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

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.
Amen

And the Angels Attended Him

The icon – The Invitation – is in church for the duration of Lent.

Jesus walks into the wilderness his hand reaching back for you to come join him, where those things that you think are cracks and brokenness can be beautified.

I am currently reading ‘The Sound of Life’s Unspeakable Beauty’, it is a beautiful book any time but especially for Lent.  It says of itself, and it is true in my reading so far:

“This is a beautiful book. This word “beauty,” in the Japanese definition, requires sacrifice. The sacrifice of death to preserve honour or the natural process of decay is beatified.”

Going into the wilderness is a place not were we decay but were we can be beautified.  When all distractions, all temptations, all outside influences are no longer assailing our senses, we get the chance to look at ourselves and to listen to what God is saying to us and for us. 

So let us journey into the wilderness not in dour West of Scotland attitude, but in the joy of having 40 days with God removed from all other distractions, where we too will be attended to by the angels.

(I am sure there will be more about the book at another time.)

Lent Morning Prayers

Lent Morning Prayers are a short quiet way to start Mondays through Fridays during Lent. Via Zoom only they will take the form of prayers, images and music. You don’t need to have your video on so you don’t even need to get out of bed to join us. Beginning 8am Thursday 3rd March.

Meeting ID: 898 7269 8656
Passcode: Monklands

Purple Friday

Each year on the last Friday in February LGBT Youth Scotland hold a fundraising day called Purple Friday. As part of it they hold a Pass the Torch Relay, with the aim that people all over the country will, together, cover the equivalent distance of walking round the coastline of Scotland. A total of 2,500km or 1553 miles, or 3,645,377 steps. As the distance between Holy Name and St Paul and St John the Evangelist is 7 miles I decided that would be my goal. I chose to do it around Lochend Loch which is about a mile round rather than walking the busy road between the two churches.

LGBT Youth Scotland do fantastic work in supporting our young people and in going into schools to provide education and information. Such support is important, teenage years can be tough going. Indeed even well meaning and supportive parents can be seen as far from being, when the stresses and strains of growing up make life tricky. Having someone else to turn to when there is no support, or no perceived support, can make a vast difference to the LGBTIQ+ youth in our communities. I had hoped to raised £250, as I write this the total stands at £390 which is simple marvellous. (My JustGiving page for Pruple Friday is open until 6th March Kirstin Freeman is fundraising for LGBT Youth Scotland) If you are reading this after 6th March then the JustGiving page will have closed, if you would like to donate then please go directly to LGBT Youth Scotland’s website and do it there Make a donation | LGBT Youth Scotland | LGBT Youth Scotland you can also find out more about their work.

Over on the Facebook page you can see short videos that were taken throughout the walk, in some various people talk about why they joined me, below is a brief summary of the day.

After Thursday being a white out with snow it was with trepidation I drew back the curtains on Purple Friday, but the day was still and bright. Indeed it turned out to be the most perfect weather for walking despite being a bit slippy in a couple of places during the first 1 mile.

Margaret and Irene from Holy Name joined me for the first mile, as we walked we chatted and said hello to others who were enjoying the morning sun, lots of the with their dogs. Our conversation at this point was mostly about the news from Ukraine, our fears, our hopes, so it was only natural that we stopped at the peace garden and said a prayer, among the chirping of hedgerow birds, for Ukraine and her people and the world as it tried to respond in ways that would bring peace.

As we approached the end of our first lap, we were joined by Pamela and Kayleigh and then at the car park by Nicola and Tracey. The 7 of us then walked the next three miles.

We weren’t in any great hurry so despite having started at 9.30am it was lunchtime by the time we reached 4 miles. We stopped and talked as we ate lunch. Please if you have time go and listen to the stories on Facebook – The Scottish Episcopal Church in Monklands | Facebook For me a big part of the day was about raising awareness these moving stories help do that.

While I had been delighted with the company for those first 4 miles, mile 5 was done mostly on my own, as I walked I prayed and gave thanks, for others involved in and with Purple Friday, for those who had joined me and their stories, for all those who work for inclusion and justice, and for the people of Ukraine.

While the morning had been sunny the clouds where now coming over and a sharp, but light, wind had started to blow, so it warmed my heart to see Geoff waiting at the car park and he and Paul joined me for the last 2 miles, minus a few hundred yards which I did myself. As I said in the wee video that began those last two miles, it would appear that females walk in the morning, men in the afternoon and priests all day.

