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KILRENNY CHURCH CHRONICLE
ISSUE 19 Sunday 26th July 2020.
Kilrenny Church website
East Neuk Covid19 Emergency help numbers:
0800 999 6543 - 07818 414178.
Worship and personal reflection:
''Our homes are in a Real and Important way the places of worship''
Matthew 13: 44-46
Praise & Reflection
Let's start with a rousing hymn
“To God be the glory great things he has done!
So loved he the world that he gave us his Son,
who yielded his life an atonement for sin,
and opened the life-gate that all may go in.”
By itself it encapsulates more than a thousand words of theological understanding. It matches what Jesus achieved by his use of parables. Often short stories with a depth of meaning understood as they described actions and events familiar to his followers and disciples.
In Matthew 13 from verse 44 Jesus tells the parables of the Hidden treasures and the Pearl.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought the field.”
“ Again the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he finds one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”
Two very short parables with a similar message. The listeners to these parables would have no access to banks or depositaries in which to store or hide their riches. In the first parable where else than to bury the valuables in the ground. To stumble on a treasure not in his own field presented a dilemma. Does he take the treasure to the owner, does he steal it? His answer was to bury it again then by selling all his possessions raise enough to buy the field in order that the treasure became rightfully his. The mystery which the story revealed is that the kingdom of God was not a birthright but had to be bought by sacrificing everything one possessed in order to gain access to the kingdom.
In the second parable the merchant, always on the lookout for high quality pearls and finding one of high value sold everything he owned to purchase it. At that time pearls were the most highly valued gem in the middle east and would be bought as investments similar to diamonds today. Again Jesus was hammering home that being the sons of Abraham gave them no quick and easy access to the kingdom of God.
To me the parables can be set in modern times to the same effect. In the first the person stumbles onto the treasure while in the second the merchant had been diligently looking for it. Today some have diligently searched for the truth in life before finding it in Jesus Christ. Others may have been living their lives without much thought to eternal matters when for all different reasons they stumble into Christ and find the answer to something which they had never even thought of asking – what is life all about? In both parables, the man and the merchant recognized the value of what they had discovered and all else in life did not match up. They sold all they had with nothing held back in order to achieve an eternal goal.
These are the simple stories that illustrate what most of us have difficulty in achieving. How much do we value life in Christ. If we are believers what is holding us back from truly believing all that we know that prevents us from taking that ultimate step. What could possibly have more value than living for Christ.
The reflection commences with the first verse from hymn 512 – “So loved he the world that he gave us his Son, who yielded his life an atonement for sin, and opened the life-gate that all may go in”. This presents to me a picture of a shepherd trying to gather his flock into a pen but every time he nears success they turn away. It also suggests that we ourselves find it easier and more comfortable to turn away when the open gate looks possible as the timing for us may not be quite right.
I admire people who face that challenge and march through the gate. We are fortunate to have had and still have people in our congregation who are up to the challenge. However it is not without difficulty. I have a close relative who is a born again Christian unafraid to express her religious certainty every day and to anybody she meets. Why do I find it uncomfortable to engage in a similar manner when we meet or converse. What I would refer to as, “Godspeak,” is not for everybody and is not too common these days. A recent survey suggested that only 7% of the population has any connection at all to Christian worship. Religious marriage is now lower in numbers than a secular ceremony if indeed marriage takes place. So the question we must ask ourselves is which way do we move forward. Do we become more Pentecostal in our attitudes and self delivery or do we continue to accept that the gate swinging on its hinges remains tentatively open but perhaps not quite yet, or do we march through by taking that final step.
As we are hopefully approaching a return to regular worship we can reflect on the satisfying traditional services we have witnessed over the years in Kilrenny. However we are aware there are all different styles of worship and some may seem more attractive than others particularly to young people. “ Godspeak,” is both a turn off to some and a turn on to others. Like many of us I am not at ease with a door step confrontation discussing religion. Neither am I at ease with an invasive form of Pentecostal persuasion.
Jesus in these parables spoke both of what the kingdom of God is like and how much the kingdom of God is worth. Our task now is to examine how best we use our skills in a modern setting to tell and explain the parables. Whatever course we take as the pandemic eases it had better come quick as our answers to the charge - How relevant is the church? becomes even more relevant as it faces mounting challenges in an ever increasing secular society. Failure to move forward quickly and with conviction may result in the “Gone Missing” charge being levied against the Church of Scotland. Let us give this generation and following generations the privilege and pleasure of worshipping together with hope in Kilrenny.
