Whilst the church building is closed and all our communal activities have ceased due to the lockdown caused by Covid19, Cruden Parish Church has moved online. Wherever you are from, local or far away, you are welcome here!
Please join in the responses printed in bold and italic. During the service would also appreciate if you keep all background noise and conversation to an absolute minimum
CALL TO WORSHIP
Have you not known?
Our God is the everlasting God, Creator of the ends of the earth.
Have you not heard?
God does not faint or grow weary.
Have you not known?
God’s understanding is unsearchable.
Have you not heard?
God gives power to the faint and strengthens the powerless.
Have you not known?
Those who wait for God will renew their strength
they shall mount up with wings like eagles.
We come to hear.
We come to know.
Thanks be to God.
Lighting of Candle & Prayer of Solidarity
“The experience of being powerless is one that will resonate with many of us.
“There are times throughout our experience when we sense that we are not in control of what is happening in our own world. Indeed, there will be occasions when we sense that the wider world is afflicted by the seeming absence of a guiding hand.
“The Apostle Paul expresses the reality that God acts through Jesus Christ, for us and our salvation, at the very moment in time when we are unable to act on our own behalf and we are powerless.
“The action of God in Jesus Christ is a demonstration of the love of God (Romans 5: 1-8). As we know ourselves to be powerless and, at the same time, to be those who have received the renewing and empowering love of God poured ‘into our hearts by the Holy Spirit’, we turn to God, and we pray:”
Living God, you demonstrate your love for us
Though our Lord Jesus Christ.
When we are powerless,
Stand with us in our weakness.
Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Living God, you demonstrate your love for the world
Through the self-giving of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We remember those who are powerless in our world
And stand with them in their weakness.
Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Living God, as we stand with others
May we understand more fully the life we share in common.
In understanding more fully
May we embrace the richness of the life you gift us.
Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Living God, your Holy Spirit
Is the Lord and Giver of Life.
May your love be poured into our hearts
And our lives renewed.
Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer,
Embrace us, and all Creation,
In the love you demonstrate through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer. Amen
Question: What is the rarest bird (or other wildlife) you have ever seen?
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Matthew 10: 26-31
“So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.
What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.
Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?
Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.
And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore, we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
‘Learning how to soar!’
Over the past week the news has been full of attempts by protestors to damage and remove statues of people who were associated with either slavery or racism. It all started down in Bristol when on Thursday of this week (11th June 2020) a statue of Edward Colston, was torn down from its plinth and dumped into the harbour. Locally, Edward Colston, a leading Bristol merchant in the late 17th and earth 18th century, was celebrated as a great philanthropist. His generosity included setting up a number of schools, alms-houses and churches. In 1895 his generosity was commemorated with the erection of statue. It was unveiled on 3rd November 1895, a date which had been known for some time in the city as "Colston Day.” However, over the past few years, there has been a growing awareness that Edward Colston, for all his generosity to the city, made much of his money from the Atlantic slave trade. As an official of the Royal African Company from 1680 to 1692, he was involved in the transportation of approximately 84,000 enslaved African men, women and young children, of whom 19,000 died on voyages from West Africa to the Caribbean and the Americas. Whilst much of the wealth of Bristol came originally from the slave trade, there have been previous petitions and protests arguing for the statue to be removed.
Another statue that was in the news was that of Baden Powell, the founder the Scouts Association. The statue is local in Poole Quay, near Bournemouth, close to the site of the first ever scout camp on Brownsea Island in 1907. Baden Powell was born 1n 1857. Whilst in the Army he specialised in training soldiers in scouting, map-making and reconnaissance and wrote a small handbook. He returned home in 1903, and to his surprise found the small handbook he had written for soldiers, Aids to Scouting, was being used by youth leaders and teachers. He was also asked by Sir William Smith, who was the founder of the Boys’ Brigade, to devise a scheme to improve citizenship training for boys. In 1910 he retired from the Army in 1910 to devote his life to the Scouts, travelling the world to inspire more young people to join scouting.
