praises God as Psalm 148 proclaims. In the Ascension there is completion, new life can be both on earth and in heaven, all is part of the wonder of creation, restored by God through Jesus. The Church makes a lot of Jesus’ birth, a lot of his death, and a lot of his Resurrection, and rightly so. However, without the Ascension the reset button hasn’t been pressed. When Jesus walked this earth in human form the disciples were full of questions, uncertainties, they were dubious and lacked, well faith, faith that they could act and do in Jesus’ name. They were cautious and taking risks wasn’t for them. It would have probably stayed the same, certainly none of the resurrection appearances appear to suggest a new found desire on their part to go out beyond what they knew, to take risks to spread the Good News. Indeed it could be said that even after the Ascension they were slow to do so, the Epistles in the New Testament are full of hesitancy over Gentiles, or being other than a Jew like their ancestors.

Easter declared a new creation, Ascension declares we need to get on and live it. God can and will help us, the Spirit will guide and comfort us, but we are not the instruments of forwarding God’s plan. As Teresa of Avila wrote:

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Christian Aid Week 2022

This year Christian Aid week runs from 15th till 2nd May. If you haven’t received your new envelope for Christian Aid week, you return it yourself rather than waiting for someone to collect it. You can donate through the link below and also find out about the work Christian Aid are currently involved with.

Christian Aid Week 2022 – Christian Aid

Christian Aid work throughout the world wherever there is need that they can help with, they are of course involved with refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, the prayer below was issued by them for Passion Sunday however it is sadly still relevant, if you haven’t already done so you may wish to add it to your own prayers.

God of all peoples and nations,
Who created all things alive and breathing,
United and whole,
Show us the way of peace that is Your overwhelming presence.
We hold before you the peoples of Ukraine and Russia,
Every child and every adult.
We long for the time
When weapons of war are beaten into ploughshares
When nations no longer lift up sword against nation.
We cry out to you for peace;
Protect those who only desire and deserve to live in security and safety
Comfort those who fear for their lives and the lives of their loved ones
Be with those who are bereaved.
Change the hearts of those set on violence and aggression
And fill leaders with the wisdom that leads to peace.
Kindle again in us a love of our neighbour,
And a passion for justice to prevail and a renewed recognition that we all play a part in peace.
Creator of all hear our prayer
And bring us peace. Make us whole.

On the 8th Day

This installation art in the church garden is called On the 8th Day, was inspired by Carol Marples of Soul Mark Trust pieces for COP26 – 7 DAYS, link below. My thanks to Carol for agreeing to my rather cheeky title suggestion.

7 DAYS – Soul Marks Trust

Carols art work tells the story of creation with one panel for each day. Jesus in his resurrection made all creation new, gave new life to all that was, and so On the 8th Day was born.

The grave wrapping now redundant can blow freely in the wind, across 8 of them in gold are the letters to spell ALLELUIA. The work will remain in the garden until 26th of May, if you are in the area please feel free to come into our garden and explore around and through it. Remember the freedom of childhood and running through the sheets drying on the washing line, come feel that freedom again.

2022 Paschal Candle

The transfer for our Paschal Candle this year was designed and created by *S*. It has the traditional elements with her own artistic twist on them. Including the addition of a butterfly in the colours of the Ukrainian flag so that they too may know new life in all its fullness.

Bishop’s Easter Message

In the Japanese Shinto religious tradition, if an earthenware pot used for religious observance is broken, that pot must be restored. The pieces are taken and put back together, but into the adhesive is introduced an amount of gold to give it strength. The cracks and the brokenness can be seen; they remain, but the pot is more valuable, is stronger, because holding it together is a golden thread.
This Easter we celebrate the golden thread of God’s love which shines through the brokenness of our lives and our world in Hope. The golden thread of God’s love which binds us together to strengthen us in the face of fear and allows to know the real Joy of resurrection life which Our Lord Jesus Christ gives us, and the Holy Spirit allows us to share.
The golden thread of God’s love that we see shine in Hope is the sure Hope that comes from the knowledge that the sun rises, whether we are always able to recognise that fact or not. At the heart of the resurrection narratives is the fact that Love is stronger than any natural phenomenon we experience, even death itself. The Hebrew concept of Remembrance makes real in this present moment Exodus, Passover that is the concept of Remembrance Jesus used at the last supper. More than memory, but memory teaches much about the nature of God’s love when we simply remember those we have known who have died. It is love which lifts the veil between heaven and earth, the golden thread of Hope holds our heaven and earth in the reality of that love, that speaks to us of God.
There is no room for fear in love: we hear that every Sunday. Fear is the most lethal weapon in the world and in our lives. It is lethal because it encourages those facets of our lives that we would rather be without, the questions, the doubts around who I am and why am I the way I am. Why do others seem to have more than me without working for it; why are others stronger, more self-assured, more assertive? The golden thread of God’s love runs through that brokenness and reminds us that we are made in God’s image to share God’s love. The importance of the cross and of the tomb is that Our Lord Jesus Christ proved that despite failure, disappointment, indeed death itself – we are good enough. Good enough to share God’s love; there is no room for fear in that love. In apparent weakness there is strength: I remember saying at the beginning of the pandemic that we closed our church doors not in fear but in LOVE.
That is the true Joy of Love which brings peace, makes resurrection real. Joy is not the absence of pain or suffering, the absence of doubt and confusion. The joy in love is the recognition that Our Lord Jesus Christ in his suffering and death gives us confidence that, made in God’s image, we are good enough. God who is love makes something of our pain and guilt and fear and doubt. That is the true joy of love that is of God: it gives us confidence to look for and recognise Hope, the Hope that the sun rises, the Hope that in the cross we may recognise even excellence is not enough, but failure can be redeemed.

  • Kevin, Glasgow and Galloway

Mary’s Love, Mary’s Hair

On Lent 5 the Gospel reading was of Jesus revisiting the home of Lazarus, newly called out from death’s tomb, Martha and Mary. While on this occasion we don’t know what Martha was up to. (Was she busy making the dinner again, or was this the occasion when she made the dinner that other Gospel writers tell us off and were too embarrassed to tell of Mary’s antics?) Regardless of that speculation, John tells us that Mary, not of Magdala but of Bethany, knelt at Jesus feet, and lavishly poured expensive perfume on his feet. Then she wiped it with her hair. *S* made a small piece of installation art of Mary’s hair, to remind us all of Mary’s love after which it was placed on the altar rail as a reminder that, whoever we are, we come to Jesus as we are, with love in our hearts.

Holy Week Services

At St Paul & St John’s – Springwells Ave, Airdrie

There will be no Wednesday Eucharist.

Maundy Thursday 7pm – Sung Eucharist with stripping of the altar and The Watch

Good Friday 2pm – The Final Hour – A quiet time to reflect on Jesus’ final hour on The Cross, his death and burial.

Easter 11.30am – Sung Eucharist with the lighting of the Paschal Candle

MARKing Holy Week

This retelling of the Gospel story using St Mark’s account will now take place at 10.30am in Holy Name, Cumbernauld each day during Holy Week;- 11th-15th April.