It felt surprisingly emotional when I finished, the 1/4mile stones helped me on the last difficult mile as my back was sore and I was in need of a cup of coffee and a sit down, but I am so glad I did it and so thankful to those who shared Purple Friday with me.

As I have said elsewhere, to those who walked and talked, shared stories and prayed, those who supported financially or by allowing others to take part (providing lifts and allowing time off work), thank you; you are all superstars.

Holy Week Services

Each Day during Holy Week we will be MARKing Holy Week by journeying through the Gospel of Mark. It will be done over the course of the whole week through reflection, music, image and parts of the Gospel itself.
From Monday to Thursday, the service will last no longer than an hour, while on Friday it will be a little longer.

Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday
2pm MARKing Holy Week in St Andrew’s Chapel
Holy Wednesday 
11am Said Eucharist in the Church
2pm MARKing Holy Week in St Andrew’s Chapel
Maundy Thursday
2pm MARKing Holy Week in St Andrew’s Chapel
7pm Sung Eucharist 
with stripping the altar and the Watch in Church
Good Friday
2pm MARKing the final hour in Church

Lent Litany

Holy God maker of heaven and earth.
Hear us.
Jesus Christ, the only Son of God,
Heal us.
Holy Spirit Giver of Life,
Help us.
Holy and Blessed Trinity,
Hear our prayers.
We pray for those who hunger for food; those who hunger for clean water; those who hunger for a safe home; those who hunger for a peaceful life.
Lord, hear us.
We pray for those who are fearful for the future; those who are anxious for the present; for those whose past is a painful and a constant burden.
Lord, hear us.
We pray for those who lead, countries and communities; for those who lead industry and judiciary; for those who ensure our health service, fire brigade, police force, social work and education institutions are fit for purpose.
Lord, hear us.
We pray for those whose bodies ache; for those for whom age is taking its toll; for those whose minds are troubled. We give thanks for all those who care for the sick and vulnerable, grant them strength and patience.
(You may wish to pause at this point to bring before God names of those you know in need of prayer.)
Lord, hear us.
We pray for the Church throughout the world; for all those who serve in congregations and the wider community; for those who doubt; for those for whom faith in you is new; for those who are persecuted for faithfully following you.
Lord, hear us.
We remember before God all those who we love but see no longer, praying that they may know the joys of heaven and we too may know those joys when this life ends.
(You may wish to pause at this point to remember before God those you miss.)
Lord, hear us.
Let our fasting turn us to attend to the needs of others, and not our own hungers.
Help us Good Lord.
Let our charity be a sign of your generosity, not an occasion for pride.
Help us Good Lord.
Let our prayers make us witnesses to your grace and lead us to acts of justice.
Help us Good Lord.
Let our sufferings make us one with Christ, who suffered for our salvation.
Help us Good Lord.
Let our lives be consecrated to your will, as this Lent leads to Easter’s new life.
Help us Good Lord.
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing that you have made and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent, create and make in us new and contrite hearts that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may receive from you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  
Amen.

Lent Course

This year’s Lent Course will take place on Tuesday evenings in the St Andrew’s Chapel.  They will begin at 7pm and conclude at 8pm with Compline.  The theme will be God’s instruction to Moses: ‘Take off your shoes for you are walking on Holy Ground.’   A booklet containing Compline and the readings for the whole course will be available on the web site or in hard copies in the Church.

For those who are unable to attend in person both the course and the service of Compline will be available via zoom.

2022 World Day of Prayer

This year’s service will be held on Friday 4th March in the Salvation Army in Hallcraig Street. The service begins at 2.30pm.
The theme for this year is.

‘I know the plans I have for you.’

This year’s service is written by Christian women
of
England, Wales & Northern Ireland

Gathering Together

There are times when getting to church on a Sunday can be difficult, illness or circumstances can mean we would love to be present but physically can’t be. Now you have the option of joining in on zoom. You will be able to hear and see the service and join in. The details below will be used for all services from St Paul and St John the Evangelist, so regardless of whether it is a Sunday morning Eucharist or Week day Morning Prayers, Compline on a Tuesday evening or a feast day service; these are the only details you will need.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89872698656

Meeting ID: 898 7269 8656
Passcode: Monklands