Dunnottar and South
On Sunday, the Rev Rosslyn Duncan welcomed all to worship.
In her address to the children she spoke of having bought a birthday card for her sister but then forgetting to post it. She compared this to something else she had bought two years ago but had since forgotten about. Yes, it was a traditional oil lamp from Nazareth which she had left in a cupboard. However, on Sunday it was lit for her congregation.
Rosslyn then informed us how we had the Light of God’s love within us which should be shining in the World.(not hidden like the card or the lamp). The congregation were then led by an enthusiastic choir singing ‘This little lamp of mine, I’m gonna let it shine’.
The sermon focused on Jesus words from John1.38-39 ‘What are you looking for?’ and ‘Come and See’. The Baptist had pointed out Jesus to two of his disciples, identifying Him as Christ, Son of God, Lamb of God. The gospel writer does not record the disciples’ answer to Jesus question because for them as for us today whatever we are looking for be it assurance, love, healing, forgiveness, a direction in life it can be found in Him, our Lord. Jesus’ invitation to ‘Come and See’ is also for us today, not only to hear the Word but to live in His presence, seeking His guidance.
Worship this Sunday, January 26, in Dunnottar at 10.30am, Rev. Rosslyn Duncan; Thursday, January 23, Fellowship Coffee St Bridget’s 10-1130am, all welcome; Saturday, January 25, 10am-noon - Fairtrade coffee morning in the conservatory, South Church.
Some of the older folks might remember the old toothpaste advert– a stunning white smile and a shiny white “ring of confidence” appearing around the head of a young person who had used a particular brand. The product might do what it says on the tube, but in what can we trust – in whom can we trust – for the big issues of life and death? Some may trust that science has the answers, or that technology, or family relationships, or market forces have the answer to our deepest needs. In Japan, scientists are even working on robots that will care for the burgeoning older population.
Nathan Young, the church’s pastor, was preaching from 1 John chapter 5. He explained that the person in whom we can really have confidence is the God of the Bible. How can we know God is trustworthy? – well He sent his Son into the world. The apostle John tells us that Jesus came into the world by “water and blood”. This means that He knew life and death like us, yet all the time He was, and is, still God.
Where is your confidence? - in toothpaste, in science and technology, or in Jesus Christ? Those who trust in Jesus Christ can know from the Bible - as our reliable and confidence inspiring guide - that we have eternal life in Him.
Our rector, Rev Maggie Jackson, conducted the Eucahrist and preached on the reading from John’s gospel, where he declares that Jesus is the Lamb of God and is the one upon whom he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove after his baptism. She challenged the congregation with the question ‘Who wants to be an evangelist?’
The image of the evangelist in today’s society may be tainted for many of us through experience of the self-righteous, condescending type of evangelist who is able to make us feel less than adequate. But Epiphany is the season when we celebrate the Good News of God’s love for all people revealed in Jesus Christ. That’s what Epiphany means - a revealing, a manifestation, a showing.
The passages chosen for this season share a common theme, a sharing of the Good News. She went on to describe occasions when we might have experienced the divine presence - when sitting beside the bed of a dying relative, while experiencing the vastness of the sky while sailing on a military ship way out at sea, when coming to terms with our own brokenness after an awful argument - maybe like John the Baptist, we may have experienced an epiphany, a realisation that Jesus is the one who takes away guilt or shame or burdens too heavy to carry. Or like the disciples, coming to know Jesus through teachings and to feel called to God’s service.
Discipleship is about learning - being a student. And evangelism is about sharing what we have learned. Evangelists are students, not scholars. The words of the evangelists are not quotes, but heart-to-heart questions.
In the story today, Jesus turns round and sees two people following him. He sees them contemplates them - looks at them with his mind’s and heart’s eye. The he asks the probing question ‘what do you want? What are you seeking?’ This is how evangelism begins. Other disciples are invited - come and see. Evangelism is invitation, not intimidation.
Who saw you and asked what you are seeking? Who invited you to come and see? To come into the community of faith where God is at work and people are asking and learning and serving and growing and worshipping together?
Whoever these people are, they are the evangelists of the world. They are the bearers of Good News and the world needs more of them.
After the sermon, as we moved to the Liturgy, we re-introduced the ‘offertory procession’ in a small way. This is where two members of the congregation bring the ‘elements’ - the bread and wine that are to be consecrated for communion - up through the centre of the church to the altar. This is then followed by the offerings of the people. This fulfils the tradition of offering our gifts - the work of human hands that will become the body and blood of Jesus - as well as our money offerings that will be used in the work of the church.