Thought for the month

Saturday 11 December
Praying with the Prophets

We have walked in the wilderness;
we have waited and wondered.
May God bless us
as we wait for a child’s cry.

We have seen injustice;
we have brought God our questions.
May God bless us
in darkness and light.

Vulnerable God,
Risk-taker, Unborn Child and Holy Spirit,
bless us with wonder
and justice and hope.

Friday 10 December
Praying with the Prophets

Lord Christ,
the prophets spoke of your coming
as a child to be born to a young woman.
In the pain and joy of children:
your kingdom come.

Lord Christ,
the prophets spoke of your coming
to bring justice, compassion and freedom.
In just and compassionate action:
your kingdom come.

Lord Christ,
the prophets looked for a renewed earth,
where desolation would be replaced
by abundance.
In repairing our planet:
your kingdom come.

Thursday 9 December
Anna

I am an old woman looking for a purpose.
I am tired of being talked about,
treated as a statistic,
pushed to the margins.
I want to meet someone
who will have time for me,
who will listen to me,
who will not take for granted
who I am or what I have to offer.
Pray for me and all who wait to be seen.

(Michael Paterson)

Wednesday 8 December
Conception of Mary

I am a young expectant mother
waiting for my child to be born.
I feel the new life inside me,
I sense great promise throughout me,
I know my love grows
for the one I have not seen.
Yet I fear that the world
may be a hostile place
for the little one who is to come.
Pray for me and for all expectant mothers
who are waiting for their child to be born.

(Michael Paterson)

Tuesday 7 December
Joachim

I am an old man
waiting for my death.
I have looked at the world so long
that it wearies me.
I have prayed to God so hard
for my people to be delivered
from all that diminishes
and destroys them.
And I wonder, as my life closes,
if change will ever come.
Pray for me and for all older folk
who are waiting for a saviour.

(Michael Paterson)

Monday 6 December
John the Baptist

Prepare!
Strange how one word
Will so hollow you out.
But this word has been in the wilderness
For months. Years.
Prepare
It may feel like the word
is levelling you,
Emptying you as it asks you
to give up what you have known.
It is impolite and hardly tame,
But when it falls upon your lips
You will wonder at the sweetness
Like honey that’s finds its way
into the hunger
You had not known was there.
Prepare!

(Jan Richardson)

Sunday 5 December
2nd Sunday of Advent
Lighting the 2nd Advent Candle

God our Father,
You spoke to the prophets of old
of a Saviour who would bring peace.
You helped them
to spread the joyful message
of his coming kingdom.
Help us as we prepare
to celebrate his birth,
to share with those around us,
the Good News of your power and love.
We ask this through Jesus Christ
the Light who is coming into the world.
Amen.


This sequence of daily readings or prayers for the second week of Advent was compiled by Rev Dr Michael Paterson using materials written by him and drawn from a variety of sources. You can download a printable version of the week’s sequence at this link.

Saturday 4 December

I am the Lord your God,
I have waited on you,
and have heard your prayer.
So, prepare a way in the desert,
a cradle in the hay,
a meeting place in the market square,
a table in an upstairs room,
a cross on a hill,
a grave in a garden,
a throne in your heart as in heaven.
For now again,
I will bend down and remember you.
I will answer your prayer
and your waiting will end in joy.

And so we commit ourselves
to think globally, to trade fairly,
to live responsibly,
and to love this world as God loves it,
who in Christ become one with creation. Amen.

Friday 3 December

Perhaps it takes a lifetime
to open our eyes,
to learn to see
what has forever
shimmered in front of us:
the luminous line of the map in the dark
the vigil flame in the house of the heart
the love so searing
we cannot keep from singing
from crying out in testimony and praise.
Perhaps this day,
the light begins
in us.

(Jan Richardson)

Thursday 2 December

I cannot tell you
how the light comes,
But that it does.
That it will.
That it works its way
into the deepest dark
that enfolds you,
though it may seem
long ages in coming
or arrive in a shape
you did not foresee.
And so,
may we this day
turn ourselves toward it
lift our faces to let it find us …
May we open
and open more
to the blessed light
that comes.

(Jan Richardson)

Wednesday 1 December
World Aids Day

With those who dread their test results:
We wait.
With those who worry ‘what if?’
We wait.
With those who fear for the future:
We wait.
With those who regret their past:
We wait.
With all who search for the light:
We wait
and keep vigil.

(Michael Paterson)

Tuesday 30 November
St Andrew

God of Advent, of darkness, of waiting,
We the people of this land
wait for the day …
when no child goes to bed hungry
when foodbanks are consigned to history
when voting ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ counts less
than voting for justice.
God of all nations,
temper our national pride
nudge our conscience
and inspire us
to rebuild our nation once more.
God of Advent, of darkness, of waiting,
we wait
and work
as your Kingdom comes.

(Michael Paterson)

Monday 29 November
Hanukah, First Day

What to do in the Darkness

Go slowly
Consent to it
But don’t wallow in it
Know it as a place of germination
and growth
Remember the light
Take an outstretched hand
if you find one
Exercise unused senses
Find the path by walking in it
Practice trust
Watch for dawn.

