Sunday Worship, 6 February 2022

Live Service at St Andrews starts at 10am, followed by West Kirk at 11:15am

Unfortunately there will be no live stream or recording this week.
If you can’t make the live services, please follow the scripted service with links to hymns below:

Welcome

God is a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, long-suffering and ever constant, and he did not abandon us.

Nehemiah 9: 17

Hymn 106 Bring to the Lord a glad new song

Opening Prayer

Gracious God, you are our Lord and King

You are great – the source of all that is in this and any universe

the one who holds everything in being

the one who works constantly to bring order and right

You are holy – in you there is only goodness, truth, love and compassion

you have established for your world

 standards you expect us to live by

and in Jesus you show us how they are to be lived out

We praise you, we call you Lord and King

we believe that you are throned in majesty and power

and yet you want us to call you Father

to call ourselves your children

not because of any merit on our part

not because of what we have done

but because of your love

and because of the faithfulness of your Son Jesus

even to death on a cross

We come to you now, aware of our shortcomings

aware of our need for healing and wholeness

we ask for your forgiveness

we ask to be filled anew with your Spirit

that our lives may be pleasing to you

worthy of those you have called to be your children

and follow the example of Jesus our Lord and Saviour

Through Christ our Lord we pray. Amen

Admission of new member

i) PREAMBLE

God invites us to be part of his family, the church

 to know him as our Heavenly Father

 Jesus as our Saviour, Lord and most faithful friend

 and his Spirit as our constant companion, helper and guide

Baptism, however it is administered,

 is acknowledged as the sign and symbol

  of becoming part of the church

Many people are baptised as children

 when promises are made on their behalf

 but there comes a time

 when they want to reaffirm those promises for themselves

 and take a fuller part in the life of the church

Gavin Davie is such a person

 and has now indicated that he would

 like to be a member of the Church of Scotland

 in Dumbarton West Kirk congregation.

The Kirk Session were very pleased to hear this

 and we now proceed to admit him to full membership

2. PRAYER

Heavenly Father

We praise you and thank you

 for all that you did for us in Jesus

 for all that you promised us in Jesus.

We thank you that John wants

 to affirm publicly that he is yours

 and wishes to walk in the way of Jesus our Lord.

Guide, guard and strengthen him

In Jesus’ Name

3. PROFESSION OF FAITH

Gavin, would you come and stand in front of the Table here.

You come of your own choice

 to acknowledge God’s promises made to you through Jesus

 to reaffirm the promises made on your behalf at your baptism

In as much as any of us can understand God, or what he did for us through Jesus, do you affirm your faith in God as Father, and Jesus as our Saviour and Lord I DO

Do you reaffirm the promises made when you were baptised? I DO

4. CHARGES

As a follower of Jesus we encourage you

 to follow Jesus Christ in your daily life

 and grow ever closer to him as the years pass

 to share in the worship and service of the church

 of what you are and what you have

 to take your part in God’s mission to the world

  seeking  justice and peace

  and the renewing of all life

5. DECLARATION

Gavin, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ

 the King and Head of the Church

 and by the authority of the Kirk Session

 I welcome and receive you

 within the fellowship of the Lord’s Table

 and admit you

 to the full privileges of the children of God

 and to the responsibilities of membership

 of the Church of Scotland within this congregation

 of the one holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

May your sharing in our life together

 bring blessing to you and to us all.

6. PRAYER

Lord, grant that Gavin may know in his heart

 your faithful, forgiving loving-care

 the grace of your Son, Jesus Christ

 and the strength, guidance and power of the Spirit

7. WELCOME

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Usually, as a sign of our welcome

 we give the right hand of fellowship,

 but we can’t do that at the moment, so…

Members of the church,

 will you enable Gavin to feel welcome at all times

 find the love of Jesus here

 and be enabled to use his God-given gifts here WE WILL

and now, elders and members,

 would you wave, clap, rummel your feet or whatever

 to welcome him among us

Hymn SGP 49 I will enter his gates

Bible reading

Luke 5: 1-11

Reflection     

Although the Sea of Galilee features as the venue for a number of stories in the Gospels, there are two main stories in particular that appear in a number of different forms: the call of the fishermen and the miraculous draught of fishes. In the days before the Gospels were written these stories probably circulated orally in Christian worship, but not necessarily tied in to a particular chronological sequence. So when the Gospel-writers were putting together material for their Gospels, they could insert these stories as they felt best fitted the points they were trying to make.

Let’s start with the Call of the fishermen. Mark and Matthew describe it in fairly concise terms. Jesus appears on the shore, says ‘Come and follow me’, and off they go – Peter (or Simon), Andrew, James and John. Luke doesn’t seem to like short, punchy stories, but likes to pad it out with a bit more detail. He does that here, but poor old Andrew gets dropped from it, and he links the story of the call with the story of the miraculous draught of fishes. Luke seems to have a particular interest in Peter (who has a special role in Acts, the account of the early church that is kind-of Luke’s Gospel part 2), and it is presented as much the call of Peter as the call of all the fishermen. John doesn’t tell us about the call of the fishermen, but does speak of Andrew and Peter first meeting Jesus beside the Jordan, where they’ve gone to hear John the Baptist. John also has an account of the miraculous draught of fishes, but he places it at the end of the Gospel (almost in an appendix) where it is part of the rehabilitation of Peter after his denial of Jesus.

