Sunday Worship, 14 March 2021

Mother’s Day

Notices

  • Coffee and chat 11.15-12.15 on Sundays
  • Craft and chat 2-3pm on Mondays
  • Lent studies Thursdays 25 February – 25 March on Zoom 10.30am or 7.30pm
  • ‘Lent Lunches’ Thursdays 25 February – 25 March on Zoom
    Bring your own lunch, chat with others and short devotions
  • Online service on Wednesday 17th for St Patrick’s Day, focussing on his links with Dumbarton and West Dunbartonshire
  • We are aware of the First Minister’s remarks on churches being able to re-open in late March and are working towards opening on Palm Sunday, but details will be confirmed in the next week

Watch this week’s service here:

Links to this week’s hymns:


Welcome      

Send out your light and your truth to be my guide;

Let them lead me to your holy hill, to your dwelling place

Psalm 43: 3

Hymn 124 Praise to the Lord the Almighty

Prayer

On Mother’s day we think about the care and concern of our family for us –

 especially mums, grans, aunts, sisters

but it is also a time to think about your care and concern for us

 your love is constant, faithful and true

 you are our best and most faithful friend

 always there for us

 always working for the best for us

 but also ready to speak plainly to us when we need it

as we get near to Good Friday and Easter

 we remember how much your love for us cost

 that Jesus was ready to suffer and die for us

 but you showed us on Easter Day

  that goodness, love and truth always have the last word

forgive us for the times we haven’t appreciated your love

 for the times we haven’t appreciated

  the love and kindness of family and friends

help us to begin again

 and with your Spirit’s help

 try to be the people you want us to be

 the people you know we can be

Through Christ our Lord we pray. Amen


All age time

Today is Mother’s Day. Some mums may have been given breakfast in bed, or been given a present or card  – maybe even something made by their children. In previous years many families would meet up on Mother’s Day for lunch, afternoon tea or dinner, or they might go out together for the day or afternoon.

Covid restrictions limit the opportunities for meeting up this year – putting a limit on the number of people who can meet up (and that only outside), and preventing it if mum lives in a different local authority area. It is still possible to send cards and presents, to phone or have a chat on electronic media – but there won’t be hugs, and no special cakes.

For some people Mother’s Day is a bit more complex. Some no longer have mum with them. Some in that position have good memories to comfort them, some have mixed memories. Some are coping with mum having serious health issues, or maybe dementia. Some have a difficult relationship with her, or maybe the relationship has broken down entirely. Some hurt inside because of a child they never had, or that they had but lost.

So when we mark Mother’s Day we celebrate the good relationships and good memories, we give thanks for all the other women who have played an important part in our lives (grans, aunts, sisters, teachers and so on), and we remember all those for whom the day highlights loss or pain.


Reading        John 3: 14-21


Hymn 694 Brother sister let me serve you

Reflection

You know that saying, ‘you can pick your friends, but you’re stuck with your relations’, – never was a truer word said about Joseph’s relation Zac (son of his third cousin on his mother’s side, or something like that). Zac was always full of bright ideas on how to make a fortune. I don’t know that he ever tried any of them out – though if he did, I’m sure he’d have failed. Hair-brained wasn’t in it.

I remember one time we were at some family do or other in Jerusalem, and Zac was there. Zac had been drinking. He sidled up to me and declaimed in a stage whisper, ‘Hey Josh’ (to the annoyance of both my mother and grandmother, that’s what he called me), ‘I’ve had this brilliant idea. Me and you’se (his grammar was another thing that irritated my grandmother) is going to make a fortune. See that business you’ve got making doors and things in the middle of nowhere. Well I can transform it. We’ll make a fortune if we go into business together. You can run the production side, ‘cause costs is kind of low in the back of beyond, and I’ll take on planning, finance, sales and marketing from an office in Jerusalem. I’ve got this great idea – we’ll have ‘special offers’. How does this sound: two for the price of one, buy one get one free, clearance sale – all stock must go, when it’s gone it’s gone, record discounts, no deposit and no payments for a year? Doesn’t it just sound brilliant? We could have stores opening all over the Holy Land – Jerusalem, Jericho, Tiberias, Caesarea. You might have to put your men on double shifts. And..’ Then Nat arrived (the one from Pella, who loves the sound of his own voice, but bores everyone else silly, or drives them to distraction. For once I was actually glad to see him, because he quickly worked his magic on Zac who disappeared like snow in hell.

It set me thinking about offers and discounts, and what encourages people to buy things. Will a big enough discount, or large letter saying BARGAIN encourage people to buy what they don’t want, they don’t need, they’d never dreamt of having? Grandpa used to say that his sister was like that: call it a bargain and she’s buy the place up, and a few years later the whole lot would be in the synagogue Nearly New along with all the other things she didn’t need and never used.

The Good News I am offering to the people of Galilee and Judaea, indeed to the whole world, is the most amazing ‘special offer’ ever made. There is no deposit, 0% interest, no charge. God is offering humanity the opportunity to become his children, part of his family; to experience his forgiveness; to know the presence of his Spirit in their lives, guiding and directing them, enabling them to become holy people living by God’s values and standards. All that is asked of them is that they place their trust in me. It is so straight-forward, so simple – a free offer if ever there was one. But will they take it up? No! Why not? Well might you ask:

  • some will argue that there isn’t a God, or this doesn’t fit with their picture of God. They know better than God
  • some don’t want to have anything to do with God, and God’s standards and values. They would rather live by their own, which start and end with Self
  • some turn down the free offer because they see a cost involved in trying to live by God’s values and standards, a cost of time, effort and money, of energy and emotions, of doing things without receiving thanks or appreciation. They aren’t necessarily opposed to God, or the idea of God, but prefer what they see as an easier way through life.

Even so, I’m still prepared to go to Jerusalem, with all that that will entail, in order to do my Heavenly Father’s will, and make this free gift available to them. I hope that in the aftermath of what lies ahead my friends and disciples here, and all those who come after them, will take to the highways and byways of the world and be salesmen and women for the most fantastic ‘free offer’ that will ever be available.


Prayer for others and Lord’s Prayer

Loving God

You care about everyone in the world

You are always working to try to put right the wrongs

  that people or nature cause

 trying to build peace and justice in your world

we pray today for our families and friends

 but especially for mums and grans

 for all those who are expecting a baby

and those for who, talk of babies brings tears

we pray for all who are struggling to cope with life

 especially if they have children to look after too

 for those 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, grieving a friend or loved one

 those who don’t have anywhere to call home

 those who don’t have enough to eat

 those worried about job, money, home, friends or family

 those who long to live in peace and safety

we pray for the Queen and her family

 for all in positions of leadership in this and every land

We pray for your church

 for our own congregation

 the wider church in Dumbarton

 the worldwide 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


Hymn  182 Now thank we all our God

Blessing      

Be bold to share the life of Christ and show his love

and the blessing of God Almighty

Father, Son and Holy Spirit

rest and remain with you

today and every day and forever. Amen

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