(With thanks to Archie for his leading worship this week)
Praise CH4 358 The great love of God is revealed in the Son.
Music @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sdMssEBQoI
The great love of God is revealed in the Son, who came to this earth to redeem every one.
That love, like a stream flowing clear to the sea, makes clean every heart that from sin would be free.
It binds the whole world, every barrier it breaks, the hills it lays low and the mountains it shakes.
It's yours, it is ours, see how lavishly given - the pearl of great price, and the treasure of heaven!
Let us Pray (Allan)
I must confess I don’t always find it easy finding the words for a prayer to share with you and this week was looking particularly difficult. Then this morning “postman Malc” put the latest issue of the Church of Scotland's Life and Work magazine through my letterbox (thanks as always Malcolm) and there on page 5 was a lovely prayer written in plain English, nothing fancy or high falutin’, like me. Now I know a good many of you don’t get to see the magazine so for my prayer this week I’ve shared this lovely one with you.
God of wild places
rugged cliffs, rumbustious seas,
breezy meadows, bright beaches,
natures grandeur displayed.
Sun rises and sets
caresses clouded hills
we are blessed in your love.
God of rolling farmland
fields ripening food,
congregations of cattle,
shearing of sheep,
bubbling brews, bursting barns.
Nature's bounty displayed.
Sun rises and sets
caresses clouded hills
we are blessed in Your love.
God of city streets,
cafes, countless cultures,
bustling buses, stravaigin’ shoppers,
high-living, humble homes,
silent streets, solitary strollers.
Humankind’s ingenuity displayed
Sun rises and sets
caresses clouded hills
we are blessed in Your love.
God of the lockdown life,
Humanity’s fears and failings hidden away
Sun rises and sets
caresses clouded hills
we are blessed in your promise
Uncover our shame and our shambles.
Uncover our sadness and sorrows.
Uncover our fears and foibles.
Expose us to the scrutiny of your light.
Wrap us in the warmth of your embrace,
that we might be un-Locked by Love
re-created, re-shaped, re-born
into the wholeness of your Passion.
And our Lord's prayer,
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.
Rev Ian W. F. Hamilton
WALLS VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE
On a wonderful trip to Berlin we visited several of the city’s attractions and places of interest, not least the Reichstag, home of the German parliament and also the imposing Brandenburg Gate.
This monumental gate, Berlin’s most famous landmark, was built in the eighteenth century as a symbol of peace as part of an original city wall. During the dark days of the Cold War, since it was located very near to the border between East and West Berlin the gate became the symbol of a divided city. But when the later Berlin Wall fell in 1989 the Brandenburg Gate immediately became the symbol of a re-unified city.
From these dark days of the Cold War, we experienced “Checkpoint Charlie”. “Charlie” witnessed all kinds of daring attempts by East Berliners to cross to the West, despite searchlights, guard dogs, and armed guards who shot to kill.
The original checkpoint was dismantled in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall but a copy was re-erected in 2000 on the original site for the benefit of tourists.
Of course we visited what remains of the once formidable and infamous Berlin Wall which kept the city divided for nearly thirty years. This division of Germany and the Cold War has, in effect, come to symbolise the twentieth century. There are only a few parts of the Berlin Wall still standing. Visiting these remains I was reminded of that other now ancient and still visible wall, “The Great Wall of China” built originally by a Chinese Emperor around 200 BC. Albeit this wall has been re-built and maintained principally by the Ming Dynasty, parts of the original Great Wall of China still survive.
Walls have been historically built to keep people apart. China’s Great Wall was built by the Emperor to shut every enemy out and to keep her own people safe. The Berlin Wall was built to keep those in the city’s east inside the Soviet Union controlled zone, and apart from the freedom those living on the west side of the wall enjoyed.
However there is another kind of wall and although quite invisible, we are all familiar with it, we call it our conscience.
When we are about to do something we know is wrong it’s as if there’s something that says to us, “Stop! Don’t do that.” It’s as if an invisible “wall” goes up and acts like a warning light and saves us from doing the wrong things.
