CHANNELKIRK AND LAUDER SERVICE DATES
The Services will be held alternately in Channelkirk and Lauder Churches
at 10.30 am and will be joint services.
4th October Channelkirk Church led by Claire Guthrie
11th October Lauder Church “ Christine Brotherston
18th October Channelkirk Church “ Ken Davies
25th October Lauder Church “ Claire Guthrie
1st November Channelkirk Church “ Ken Davies
8th November Lauder Church “ Claire Guthrie
Remembrance Lauder War Memorial “ Ian Brotherston
Oxton War Memorial “ Billy Anderson
15th November Channelkirk Church “ Christine Brotherston
22nd November Lauder Church “ Claire Guthrie
29th November Channelkirk Church “ Ken Davies
6th December Lauder Church “ Christine Brotherston
13th December Channelkirk Church “ Ken Davies
20th December Lauder Church “ Claire Guthrie
27th December Chnnelkirk Church “ Christine Brotherston
Booking a place in the Church is necessary.
Please phone Session Clerk Billy Anderson on the Friday prior to the Sunday with your request. Telephone nos. 01578 722 848 / Mobile 07384720245.
Welcome to the ‘Reflection’ for this, the last Sunday of September. Once Sunday Worship returns a decision will be made on whether ‘Reflections’ continues, is replaced by the service led each Sunday by a member of the Worship Team or suspended meantime.
Today as a congregation we give thanks to God for the life and service of Alison Bell, who died on 20th September; we hold her family in our thoughts and in our prayers. Her funeral cortege will pass through Oxton at 1.20 pm on Thursday 1st October, before a private burial.
And now, let us worship God.
Hymn CH3 34.
Great God, our loving heavenly Father, you are the Creator of all that is;
From you we have our beautiful world,
With plants strange or lovely or useful;
With animals strange or familiar, friendly or awe-inspiring;
And with people near or far, friend or stranger, loved well or not so well.
We adore you for the wonder of the universe;
We praise you for its variety,
We thank you for all your gifts to us.
Great God, we know that we do not always use your world wisely.
We have not always appreciated your gifts.
We have not always shared your gifts with others.
We have not always loved other people as we love ourselves.
We have not loved you as we ought.
Hear us, gracious Father, as we quietly ask you for forgiveness for all our sins…..Pause
Merciful God, Father, Son and Spirit, we thank and praise you
for the love which won pardon for us through our Lord Jesus Christ,
and which promises us your help to live lives more worthy of your love for us.
Be with us in our time of worship, and keep us ever close to you, we pray,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Exodus 16: 2-5
Matthew 6: 11-12, 14-15, 31-33
v.14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
- 31 Therefore, do not worry, saying: ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘what shall we drink?’ or ‘what shall we wear?’. For the pagans run after all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Hymn CH3 90
For the last two weeks we have been considering the Lord’s Prayer. We have looked at the parts which deal with the glory of God; the remaining petitions are all concerned with human need.
Give us this day our daily bread
Bread is a staple food in the Bible – food for both spiritual and physical needs. Jesus, recalling the Old Testament story which we read, called himself the bread of life; the true bread come down from heaven, given by the Father for the life of the world (John 6). Again, at the Last Supper when he broke the bread he said: ‘This is my body, given for you’ (Luke22:19).
These texts may well be at the back of our minds when we pray the Lord’s Prayer, but the ‘daily bread’ or ‘bread for today’ asked in the Prayer is, first and foremost, about our physical needs – that which we need for our bodies to be healthy. God the Creator supplies, through His Creation, the food and water, shelter and warmth, which we need. In the Lord’s Prayer we acknowledge this bounty, and our dependence on it. And once again the words are ‘us’ and ‘our’ – we think of the needs of the whole world, not just those of our own or our families’ bodies. There is enough for all, if it were equally shared.
Our Old Testament reading told of God’s provision for his people in the wilderness, where they sojourned for forty years after fleeing from Egypt. You can read the whole story in Exodus chapter 16. The Lord promised to send food every day, and he commanded the people only to take what they needed for one day – a test of their trust in him, and their obedience. Some passed the test, others failed, trying to stockpile for the morrow – the first recorded instance of panic shopping?! But in the event, those who gathered a lot, found they had only what they needed, while those who gathered little also had enough for their needs. But any of the manna which was kept till the next day went bad, and was unusable; except on the sabbath, when the extra gathered the day before remained fresh.
We see from this story how soon faithlessness contaminated the Israelites, God’s people newly and wonderfully rescued from slavery in Egypt. In their initial grumbling to Moses they showed distrust of the Lord’s willingness to provide for his people; and in the attempted stockpiling of manna they displayed lack of trust in God’s word, disobedience to his commands, and sheer greed. There are many nuances in this story which have relevance for our world today, where excessive wealth and serious deprivation exist side by side. Those who have much somehow never have enough; while the poor who have practically nothing are often found sharing what little they have. The deadly sin of greed has a double root – the desire to serve the self, which over-rides the rights of the neighbour we are commanded to love as we love ourselves; and that pride which leads us to place our trust in ourselves instead of in our Heavenly Father, and so opens the door to fear of future want.
So closely are our physical needs and worldly desires allied with human self-centredness that It is perhaps no coincidence that, in the Lord’s Prayer, the petition for daily bread is immediately followed by the prayer for forgiveness.
Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors
The Bible’s original language uses a number of different words to represent sin, or failure, in its various forms.
One of these words means to ‘miss the mark’, like an archer missing his target. The one who sins in this way is, sadly, failing to live up to their potential, failing to be all they might be.
Then there is a word which means ‘stepping across’ – which denotes someone who has crossed the line – perhaps the line between honesty and dishonesty, (have we never misused our employer’s time or resources?) or the line between truth and falsehood, (was that so-called ‘white lie’ told to save someone else’s feelings, I wonder – or to save my own face?)
Then there is ‘slipping across’ – this is less deliberate than the last one – a slip-up; (examples might be when we lose our temper, or say the very thing we promised ourselves we wouldn’t?)
Then there is the very serious word which refers to those who know the moral law but deliberately choose to ignore it – to them, all that matters is what they want for their own selfish ends.
Finally, there is the word which we meet in the Lord’s Prayer. That word means, literally, a debt, something owed. It refers to the failure to give to God our Creator what we owe him – the love of our whole heart and strength and mind, together with absolute obedience in loving our neighbours as ourselves. So this sin includes all the other types of sinning mentioned above; and it is quite evident that, in this sense, we are all debtors. No matter how we try, we humans can never love and obey God as we ought – and sometimes we don’t even try. So we all need forgiveness.
And God promises that that forgiveness is there for us – if we recognise our failure, are truly sorry, and ask God’s mercy. Is that all? No, says Jesus, that’s not quite all. There is another condition. We must, in our turn, forgive those who have wronged us. He told a great parable about this; the story of the servant whose lord forgave him an enormous debt, but who then went on to prosecute a fellow-servant who owed him a trivial sum. The unforgiving servant was punished, not for his own debt, but for failing to show his fellow servant the mercy which had been shown to him.
I suppose that we all find this word of Jesus, that we cannot be forgiven unless we forgive others, extremely demanding – a great challenge. But we must take it seriously. I think that it has to do with the Fatherhood of God, which entails that all his children are brothers and sisters. Many of us will know the great damage that a family row can cause. If such a disagreement is not quickly resolved, the family may never again be the same. Such a situation is a tragedy within a family, and is likewise a tragedy within the household of God.
Forgiveness of a serious wrong can be a desperately hard thing to achieve. Recently, on the anniversary of the atrocity at the Ariana Grande concert, the Bishop of Manchester, Rev. David Walker, delivered Radio 4’s Thought for the Day. He said that he had been asked at the time of the bombing whether he could forgive those responsible, and he had replied ‘No. Forgiveness is not a place you can jump to.’ A year later, he says that he has no right to forgive on behalf of others, but he is accountable to God for his own feelings. Hatred, he said, will never banish hatred – only love will do that.
I can relate to what the bishop said. Trivial tiffs should of course be made up at once: but serious wounds do take time to heal. ‘Forgiveness is not a place you can jump to’, as he said. But it can, perhaps, take place step by painful step, provided there is willingness to make the attempt. In the first place, we can try to understand why the one who has wronged us has behaved like that, while asking ourselves if the other person has anything to forgive us. If reconciliation is impossible, and we cannot yet forgive or forget, we can try to stop ourselves dwelling on the wrong, so that forgetting does become a possibility.
Two other things we can do when burdened by our failure to forgive: we can ask the help of the Holy Spirit; and we can pray for the person who has wronged us.
Finally, let us remember that little word ‘as’. We ask our Heavenly Father to forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. Has our forgiveness of others been grudging, reluctant, incomplete? And is that what we hope for from God? It is certainly not the way he has treated us, sending to us His own beloved Son.
Blessed are the merciful, said Jesus, for they will obtain mercy. Thanks be to God. Amen.
Prayers of Intercession
Great God, hear our prayers for the world:
Hear us, as we who are well fed pray for those who are not;
Hear us, as we who have homes pray for those who have none;
Hear us, as we who live in peace pray for those who struggle to survive in war zones;
Hear us as we who have people who care for us, pray for those who feel alone in the world.
God of pity, stir our hearts, and give us grace to care for others, to help them in their need.
Great God, in a time of sickness, sadness and anxiety we pray for all who are affected by the epidemic:
We pray for cabinet ministers, and for all who carry responsibility for the nation’s well-being.
We pray for health-workers, as they care for the sick and distressed.
We pray for those working to find treatments and vaccines, and for all who volunteer in clinical trials.
We pray for our young people, especially for young students facing difficult situations.
We give thanks for all good neighbours, and for all who spend themselves in the service of others.
Great God our Father, we pray for our community, remembering before you those who are ill, those who are afraid, those who are near the end of their lives, and those who mourn.
Silently we name before you those known to us in special need at this time Pause
Eternal God we give thanks for all your faithful servants who have loved and served you here on earth, and who are now at rest in you. Keep us ever in fellowship with your whole Church; and bring us, in your time, to rejoice with them in your nearer presence.
These our prayers we ask in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now we join together in the prayer which Jesus taught us:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
On earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Hymn CH4 468: Tune: as for Love divine, all loves excelling
May grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, rest and remain on each one of us, and on all for whom we pray, now and always. Amen.