It has since been alleged that Baden Powell was a racist, a fascist and a supporter of the Hitler Youth. MI5 files that were declassified in 2010, show that Baden Powell had close talks with the chief of staff of the Hitler Youth about forming closer ties with scouting. It has also been revealed that Baden Powell was invited to meet Adolf Hitler, In his personal diary, wrote how he had stayed in all day to read Mein Kampf, which according to Baden Powell, was a wonderful book with good ideas on education, health, propaganda and organisation and ideals, which he recognised were not practiced by Hitler himself. As a result of these revelations about Baden Powell, the statute is now under 24 hour guard, until it can be removed to a place of safe keeping.
So what we have at present, is a growing realisation that many of our statues and public monuments are dedicated to people who have a dodgy history. The difficulty for us is that we now know about the unspeakable evil and suffering of slavery. In the same way, we see and recognise the unspeakable evil of National Socialism, of how the Hitler Youth existed to mould and shape fertile young minds, with a twisted ideology. And I think the big question facing our generation, is how do we reconcile the evils of the past, with the values of the present. Do we simply tear down statues of people like Edward Colston and Robert Baden Powell and erase our past? Or do we recognise they were people of their day. That our history, contains some very good things done by flawed individuals, who in some cases did terrible evil like supporting slavery.
Our Bible Reading from Isaiah contains one of the most vivid and memorable images of the Old Testament – the picture of an eagle with outstretched wings soaring high into the sky. Eagles are amazing creatures. They are a blend of beauty and menace, precision and power; a force in nature which can make us hold our breath in wonder. Eagles appear right throughout the Bible. Sometimes they appear as symbols of judgment – for example Eagles appear 3 times in the Book of Revelation. Sometimes eagles are symbol of strength and speed. Sometime eagles appear as a symbol of God’s care for His people. The picture of these powerful raptors building large nests, raising their chicks and fiercely protect their offspring is a compelling image of how God protects and nurtures his people. Notice the kind of image being conveyed here. We think of nurturing as a very genteel process, like a mother hen protecting her chicks. But the image of God as protector, fiercely defending his people might and strength is one which is unusual and possibly unfamiliar to us.
The vivid image of an eagle contained in Isaiah 40 tells us a number of things. It reminds us of how the fittest and strongest grow tired and weary and stumble and fall. I am possibly one of the fittest members of the congregation. But I find that when I am out running, I soon run out of steam. I have to stop and walk to catch my breath. However, whilst Isaiah recognises the weakness of limitations of human strength, those who trust and hope and wait on the Lord, their strength will be renewed. They will soar on wings like eagles, and run and not grow weary and walk and not feel faint. It’s an interest combination of words. Note carefully how the passage in constructed. There is a clear contrast between human strength and the strength that comes from the Lord. But of particular interest is the word soar. An eagle soaring is of course a magnificent sight and a wonderful thing to watch. And I do wonder, that buried in these verses is an important truth that we often overlook. Let me explain.
Eagles soar for a variety of reasons. Their broad outstretch wings capture the upward draft of a thermal or warm air, so they soar high into the sky with a minimum of effort. But I would want to suggest that one of the reasons Eagles soar is to get the big picture. The higher they go, the more they can see. Rather than being earthbound say like a chicken which can only see possibly 3 or 4 yards in front of it, eagles can see for miles. If what I read is accurate, an eagle can spot a rabbit at the distance of over two miles. This is our problem is the opposite. This is the important things we overlook. Rather than seeing the big picture like an eagle soaring, we humans tend to see only what is right in front of our eyes. We find it hard to look beyond our own experience. Much of what we believe: our tastes and our opinions is shaped by the culture we live in. This is why we need God to renew us, so we can look beyond ourselves and see the big picture.
This is what one person writes: What does it mean to hope in the Lord? It means that you don’t trust in your efforts. It means that you understand your inadequacy. It means that you stop trying to solve your problems by yourself. It means that you leave your past behind, and you make God your present and future. The promise is that those who place their hope in the Lord, as a result. They will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.
There is a story of a bishop in America who in the closing year of the nineteenth century was paying an annual visit to a small religious seminary. The bishop engaged in an after-dinner conversation with the college president. The bishop offered the opinion that the new century would not be as amazing as the last century because in his view everything about nature had been discovered, and all possible inventions had been made. The college president disagreed, stating that he felt the next fifty years would bring amazing discoveries and inventions. In his opinion, human beings would be flying through the skies like birds within a relatively short time. "Nonsense!" shouted the bishop. "Flight is reserved for angels!"