The wall of our conscience is a very effective defence. It’s as we obey the voice of our conscience we obey the voice of God, who, although also unseen, is ever present, all around us, and within us. As Jesus said, “I am with you, always.” And as the well-loved children’s hymn reminds us:
“And, though I cannot see him, I know he hears my praise.” And he knows our every thought too, our good ones and our not so good ones! (Ian)
Postcard from Kingskettle
(Rev Michael Allardice)
Last week I did something I hadn’t done in years – I walked down to Crail Harbour from the Marketgate carpark. Now I know that’s not much of a victory in the great scheme of things, but for me it was another important landmark in my recovery from having both my knees replaced. Some of you will relate to the pain that walking downhill causes you when you have bad legs – uphill was never an issue for me – but that jarring feeling as you take each step means that you look for ways to avoid those situations.
What this experience in Crail brought home to me is that now I can start thinking in a different way: I am looking forward to doing things I want to do rather than finding reasons for avoiding things that might cause me discomfort. This realisation has been important for me. I really wasn’t aware of just how restrictive my bad knees had been on my lifestyle. As with so many things in life, it’s only when we look back we begin to put the whole picture together and see how much a particular disability has impacted us. In my case I’m very fortunate that I’ve been able to have surgery to correct my physical issues, but I’m also conscious that for some of you reading this you are having to live with life-limiting conditions that cannot be so easily resolved and you have to reconcile yourself to living with your situation. That’s so much harder, knowing what you can no longer do, but not have any hope of changing things.
My small victory reminded me of a concept we often use in our teaching that comes from Sports Psychology: the concept of Marginal Gains. The theory of Marginal Gains is that the individual should look for the small changes they can make that will add up to overall improvement in a particular activity or aspect of life. One of the best exponents of this has been Sir Dave Brailsford who took British Cycling from amateur status to world-beating domination by taking a Marginal Gains approach to every aspect of equipment and training. The sports journalist Matthew Syed has written extensively on this subject and demonstrated how this theory has been used in the Airline Industry, Medicine and Education. In my work, we try to show our students how paying more attention to some of the details they can make positive changes to their outcomes.
Each of us can use this concept of Marginal Gains in our own lives to make small changes to improve our quality of life. So often in life we put up with things because that’s how it’s always been, but why do we do that? While there are so many things that are changing all around us just now, why don’t we look at our own lives to see what small changes we can make that might actually improve our own or the lives of those around us. Look around the house and ask yourself why some things are still being used when you have to work it in a certain way or we keep something that doesn’t work at all? I’m as bad as anyone for keeping hold of things long after their usefulness is over, likewise I am very prone to putting things down next to me rather than putting them back where they belong – just ask Liz about that bad habit! But it is more than just our individual laziness that we can change, it’s also about looking to see what simply improvements we can make that don’t cost a great deal but will really improve our lives.
While these things are true within our daily lives, Churches can be even more prone to the “it’s aye been that way” syndrome. Now we have the opportunity to see how we can do things differently in our Church lives as well as in the everyday world: what might we take the chance to change that will make our physical and spiritual lives better? So often, we get into a rut and find that change is too hard to contemplate, worse still we impose that rigidness into our spiritual lives which can have many negative consequences. Now that we’ve been unable to worship together for so many months, when we return, can we do so while grasping the chance to make improvements that will encourage others to join us in worshiping our Lord in ways we can all find meaning?
My sporting prowess may never make it much beyond stretching the length and steepness of my walks and challenging myself not to stop for coffee every 30 minutes, but that change in mindset from “what am I able to do” to “what would I like to do”, will make a difference to my life and that of those around me. The challenge for each one of us is: what small changes can we make that will have a positive impact on our own lives and those around us? (Michael)
Additional worship & Personal Prayers
Sunday Worship on Radio 4 at 08:10 Songs of Praise on BBC1 Sunday 1.15 pm.
Church of Scotland - Kirk Services online
Rev Dr Amos Chewachong:
Thanks to George Walker for recommending the following links which, if you are missing organ music and singing, you may enjoy
A North Lanarkshire church has released a series of music videos ‘Classic Hymns from the West’, The Rev Calum Stark, minister of Bellshill West Parish Church, suggested a midweek programme of music in addition to the church’s online Sunday services.
