Sunday Worship, 6th September 2020

CCL 125049              Charity No SC002937


  • Welcome
  • Hymn             106 Bring to the Lord a glad new song Tune Jerusalem  (Church Hymnary 4th Edition)
  • All age time
  • Prayer
  • Reading         Romans 13: 8-14 (Good News Bible)
  • Hymn             197 As we are gathered Jesus is here Tune As we are gathered  (Church Hymnary 4th Edition)
  • Reflection
  • Prayer for others
  • Hymn              173 Sing to God new songs of worship Tune Ode to joy (Church Hymnary 4th Edition)
  • Blessing

View our service:


Welcome and let us worship God

‘Cry out, shout aloud, for the Holy One of Israel is among you in majesty.’

Isaiah 12: 6


click > play to hear the music

1 Bring to the Lord a glad new song,

children of grace extol your king;

worship and praise to God belong –

to instruments of music, sing!

Let those be warned who spurn God’s name,

let rulers all obey God’s word;

for justice shall bring tyrants shame:

let every creature praise the Lord!

2 Sing praise within these hallowed walls,

worship beneath the dome of heaven;

by cymbals’ sounds and trumpets’ calls

let praises fit for God be given:

with strings and brass and wind rejoice –

then, join our song in full accord

all living things with breath and voice:

let every creature praise the Lord!

All age time (for ages 0-100)

Today’s Bible story

In today’s Bible story one of Jesus’ followers, Paul, is writing to the Christians in Rome before he visits them. He reminds them of the importance of loving their neighbour

Something to do

Think about your neighbours:

  • How many current neighbours can you name?
  • Have you got/ had any really good neighbours?
  • What sort of things have they done to help you?
  • Have you had any really difficult neighbours?

Something to make

Would you like to make them a card to express your appreciation?

Something to think about

How do you establish good relationships with neighbours?

How do you handle difficult neighbours?

How good a neighbour are you?

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father

We thank you that in Jesus you have experienced human life

You know what it is like to be part of a family

 having neighbours, having colleagues

 having fun, being sad or worried

 being patient, being encouraging

 feeling ignored or let down

You have shown us how we should live in all those situations

You have given us your Spirit to help us to live your way

But all too often we don’t

Sometimes we wanted to do what was right

 but tiredness, or irritation, or a moment off guard

 meant that we didn’t do the right thing

Sometimes we did the wrong thing without even realising it

Sometimes we knew what we should do

 but we chose not to do it

 because it was too much effort

 or because we wanted to do or say something

 that would cause hurt or offence

We are sorry

Forgive us

Help us to be different

 to be more like Jesus in all that we do

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Bible reading

Romans 13: 8-14

click > play to hear the reading

Be under obligation to no one – the only obligation you have is to love one another. Whoever does this has obeyed the Law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery; do not commit murder; do not steal; do not desire what belongs to someone else” – all these, and any others besides, are summed up in the one command, “Love your neighbour as you love yourself.” If you love someone, you will never do them wrong; to love, then, is to obey the whole Law.

You must do this, because you know that the time has come for you to wake up from your sleep. For the moment when we will be saved is closer now than it was when we first believed. The night is nearly over, day is almost here. Let us stop doing the things that belong to the dark, and let us take up weapons for fighting in the light. Let us conduct ourselves properly, as people who live in the light of day – no orgies or drunkenness, no immorality or indecency, no fighting or jealously. But take up the weapons of the Lord Jesus Christ, and stop paying attention to your sinful nature and satisfying its desires.


click > play to hear the music

As we are gathered, Jesus is here;

one with each other, Jesus is here;

joined by the Spirit, washed in the blood,

part of the body, the church of God.

As we are gathered, Jesus is here;

one with each other, Jesus is here.


(by someone in Rome who heard Paul’s letter read out to them)

Love your neighbour’, says Paul, quoting Jesus, quoting the Book of Leviticus in the Jewish Law. It sounds good, but it isn’t easy to put into practice.

I live in a tenement block in the centre of the city. It is crowded with people. I have dozens of neighbours, and they are always changing over, so I don’t know or recognise many of them:

– there’s an interfering busy-body lives across the landing who seems to be interested in everyone’s business, and has a tongue like a razor-blade. I cannot understand a word of what she says, as I’m not sure which language she speaks – which is probably as well

– there’s a family upstairs that seem to have umpteen children and adults. The adults only seem to have one volume level – loud – and the children seem to be forever arguing or bursting into tears

– and the folk downstairs! Their door always seems to have someone going in or coming out, sometimes carrying things. I don’t know who they are, what they do. There’s a lot of swearing and shouting. I don’t know what goes on, and probably don’t want to.

As someone brought up to learn the Ten Commandments I would say that it’s easy to keep some of them:

Don’t commit adultery         Have you seen my neighbour’s missus? No chance!

Do not desire what belongs to someone else – I suspect that what my neighbours own legally I wouldn’t want, and what I might want they don’t own legally

Do not steal                           Ditto

Do not commit murder        There are times when it is tempting, but given the gang culture around here, it isn’t worth it. You’d be next

Having said all of that, life in this city – from top to bottom – does not honour the Ten Commandments, whether the ones that relate to respecting God, or the ones about respecting neighbour. You might want to make some allowance for the behaviour of the neighbours in my tenement, since they are poor, desperate and have had a difficult upbringing. But you can’t say the same about the ones who hang around the imperial court.