The bishop’s name was Wright. He had two sons -- Orville and Wilbur. Fortunately for American aviation, the bishop’s two sons were willing to join the college president in "standing up" for their beliefs and convictions. The Wright Brothers not only had to overcome the mechanics of flight but also the limitations placed on them by their own father.
One final thought. The moderator of the General Assembly earlier this week, described the Church of Scotland as a tired denomination. In other words, in his view our church is tired and weary. And I think he is right. The energy and passion has seeped out of the church. So we, as a congregation and as individuals need to be renewed. And it is only by the renewing of our faith that we will be able to soar on Eagles wings, and as we soar we can then be released from the confines of our own views and opinions and the limitations of our experience and then see the big picture. The big picture is of course God’s view of things. It is only then that we can see what we need to hold on to and what we need to leave behind.
PRAYER FOR OTHERS
This we have come to know,
this is what we have heard:
the Eternal is an everlasting God
creator of heaven and earth,
who does not grow weary or faint;
whose wisdom is unsearchable,
giving energy to the meek
and strength to those who have none.
Even youths shall faint and grow weary,
young athletes shall fall exhausted
but those who love the Lord Jesus
and patiently put their trust in God
shall renew their strength;
they shall soar with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not weary,
they shall walk and not faint.
God of life, God of hope, God of all
Lift us on your love like eagle's wings
Sustain us, Guide us, Heal us
Then send us forth into the world
That we may love as you love.
You lift us up to the heights, Holy One.
On wings like eagles you enable us to
soar with the possibilities
of revolution, of transformation
both within our own souls
and within this world which needs so much care.
And yet it is not the bright skies
where we most often live.
We are here with our feet on the ground—
your feet planted firmly beside us
as we try to walk without falling
walk through the shadows with us.
Be our companion and guide
as we journey through the changes and seasons of life,
Breath your peace into our doubts and fears,
as we face all the hurt and brokenness of this world.
We need your strength to not grow weary
as we continue to hope for new life
amidst old attitudes and injuries.
We long to run and not grow faint
as we challenge demeaning political tirades
that seep into our own daily encounters;
and as we work for your compassion and wholeness
for all people, and all creatures, and the very earth.
A prayer for our nation
God of ages, in your sight nations rise and fall,
and pass through times of peril.
Now, when our land is troubled, be near to judge and save.
We pray for Elizabeth our Queen, members of the Royal Family,
for those who serve in parliaments at Holyrood and Westminster,
for those who serve our local communities.
May they be led by your wisdom, may they search your will and see it clearly.
If we have turned from your way, help us to reverse our ways and repent.
In a time of quiet let us remember:
Those effected by Covid-19
Those who mourn and grieve
Those whose lives are crippled because of a poor self-image.
Those feeling emotionally and mentally exhausted.
And let us bring before God the unspoken prayers of our hearts.
Lift us up to the heights, Holy One, so we may again catch a glimpse
of the vast possibilities of your Shalom
even as we pray for it here on earth. Amen
The Lord’s prayer
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
you will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours
now and forever.
Prayer of Dismissal
Go on your way
for you and we
are God's children.
Get yourself out of this sacred place,
pushed by the Spirit who blows when and where he will,
making all places sacred.
Go also to do some sleeping and resting,
which will be another day
of God's wonderful surprises
and God's true successes.
And may God give you the strength and freedom of an eagle.
May Christ be the bread that nourishes and renews you.
And may the Holy Spirit be the rising wind beneath your wings.
We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
In the name of Christ. Amen
Although there are signs that the conditions of the lockdown are being eased, the church building continues to remain closed for services and gatherings. One we move the next stage of easing the lockdown, we may be in a position to hold open air services or within the church building subject to social distancing etc. In the meantime, all our activities are currently on-line:
Fellowship Group @ Tuesday evening at 7.00 pm, includes an informal Bible Study looking at Paul’s Letter to the Galatians.
Coffee Morning @ Thursday morning at 11.00 am
Evening Service @ Sunday evening at 7.00 pm.
Please contact Sean for the appropriate link to these meetings – no special apps or software required – at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pastoral Care- please advise Sean of any pastoral matters. (tel. 07791 755976)