Each video includes a series of hymns played by the church’s organist and choirmaster, Duncan Mackay, with visuals added by Nathan Shepka. Episodes in the series have included ‘classic hymns’, ‘old Sunday School favourites’, ‘wonderful world worship’ and ‘requests week’.
Also Bellshill Central Parish Church.
Their organist Alan Mathew has been playing the Church organ weekly and is currently on episode 18 of The Organist Entertains"
As we await approval of St Andrews Presbytery for the reopening of Kilrenny Church for worship, we must also follow the Church of Scotland's guidance on the regulations and restrictions that are placed on congregations.
The Scottish Government regulations for places of worship allow churches to reopen for communal worship, subject to ensuring that a risk assessment1 is completed and that when they open physical distancing2 and good hand hygiene is observed3. The Church of Scotland guidance to congregations is to encourage people who come into our buildings to wear a face covering4 and everyone will be asked to provide their name and contact details5 as part of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect System. At this time singing in worship is not permitted and numbers are limited to a maximum of 50 people in a church building at any one time, although many churches will only be able to admit fewer individuals safely6.
1. Kilrenny Kirk Session has completed the risk assessment which has been submitted to Presbytery.
2. The 2 metre distancing policy will be observed and a one way system to enter and exit the Church will be clearly marked.
3. There will be an automatic hand gel dispenser at the entrance to the Church which you will be asked to use for good hand hygiene.
4. We are all now used to wearing a face covering in shops and we are asked to do so inside the Church.
5. I am required to keep a record of names and phone numbers of anyone attending worship. This record will only be kept for a period of 28 days. For Kilrenny Church members I do have your name and phone number as part of the Congregational records, as you all completed a Data Protection form in 2016 consenting to this. Therefore I will only need to actually ask for the name and phone number of anyone not on the Congregational roll.
6. To ensure social distancing is observed you will be asked to sit only where seats are allocated. Members of the same household may sit together.
We are not permitted at the moment to use the balcony.
The Church will only be open on a Sunday for worship. This will allow the building to be closed in excess of 72 hours (the minimum recommended) before cleaning as an additional safety measure.
Finally, please be assured that The Church will be thoroughly cleaned with appropriate detergent and disinfectant that is active against bacteria and viruses before opening each week for worship.
George Walker drew my attention to a quote from John Chalmers in this month's life and work.
“ modern definitions of professionalism and good leadership crowd out everyday kindness and intuitive human interactions. Most of us have had experiences confirming that good will, affection, gentleness and concern can be crowded out by the application of formal procedures.”
We hopefully are not guilty !! as the Kirk Session endeavour to comply with the legal and Church authority requirements for re-opening the Church.
The internet has some great Christian resources and I sometimes turn to the poetry of Deborah Ann with her Christian themes.
Coronavirus has given us unprecedented challenges and I was directed to Proverbs 3: 5-6
'Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.
We are told in Ecclesiastes 3 that for every season God has a reason. Sometimes we find out why, but sometimes we never find out. (Corinne)
The seasons of Life by Deborah Ann
The seasons of life,
blow in like the wind
some are slow-moving
others like a whirlwind.
But, I have found,
no matter the season
whatever blows my way
God has for it, a reason.
The seasons of life,
have their highs and lows
the cause behind them
only God really knows.
But, I have found,
seasons are a blessing
urging me into the goal
to just keep pressing.
The seasons of life,
blow in and out
some like a whisper
others with a shout.
But, I have found,
each season sent to me
keeps me trusting God
for what I cannot see!
News of those wearing a Dog collar!
Doddie's diary and the trials of Ann
All my previous dogs have been good ‘eaters’, in fact I had to slow down my lab, Brodie, to stop him from inhaling his food in one gulp. So you can imagine my consternation when Doddie from day one just sniffed disdainfully at his food and walked away. In Lockdown there are no quick calls to the vet for advice, it’s a £15 consultation by e-mail each time. I sought local advice; I asked friends; I searched the internet for what the problem could be and to find the best solution. Just leave him he won’t go hungry, but he did! Now we all want our youngsters to have the best start in life and to do that a healthy diet is one of the main building blocks. I changed his kibble five times; I lured him with meaty morsels; I added meat toppers which he neatly picked off and spat out the kibble; I even hand fed him when he hadn’t eaten for two days. Then I could hear my Irish friends saying,”catch onto yourself Ann – he’s manipulating you”. So I have withdrawn the offending kibble and substituted loads of raw vegetables – he now whops his meal down!! But do you think I am giving up on the kibble – no I have swapped it for his training treats, after all if you do not eat the good bits you can’t have the pudding!! However his fussiness also extends to a lot of proprietary biscuits and chews so I am not sure who won that round.
