Currently in Church, until Lent, there is an art installation called Breath you can see it during any of the times the church is open for services, or by request at another time.
Echoing the rays from the dove in the East Window this installation is a commentary on preaching and the breath of Holy Spirit working through it. The strings that stretch out and over the congregation are in yellow, orange and red colours often used for the Holy Spirit.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, Yahew, my rock and my redeemer.
The process of sermon construction involves distilling lots of information. The readings, illustrative stories, history, background, scene setting, biographies, current news, etc. We can not do that distillation without the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
We come with our human cacophony of ideas and understanding, and the Holy Spirit distils and hones them into God’s message for those gathered.
Most preachers can tell stories about the times they thought a sermon was totally awful, yet someone spoke with them after saying something akin to. This week has been bad, I wasn’t going to come to church but I am so glad I did, that sermon was just what I needed to hear. The Holy Spirit works through sermon preparation and also the words people hear.
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.
The smoke curled up, high up,
reaching for God, somewhere beyond:
Unseen, unfleshed, hidden _ expect
for those and such as those, behind the veil.
The smoke curled up.
To offer thanks,
to beg for mercy,
to ask for cleansing,
to reclaim, redeem, renew.
The smoke curled up.
Precious grains, as if glass,
in hues of ochre and umber_
gave up their fragrant offerings
enriched by prayers.
Aromas layered with the
pyres of finest of meat.
Its crackling and spitting
augmenting the cacophony of other noises,
growing the sacrifice,
searching for the perfect cord _
the ultimate offering.
In each babies cry and exciting children’s chatter.
In the prayers of old men and young men’s dreams.
In the new bride’s hopes and widows remembrances.
In their offerings of smoke, and heart, and word
echoed sometimes faintly
the prophets call.
Words of old, now spoken;
there in the midst of all those people,
hoping, searching praying.
There in the midst of all that devotion.
They alone see through the smoke
to the glory others pass by,
and The Word is proclaimed ...
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.
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
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.
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,
Inside, safe and secure with anticipations hope
Amid the melancholy of not being elsewhere,
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.
Amid fleeing refugees,
one eye looking anxiously back,
Amid the disquieting of the unfamiliar,
glory waits in silent presence.
Amid souls and bodies contracted with pain,
Amid those who feel dark encompassing them
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.
“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.
“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.”
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.
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?
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.