As described by Mark, Matthew and Luke the call of the fishermen is blunt and dramatic. Jesus appears, says ‘come on you lot’ and they up and go. Their lives are dramatically changed at that point. Maybe John’s account suggests that it was a bit more complex than that. Maybe they had heard Jesus speaking and talked with him beside the Jordan, maybe they had heard him preach in Galilee, before he called them. Certainly they accompanied him as he travelled around, but are there hints in other stories that they still had links with the family business? Peter is described as having a mother-in-law. Did he have a wife and children to support? How would he or the others pay their taxes and bills, over a period maybe between twelve and thirty six months, if they didn’t earn something? However the Gospel-writers want to present it, was the call to discipleship full-time, or a kind of ‘hybrid’ arrangement? What did they think they were being asked to do? Was it a fun activity, an exciting change from the humdrum of everyday life? Did they have hopes that Jesus was going to lead a revolution in Jerusalem, and there could be lucrative and powerful posts to be distributed among his followers?

It wasn’t always going to be like that. The day would come when the Risen Jesus left them, sending them out to be the Apostles, the witnesses to his death and resurrection. Peter, Andrew, James and John had trained as fishermen. Coping with selling fish in the market may have given them good skills in arithmetic, but could they read or write? They probably had no formal education in either Jewish theology or Greek philosophy, no training in management skills, languages or geography. Suddenly Peter was thrust into a position of leadership, and he was probably all too well aware that things had at times gone wrong, and there were times when he felt completely out of his depth:

  • there were those silly things he did or said (like his remarks about building a tent on the Mount of Transfiguration, the telling off he got from Jesus, and the fool he made of himself when he tried to walk on the water)
  • there was the bitter pain of denying three times that he was a follower of Jesus
  • in Acts he starts apparently as the leader of the Jerusalem church, but soon leaves the city to become a wandering preacher, and James ‘the brother of the Lord, becomes leader. Did Peter chose to go, or was he pushed?
  • after the conversion of Cornelius at Caesarea, when God didn’t follow the rules and anointed with the Spirit before baptism, Paul had to explain all this to the church authorities – how did he feel about it before he got there?
  • in Galatians Paul tells of a major argument between the two of them, when he challenged Peter’s behaviour
  • John hints at what legend says, that Peter ended up in prison, and being executed in Rome.

Peter was all too human. It can be easy to feel inadequate, that you were given insufficient training, the back-up you need, that you are frustrated, fed-up and ready to chuck the whole thing. At such times, did he remember whatever it was that happened at the Miraculous Draught of Fishes, and recall Jesus’ expressing his personal confidence, and assurance that his work was not in vain.

Last week we were thinking about Jesus calling us to be his followers in our known, everyday place. That is the calling that many of us receive. We  are to go on living in the same place, meeting the same people, doing the same job, but are called to do it all as followers of Jesus, living by his example, values and standards, and being ready to speak out when we encounter injustice, corruption or abuse. But sometimes God has other plans for us. He may not spring them on us, he may give us time to grow and mature in faith, and develop a gradual feeling over time that he wants us to do some particular thing, or go some particular place – though it is always as well to remember that God doesn’t take ‘No’ for an answer.

We may find that as we go through life we have our equivalents of Peter’s bad experiences:

  • we do or say something foolish
  • we get a dressing down for a mistake we’ve made
  • we feel that we’ve really let God down
  • we get stressed over the critical attitude of others, when we honestly thought we were doing the right thing
  • we get ousted from the job we’ve been doing

Jesus holds out for us too the image of the Miraculous Draught of Fishes. He stands by us and is our constant and faithful friend. With his help and guidance what we do is never useless or in vain, even if we never see the full result of it.

Hymn 533 Will you come and follow me

Prayers for others

Gracious God

We pray for those who feel despondent or down

because, despite their best endeavours, things keep seeming to go wrong

past mistakes seem to loom large

people seem only to criticise rather than appreciate what they do

we pray for those who have had to move to an unfamiliar place

and are finding difficult in settling

in forming a new support network

we pray for those who earn their living from fishing

the dangers they face

the impact of Climate change

ensuring that stocks are conserved for the future

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 you church

 the worldwide church

 the wider church in Dumbarton

 our own congregation

help us always to be faithful to Jesus our Lord

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 622 We sing a love

Blessing (3-fold Amen)

May the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ

shine in your hearts,

transform your lives,

and brighten the world

and the blessing of God Almighty

Father, Son and Holy Spirit

rest and remain with you

today, and every day, and for ever

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