Our daughter, Katrina, has been faithfully collecting jam-jars over the last year for my mad jam and chutney making session that usually starts about now for our fund-raising events. But who knows when that will all start again, and when will we see her? So when Katrina saw a plea for jam-jars by a Mum on a local Facebook page, for a charitable cause, she contacted her, saying that they had been collected and were originally destined to help a charity which has been thwarted by corona virus, so it would be great to transfer them to her. Amongst other things this lady is making jam to help raise money so that her son can go on a trip to Borneo to work for charities saving the animals and the ecosystem from the effects of Palm oil deforestation. She is also making nutritious dog biscuits. By way of thanks she gave Katrina a packet of biscuits ‘Paws against Palms dog biscuits’. Katrina has sent them on to me and each biscuit is inscribed with the word Doddie. She has also sent me a book on how to make good dog biscuits and treats as a fundraising idea – like Mother like Daughter!!
I fully expected Doddie to turn his nose up at these ‘special’ treats, but no, down the hatch in one and then a mournful ‘Oliver’ look “can I have some more please?” A discerning palate - should I be surprised? Dogs have an amazing sense of smell, and some are able to detect drugs, cancers and high blood sugars. Doddie has a lot of working Cocker Spaniel in him and he is great nose for hide and seek the sausage so why not a discerning nose for products that may have inferior ingredients in them? (Ann)
Allan & Sybil's Quiz
(Thanks to George and Pauline Walker for the quiz this week!)
Allan & Sybil's Quiz answers
Here are the answers to the scrambled garden plants quiz. Hope everything came up roses for you!
1) Hydrangea 2)Hyacinth 3) Rhododendron 4) French Marigold 5) Geranium 6) Sunflower 7) Honeysuckle 8) Cowslip 9) Primrose 10) Petunia 11) Chrysanthemum 12) Clematis 13) Freesia 14) Carnation 15) Gladioli 16) Delphinium 17) Campanula 18) Sweet William 19) Forget me not 20) Red Hot Poker
Concluding: Memories of Dunoon
The ground-floor neighbour with his cache of Glasgow tramways paint in shed number 1, confined his decorating work to other garden seats; then the paint tins were put away for the winter. He now resumed his other interest - repairing clocks etc., and happily working in shed number 2 with his tools.
Life settled down.... but the arrival of hundreds of Americans to the newly established nuclear base on the Holy Loch must have brought with it real fear of the Cold War and the fragility of world peace. It was only fifteen or so years before that the Firth of Clyde had been one vast area of warships, aircraft carriers, frigates etc.
My friend's grandmother, who lived next door, had seen two World Wars, and she and her generation viewed this 'invasion' with terror.
My friend emigrated to Canada and my visits to Dunoon were less frequent. The tramway enthusiast and his wife and the douce neighbours became older, and past episodes over paint were forgotten, as they all looked after each other, as good neighbours should!! (Jessie)
The Naughty Choirboy
On a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon on Loch Ness, an enthusiastic angler marvelled at his situation. Not another boat, nor any other person, in sight.
He had missed Church this morning. Again! These days he attended a few evenings, hardly any mornings. His family all chided him about it, had he lost his faith, did he no longer believe, nor wish to worship?
He privately contemplated some doubts that he harboured. Suddenly, the Loch heaved, the boat lifted in a rushing torrent of water as the monster turned it upside down and the angler was thrown into the air.
"Oh God, help me please. Save me from this fate, I beg you Lord".
Came a booming voice: "Why should I save you. Were you not doubting your faith in me only five minutes ago, sceptical of my ever existing, and now you beg me to save you?"
"Yes Lord, I was wrong to doubt you. I ask your forgiveness and plead with you to save me. Five minutes ago I didn't believe in the Loch Ness Monster!"
The Kirk Session wish you a very safe, healthy and happy week ahead.
To Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
the God whom we adore,
be glory, as it was, and is,
and shall be evermore.