(Marilyn Chandler McEntyre)

Sunday 28 November
1st Sunday of Advent
Lighting the 1st Advent Candle

God of Abraham and Sarah,
and all the Patriarchs of old,
You are our Father too.
Your love is revealed to us in Jesus Christ,
Son of God and Son of David.
Help us in preparing to celebrate his birth,
to make our hearts ready
for your Holy Spirit
to make his home among us.
We ask this through Jesus Christ
the Light who is coming into the world. Amen.


This sequence of daily readings and prayers was compiled by Rev Dr Michael Paterson using materials drawn from a variety of sources. You can download a printable version of the whole sequence at this link.

At our joint service on Advent Sunday, Michael Paterson reminded us that “for Christians, Advent marks the time of waiting for God to interrupt history with a divine revolution that turns the status quo on its head and shakes everything up” and illustrated from history how both Methodist and Episcopalian churches made a difference to their communities. His sermon, which we encourage you to read in full at this link, concluded:

This Advent, I have a deep longing for our community – for the people of Rosyth – to know that the doors of this church are not closed, that this church is very much open, very much alive and kicking, and not just on a Sunday when they see cars coming and going.

But I want them to know that we are open because we have earned a reputation for doing what Jesus did, for rolling up our sleeves and mucking in with what’s going on around us, for supporting all those who are in need, and for doing whatever it takes to know that their lives matter.

This Advent I long for the community around us to know without a shadow of doubt that this church is very much open because we match every hour spent in church with an hour spent in community service, every hymn we sing with some practical expression of our faith, every baptism with some act of radical inclusion, and every act of communion with food for the poor.

Just imagine what difference it could make to our community if that was how we lived for the next year?
And just imagine what difference it would make to each of us as Christians if we closed the gap between what we profess and how we live – between creed and deed.

So how about it friends? This Advent, let’s honour the legacy our Methodist and Episcopalian forebears have left us. Let’s make them proud of us. But above all let’s honour God by doing our little bit, this Advent, to help his kingdom come. Amen.

At this morning’s eucharist, after the St Margaret’s congregation had sung the hymn “All for Jesus”, Michael Paterson shared the uncomfortable reading of today’s Gospel from three different perspectives – as a priest; as a politician at COP26; as church folk – before offering an alternative ‘good news of our Lord according to the poor of our world’.

He continued: “Friends, it’s easy to hear today’s Gospel and thank God that we are not scribes and Pharisees. It’s easy to hear today’s gospel and point the finger at world leaders who are not a bit like us. But it takes real honesty and courage to face the challenge that this Gospel might just be about you and about me.

“Speaking personally, I would rather someone else was preaching today and I was sitting where you are. Because underlying today’s gospel are two piercing questions which challenge me to the core. The first is this: Am I a part-time or a full-time Christian? And the second is: Am I a person of religious words, or am I a person of Christian action?

“And what about you? Are you a part-time or a full-time Christian? And are you a person of religious words, or a person of Christian action?

“‘All for Jesus, all for Jesus’ – not what’s left when I get round to it, not the scraps of my energy or free time, not the loose change that I won’t miss, but my own widow’s mite. ‘ALL for Jesus. ALL for Jesus.’

“Let’s stand and sing the hymn together and make it an act of commitment and renewal.”

We did that, and then joined in the Creed for the Planet that you’ll find at this link.


Do read the whole of Michael’s sermon at this link.

In the portion of Mark’s Gospel that we read at our recent Joint Communion Service, we found Jesus surrounded by his disciples and curious followers, but his attention is drawn to the shouts of a blind man who recognises a special power and presence near him. In his sermon Eddie Sykes commented:

The others want to silence Bartimaeus, but Jesus calls him to draw near, and asks, “What do want me to do for you?” Consistent with the high priest image in Hebrews, we too discover that Jesus can do something for us. This is not a “I want a million pounds” kind of request; it is more a “Jesus, please help me to follow you more faithfully”, or “Jesus, help me to understand what you want to do with my life” type of request.

Do we see Jesus able to use us in whatever situation we are in?

Some people hide behind busy schedules or justifications of their own creation as excuses for only living what might be termed ‘half-lives’.

Sometimes we really do not want the freedom to serve God openly because what lies ahead is unknown. Bartimaeus gives us inspiration and courage for the changed outlook that such a kind of freedom requires.

It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear … it’s like being between trapezes. There’s nothing to hold on to.” (Marilyn Ferguson)

You can read the whole of Eddie’s sermon at this link.


The illustration of “Lord, that I might see!”, a 1970 sculpture in Matyas Church, Budapest, comes from “Art in the Christian Tradition”, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville.

Coming up …
  • 30 January 2022 9:30 am Sung Eucharist
  • 30 January 2022 11:00 am Morning Worship
  • 6 February 2022 9:30 am Sung Eucharist
  • 6 February 2022 11:00 am Morning Worship

More details at this link

 

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1100 Methodist Worship
0930 Sung Eucharist

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1030 Joint service


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