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Sermon

Services - 17 June - 3rd Sunday after Trinity

9.30am All-Age Worship - Very Revd Dr Andrew McLellan 
10.45am Morning Service - V
ery Revd Dr Andrew McLellan 
7.00pm Evening Service - Kay McIntosh DCS
Further information is available here

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Our Festival continues!

 
There was great richness and variety in the Advent, Christmas and Epiphany events of our Festival of Sacred Music.
 
The first of these was Advent Choral Communion on Sunday, 14 December. At this, we were joined by four string players: Alison and Andrew Rushworth (violins), Malcolm Garden (cello) and Margaret Graham (double bass), who, at appropriate points in the liturgy, accompanied the Choir and Chamber Group as they sung movements from Hayden’s Kleine Orgelmesse (Little Organ Mass): Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus andAgnus Dei. The service was very well attended and there were several favourable comments afterwards. Many had felt deeply that the beauty of the eighteenth century music had greatly enhanced the inherent spiritual depth of the traditional Presbyterian service of Holy Communion.
 
On Christmas Eve we held our traditional Watch-night Service by candlelight. This is always a popular Christmas service enjoyed by many local residents as well as Christmas visitors, but this year was particularly special as it formed part of our Festival. As we sat in the darkened church awaiting the arrival of Christmas morning, the singing of the Chamber Group from the gallery above brought a wonderful sense of otherness to the service. First the prayerful silence with which the service began was broken by the traditional solo voice starting Once in Royal David’s City. Christmas was coming! Later they sang O little one sweet, text by Percy Deamer, to an old German melody harmonized by J.S.Bach, and towards the end, Sir John Tavener’s haunting setting of The Lamb. And who will forget, on this anniversary of Christmas 1914, the first verse of Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht, in the traditional German.
 
On the first Sunday after Christmas, 28 December, our morning service of worship was a traditional Service of Nine Lessons and Carols. The service flowed seamlessly, readings being interspersed with congregational singing of carols and contributions from the Choir and Chamber Group. These included, Andrew Carter’s setting of A maiden most gentle, John Rutter’s Nativity Carol and the well known Coventry Carol, here sung in its 1591 version for three voices. Many worshippers, especially those who had been away from home over Christmas itself, said how much they appreciated this opportunity to enjoy Christmas carols and Christmas music.
 
And, of course, throughout the Festival our Choir and Chamber Group, led by Walter Thomson, have continued to sing specially chosen Introits and Anthems at the 10.45am services, and our organist, Dr John Willmett, has played equally special Voluntaries before, during and after. Furthermore, background information about all of these has been included in the Service Sheets. Thus, week by week, this special emphasis on music has greatly enriched our worship.
 
After Christmas, our first Festival event of the New Year was a Family Singing Workshop led by Julie Morrice. Julie, a member of our Chamber Group, is an experienced singing teacher so there were lots of surprises awaiting us! Unbelievably, on a cold, dark, winter morning, the church was buzzing at 9.00am!   First we moved through to the hall for a singing warm up. We were enthusiastic, we were singing, we jiggled about, we ate maltesers! Julie had us all spellbound with her magic wand (or was that a tuning fork?) teaching us first of all to sing ‘Shine’, complete with actions, in 4 parts. ‘Ping it up there’ she demanded, waving her wand at the rafters, and we did! We reached up to the sky, we swayed from side to side, we turned round and round, some of us old ones felt a bit dizzy, but we all felt very much alive! If any chatting broke out Julie would burst into song with ‘Everybody listening’ and, of course, we all unhesitatingly sang back, ‘We are listening’, finding ourselves all ears again. Now we were ready for the progressive, clapping, hand shaking, ‘How do you do?’ song and greeted one another, babes in arms, children, young, and not so young, in a merry mêlée round the hall. We were getting quite carried away and reluctant to stop until Julie’s ‘Finger of Doom’ brought us all to order. An ‘Offering’ song in 3 parts channelled the children’s bouncy energy into singing ‘We give gladly with all our hearts’, showcased our men folk’s melodious voices, and had the ladies blending in with the descant. Finally we sang ‘Go well and safely the Lord is ever with you’, again in three parts. Thus we returned to the Sanctuary ready to use our new found skills in a celebratory mini-service under our minister’s guidance. Who would have thought all that was possible in just over an hour? Surely it was God moving, bringing laughter and fun into an amazing act of worship.
 
