Welcome and Notices
Our service at Dumbarton: Riverside today (starting at 11:15am) is led by members of the three Dumbarton congregations, and draws upon material prepared by the Church of Scotland, Salvation Army, United Reformed Church and Eco-congregation. Some of prayers and readings have been recorded and will be shown on the screens, so that we can involve more people, without having too many gathering round the microphones
Call to worship
We gather in the image of the Creator who is a community of love. We gather in the name of the Redeemer who reconciles all of creation. We gather in the presence of the Life Giver who inspires new life and renews it.
Church of Scotland video – Why is COP26 important? https://youtu.be/3ymXFIEu0ww
Hymn 147– All creatures of our God and King Verses 1-4
Lord of creation, we pray for wise national leadership on climate issues and for the Glasgow conference. Help each of us also to show leadership in our homes, our workplaces, our schools and our churches. Amen
All-Age time YouTube Louis Armstrong What a Wonderful World (Official Video) https://youtu.be/rBrd_3VMC3c
Hymn 245 – It’s a world of sunshine
Lord, thank you for your love, the love that restores, the love that renews, the love that builds hope. Help us each day to seek practical opportunities to put that love into action. Amen
Bible Reading – Psalm 104, verses 24-31.
Reflection – Oak trees.
Dumbarton is a town where ships were built – ships with wooden hulls, including Cutty Sark, although her hull is composite, with wood covering an iron frame. Many British ships were built of oak, and I would like to think about oak trees today
Oak trees are said to take 300 years to grow, 300 years to live and 300 years to die. They are long-lasting and they stand firm. They stretch towards the heavens and deep into the ground. As the seasons change, they have times of growth and times when they lie dormant, conserving and preserving before they sprout their leaves and grow again. They grow from small, insignificant acorns, which contain within them all that is necessary to produce a majestic tree.
Can we be like the oak trees? Consider first the soil you are planted in. Oak trees need deep roots. Are your roots deep in faith? We need deep roots to withstand the challenging winds of life when they come, so that we can stand firm. We have had many challenges to face in life over recent months. Have we managed to stand firm with God’s help?
Trees stretch up and bend towards the sun so that their leaves can absorb the light. We stretch out towards God in prayer, and are fed by Him, as trees absorb nutrition through sunlight and rain.
Like other deciduous trees, oak trees shed their leaves to conserve resources. This also helps to protect them from being blown over in the windier winter months. They then regrow their leaves in the spring, when weather improves. We have had to conserve our resources during the pandemic and hopefully have not been blown over by the winds of lockdown and loneliness. Are we still in a season where we need to shed leaves to protect ourselves from the adverse weather or is there plenty in our surrounding environment to help us grow?
Remember that, as the seasons change, so will the seasons of our lives.
The solitary field oak is not as useful to a carpenter or builder as the woodland oak. Woodland oaks grow with other trees, so don’t spread out as they would in the open field. They grow straighter and higher to reach towards the light.
The trees of righteousness mentioned in the Bible, in Isaiah, are not solitary. They are plural, growing together. Don’t be a field oak, stretching out and taking over, but be a woodland oak, helping each other to grow straight and tall.
Oak forests support more life forms than any other native forest, including hundreds of insect species. They are an important source of food for many birds. Squirrels, badgers and deer feed on acorns, and caterpillars feed on its flowers and leaf buds. Our churches can be oak forests, supporting those in need.
Let your life be fruitful, helping others around you to be nourished. Actions have impacts on a wide variety of people and on wider creation, which is much in our minds at this moment during COP26.
With God’s help, we can stand firm as oaks in the midst of the chaos and the swirling winds of life. Amen
Hymn 154 – O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
We praise you God for the earth that sustains life. Through the planetary cycles of days and seasons, renewal and growth, you open your hand to give all creatures our food in the proper time. You gave a Sabbath for the land to rest. But these days our living pushes the planet beyond its limits. Our demand for growth and an endless cycle of production and consumption are exhausting our world. The topsoil erodes, the fields fail, the deserts advance, the seas acidify, the storms intensify. We have not allowed the land to observe a Sabbath, and the Earth is struggling to renew.
We pray for the world, our common home, that through God’s grace we may hear its cry of the damage done and be moved to protect it for future generations to enjoy.
We pray for those who are already facing droughts, floods and storms: that God may grant them strength and hope for the future as they work to adapt to the changing climate.
We pray for the world we live in: that God may help us to do what we can to restore and care for the wonderful gift we have been given.
We pray for world leaders: that God may grant them wisdom to make just decisions which respect the earth and all that live in it, especially those who are poorest and most vulnerable.
Hymn 124 – Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation
Prayer and Lord’s Prayer
Lord, we thank you for the beauty and wonder that can be seen in all of creation. As you breathed life into this world and into our beings, we ask you to breathe life into us once again. We pray for you to give us strength to respond to creation in a way which reflects your loving care and concern for all things.
As we think on your world, there are people and situations about which we are particularly concerned, and in a few moment of quietness we bring them to you in prayer (wait maybe 30 seconds before introducing the 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. Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever, amen
Hymn 137 All things bright and beautiful
May God who established the dance of creation, who marvelled at the lilies of the field, who transforms chaos into order, lead us to transform our lives and the Church to reflect God’s Glory in creation. Amen