‘No orgies or drunkenness, no immorality or indecency, no fighting or jealousy’, says Paul. It’s well seen that he hasn’t visited Rome yet. That’s life in this city. You can’t change that surely? Even though, for someone like me, you don’t like the culture of the city, you have to accept it and go along with it, doing things that other people do so that you don’t stand out as different. People here are very good at calling you names, making fun of you. Sometimes they’ll even rough you up because you’re ‘different’. I gather Jesus said, ‘Turn the other cheek’ and ‘Blessed are you when people insult you’. I’ve never felt blessed when I’ve been insulted. And look what happened to him when he turned the other cheek!

Love your neighbour. It’s hard. Some just aren’t loveable. Avoiding doing hurtful things isn’t too hard (well, most of the time), but deliberately choosing to do helpful, supportive things  – that’s different. They may not appreciate what you’re doing, they may be rude, there could be a cost to you, you could even be in some kind of danger.

Jesus turned the other cheek, suffered and died. But God raised him from the dead. He promised that those who are insulted and suffer for doing what is right will receive a great reward from him. But can you really change the culture of a city like Rome – from self-centred to selflessness? I suppose we can always give it a try – with God’s help.

Prayers for others

Heavenly Father

We all have some kind of neighbours wherever we live

 with some we may get on well

 with others we nod and say, ‘Hello’, as we pass

 some we may not know, and some we may avoid

there can be times when we are grateful for the help and support of neighbours

there may be times when we have played our part in helping them

there may be neighbours who have paid no attention to when we need help

 (or maybe it was the other way round?)

There may be times when neighbours have made our lives miserable

We pray for our neighbours and their needs

 we give thanks for help and assistance given

 we ask for your help in being alert to times we can help them

 and for your patience and guidance in coping with the difficult ones

Jesus encouraged us to think of ‘neighbours’

 as more than people who live next door

 but rather are all the people with whom we come into contact

 colleagues, customers, clients, complete strangers

 and that we are to be ready to give them help if they need it

That is hard

We need your help to do it

As we think of loving our neighbour

 help us to love ourselves

 as you love us

We pray for all who are ill,

 those who look after them

 and those who worry about them

those waiting for or receiving treatment

 and those for whom there is no treatment

those who are lonely, feeling down, or grieving a friend or loved one

those who are worried about home, work or money

 a friend or a relative

those who are living with the after-effects of natural disasters

those who do not have enough to eat, or somewhere to call home

those who long to live in peace and safety

those who have fled from their homes seeking safety

We pray for the Queen, the Government

 all in positions of leadership in this and every land

We pray for your church

 our own congregation

 the wider church in Dumbarton

 the world-wide church

We bring to you our prayers for people and situations of special concern to us

And we sum up our prayers in the words of the prayer Jesus gave 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. Amen


click > play to hear the music

1 Sing to God new songs of worship –

all his deeds are marvellous;

he has brought salvation to us

with his hand and holy arm:

he has shown to all the nations

righteousness and saving power;

he recalled his truth and mercy

to his people Israel.

2 Sing to God new songs of worship –

earth has seen his victory;

let the lands of earth be joyful

praising him with thankfulness:

sound upon the harp his praises,

play to him with melody;

let the trumpets sound his triumph,

show your joy to God the king!

3 Sing to God new songs of worship –

let the sea now make a noise;

all on earth and in the waters

sound your praises to the Lord!

Let the hills be joyful together

let the rivers clap their hands,

for with righteousness and justice

he will come to judge the earth.


God the Father sends you out

 to be his witnesses wherever you go

 to work to bring healing and wholeness in all you do

and the blessing of God Almighty

 Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

 rest and remain with you,

 today, and every day, and for ever. Amen


Moderator’s note to all congregations 6 September 2020

Last Tuesday, the former Presbyteries of Dumbarton and Greenock & Paisley united to form Clyde Presbytery. I have the honour of being its first Moderator.

For many years people across the Church of Scotland have felt that the Church’s structure – designed for circumstances pertaining 40-50 years ago – needs to be overhauled drastically to meet the very different world of the 2020s and beyond. The creation of Clyde Presbytery is part of a wider programme of change across the Church of Scotland – a programme that will probably be extended and speeded up to reflect the challenges and opportunities arising from the Coronavirus pandemic.

The union of the two Presbyteries, and the changes that will in time flow from it, are designed to refocus the role of Presbytery: instead of primarily having an administrative function, it will in future provide congregations with support in a variety of ways. It will take time for Clyde Presbytery to settle into its new role and for new support staff to be recruited (not helped by the limitations in place thanks to the pandemic).

To the Minister or Interim Moderator, Kirk Session, Office-bearers, members and the wider church family of your congregation, I bring the greetings and good wishes of Clyde Presbytery. We give God thanks for all that you have been doing over recent months to continue his work in your congregation and community, and pray for his continued blessing on you as you continue striving to do his work.

Ian Johnson

Moderator Clyde Presbytery

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