This Morning's Service at Kilrenny Church has been cancelled and replaced by Worship and personal reflection prepared by Rev Michael Allardice.
Sunday 11 October 2020
09:45 to 10:30
The Watchnight service conducted in Kilrenny Church is now available to watch via the Church website
KILRENNY PARISH CHURCH
Sunday 27th December, 2020
It is with regret, due to the change in the Covid Restrictions affecting Scotland that came into force on December 26th, Kilrenny Church will be closed until further notice.
Worship and personal reflection
''our homes are in a Real and Important way the places of worship''
Thanks to Rev Michael Allardice for preparing the following for our personal use.
In our looking into 2021,
may the God of hope be with us.
In our lamenting the losses of 2020,
may the God of peace be with us.
In our celebrations of Christmas,
may the God of joy be with us.
In our caring for the world,
may the God of love be with us.
In our living of life in all its fullness,
may we know that God is with us.
Luke 2: 22 - 40
Jesus presented in the Temple.
22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[a]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”[b]
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss[c] your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[d] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
At this time of year,
Christmas itself can distract us from its purpose and its source in God.
At a time of looking back we will have regrets.
In looking forward we may find it hard to see God at work.
It can be hard to be faithful as Simeon and Anna were,
year after year.
God of all,
all creation is invited to praise You,
giving thanks to our Creator.
Yet we struggle to be grateful,
when we see loss, fear and destruction in the world.
We struggle to praise,
when we are afraid to look at ourselves before You.
We struggle to turn to You,
when we are distracted by this season.
God with us,
all peoples are invited to come close,
welcoming You into our lives.
Yet we struggle to walk with You,
day after day, in the mess of our lives.
We struggle to welcome You
when You come in those different from us.
We struggle to look ahead with You,
into another year of uncertainty.
God of all,
You know all of this, and still You love us.
God with us,
You know all of this, and still You come,
inviting us to come close.
So, set us free from our fears and struggles.
Heal us of our hopelessness.
Forgive us our mistakes.
And open our hearts to know that You are with us,
Your Spirit filling us and Your love guiding us,
this day and in the days to come,
through Jesus, Your Son,
After the celebrations of Christmas Day, comes the day after. For those who've over eaten or drunk too much, the next day can be one of regret and words like "never again" might be heard uttered from time to time. For others, mainly the women of the family, it is a time to tidy up and reorganise the house to establish a sense of order once again. Reality bites after the party is over. No doubt for many of you reading this, it has not been the over-indulgence that brings home the reality of our current situation, rather it has been the constant news of hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19 that has been the most sobering aspect of this Christmas season.
At this dark time of year, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the constant stream of bad news and sense of never breaking out of the negativity. However, the message of the Gospels is that God is coming into the world once more to break the cycle of bad news with the giving of His Son, Jesus Christ. In Luke's Gospel, we read of two people who had waited their whole lives to see God's promise fulfilled through the birth of a child. Simeon and Anna recognised what the rest of the world ignored: that this child being presented at the Temple would soon bring light into a world of darkness and despair.
2020 has been the worse year most of us can ever have experienced, and yet, there is the promise of a brighter future to come. If we can weather the next few months, there is the prospect of a vaccine that will allow us a new, better future: one in which we can re-establish the norms of family life and society.
God may sometimes seem distant in our current situation, but He is still with us. When scientists make new breakthroughs, it is God that is prompting them; when neighbours call in on each other, it is God that stimulates their concern; when someone struggles with illness or addiction, God is beside them offering comfort and compassion. So, we must look forward in hope of a new dawn where we learn to master the situation we find ourselves in and see God's handiwork in all the good things happening around us.
The baby in the manger is restless, He is ready to do good work in this place, but He needs His people to recognise Him and do His bidding, in Kilrenny, in Scotland, and around the world. Let us be as observant as Anna and Simeon so that we may see the Lord in the face of those we encounter, today, tomorrow and everyday. Amen.
Can I wish you all a very blessed New Year and I look forward to worshipping with you all once again in early 2021.
May we go,
ready to see God at work in the world,
open to hope for God’s ways in the world,
and holding God’s love in our lives.
And the blessing of God,
loving Father, newborn Son, and living Spirit,
go with us, and to all those we are given to love,
this day, into 2021, and always,
Kilrenny Parish Church, Kirk Wynd,