 There are many more exciting events still to take place in our Festival of Sacred Music 2014-2015. Download the full programme here

  
‘LOOK WELL ON THESE SKIES’
 

'Amazed by Science, illumined by Religion' This booklet is available free of charge.  Details HERE

  • Because God is both knowable and unknowable the tension of the symbol, the multilayers of the myth and the openness of the poetic are all vital to our desire to celebrate the Mystery to whom we relate and in whom we have our being.
    Mark Oakley

  • You must love him as he is: neither God, nor spirit, nor image; even more, the One without commingling, pure, luminous ...

    Meister Eckhart

  • The purpose of our life is God's glory. However lowly a life is, that is what makes it great.
    Oscar Romero

  • Faith may justify bigotry or fanaticism, as Church history tragically witnesses. It needs a safeguard. If it is not animated as it were by the greatest of the theological virtues (love), faith can become defective.
    Thomas Norris

  • Dry not, dry not, your tears of love eternal! Only to eyes that fail to weep does this world seem so dull and dead. Dry not, dry not, those long, sad tears of love.
    Johann von Goette

  • The post modern paradigm manifests itself as a unity which preserves diversity and diversity which strives after unity.
    David Bosch

  • There is only one assertion that requires no evidence. Children are a sacred trust...Unless we care properly for our children, we shall never build a better world.
    'A Good Childhood’ The Children’s Society

  • These are only hints and guesses, hints followed by guesses; and the rest is prayer.
    'The Dry Salvages' T.S.Eliot

  • According to strict truth, God is incomprehensible, and incapable of being measured.
    Origen

  • Myth is a story about the way things never were, but always are.
    Thomas Mann

  • In the darkness ...The child of your love - and now become as the most hated one - the one You have thrown away as unwanted - unloved ..... The darkness is so dark .... I have no faith.
    Mother Teresa

  • I love the Bible. I owe my faith and my life to the Bible and its liberating message. It is in the Bible that I first met Jesus ... I too am included in God's embrace.
    Gene Robinson

  • It is this great absence that is like a presence, that compels me to address it without hope of a reply ....
    R.S. Thomas

  • Faith is not a proud self-consistent philosophy. It involves maintaining oneself between contradictions that can't be solved by analysis. It is therefore a living response to the grace of God as revealed in fragile lives.
    Mark Oakley

  • Any religion which does not say that God is hidden is not true.
    Blaise Pascal

  • The contemporary Church is losing aspects of its wide and generous memory and therefore condemning itself to become a 'swimming pool Church' - one that has all the noise coming from the shallow end.
    Mark Oakley

  • For all your doctrinal headaches take Paradox.
    Mark Oakley

  • The true vision and the true knowledge of what we seek consists precisely in not seeing, in an awareness that our goal transcends all knowledge and is everywhere cut off from us by the darkness of incomprehensibility.
    St Gregory of Nyssa

  • Death, death be hanged, the Lord has promised me that I shall live. This I believe!
    Martin Luther

  • We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of life have not been put to rest.
    Wittgenstein

  • Religion is the flight of the alone to the Alone.
    Plotinus

  • Stupid clergymen appeal quite directly to a Bible passage directly understood ....
    Soren Kirkegaard

  • What is the point of the arts of reading and criticism as long as the ecclesiastical interpretation of the Bible, Protestant as well as Catholic, is cultivated as ever?
    Friedrich Nietzsche

  • A figure like Ecclesiast, rugged and luminous, chants in the dark a text that is the answer, although obscure.
    Wallace Stevens

  • Myth is the poetry of the soul.
    Sara Maitland

  • Our loss of the ability to think mythically, poetically, allegorically, creatively, theologically, and artfully is a greater threat to our religious experience than anything good scientists have to report ...
    Sara Maitland

  • In general, Zen attitude is that words and truth are incompatible, or at least that no words can capture truth.
    Douglas Hofstadter

  • 'God' is a one word poem
    Rowan Williams

  • What is today? Today is eternity.
    Meister Eckhart

  • Apprehend God in all things, for God is in all things.
    Meister Eckhart

  • The most powerful hunger we have, mostly suppressed and misdirected, is the hunger for God.
    Miroslav Volf

  • We frequently judge that things are as we wish them to be, for through personal feeling true perspective is easily lost.
    Thomas a Kempis

  • Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.
    Rabindranath Tagore

  • God is the beyond in our midst.
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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