Genesis 28: 10-19a; Psalm 139: 1-11; Romans 8: 12-25
Gospel: Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43
“Where did these weeds come from?”
When you read today’s Gospel from Matthew, think on the following as you do so, and consider why you might want to ask the question – “Where did these weeds come from”. Who of us has not at some point asked that question? You may not have used those exact words and you may not have spoken them aloud, but I’ll bet everyone has, at one time or another asked the question. Maybe you’ve read or watched the news and wondered ‘How did our world get in this shape? How did it get to this point?’ It’s one headline after another isn’t it. War, Global terrorism, Immigration, Covid 19 and many more. Maybe life’s circumstances have left you asking yourself ‘How did my life get like this? What has become of me?’ We could all easily list the hurts and wounds of life, the betrayals and resentments, the addictions, fears and loneliness. On and on the list goes. Perhaps you have faced the death of a loved one, a devastating illness, or other tragedy, and want to know ‘Why, if God is Good and loving, did this happen?’ “Where then did these weeds come from?” We often live with the assumption that if we do good, work hard and be nice, everything should by all accounts, work out as we would want it to do. That is the illusion with which the slaves in today’s gospel live. “Master” they ask the farmer, “Did you not sow good seed in your field?” Of course he did. They know he did. That is why they are so surprised when they discover the weeds. The weeds have shattered their illusion. This isn’t supposed to happen. Where then, did these weeds come from?”
The re-opening of our Churches
Things are moving swiftly as far as the re-opening of our Churches is concerned. The recent change of tack by the Scottish Government to bring forward the option for places of worship to open from the 15th of July is indeed welcome news. For several weeks, St Mary’s Vestry has been working extremely hard in an effort to ensure that all of our efforts will be properly risk-assessed before we decide to open for Worship Services. At the time of writing this, and after a detailed discussion with Vestry, I am hoping to re-open on Sunday the 2nd of August. This is not set in stone and it may yet be delayed, but is provisional, depending on whether we are able to ensure everything is in place before we can allow people into the Church. We need to physically adjust some of the seating arrangements inside in order to comply with the SEC and Government guidelines, and there will be significant signage to help those who attend any of our future services. Your patience is very much appreciated.
Returning to Church
I would like to thank those who have responded to my request in last Sunday’s newsletter concerning the question whether you would be returning to Church at the first opportunity. Quite a few of you have decided that the time is not right and will continue to take advantage of other means to sustain your spiritual needs. And that is exactly why I asked this question. No one should feel pressured into coming back, we should address our priorities accordingly and do what our hearts and minds think is best. Please be assured that all of you are in my prayers, and when the day comes when everyone feels ready to come back, there will be great rejoicing.
The future from a Clergy perspective
Speaking of returning to Church, Provost Isaac Poobalan and I continue to have weekly meetings to discuss the future from a Clergy perspective. In order to supplement the ‘Live Streaming’ services that we anticipate will be a feature after the Cathedral Church of St Andrew’s move to St Mary’s at the end of September, we have both agreed that our main Sung Eucharist service time will be brought forward to 10am. This is to assist with the fact that a live stream of services across the Province will be transmitted every Sunday at 10am and therefore we will adapt and improvise. This will not take effect until the 27th of September and main Sunday services up to, but not including that date, will continue to begin at 10.15am. As far as the provision of an 8am service is concerned, please be assured that I am working on that and everyone will be updated accordingly as soon as the proper arrangements have been put in place.
As I have mentioned in previous newsletters, St Mary’s still has to attend to its many financial obligations despite the Church being closed, and it is more important than ever to ensure we have the resources to honour those commitments. Some of you have sent me cheques/envelopes for your weekly giving donations and for that I am extremely grateful. I would encourage those who may be saving their envelopes up until a full return to normal Sunday services, to consider making a direct payment into St Mary’s Church bank account. I can provide the necessary information if you contact me on the details below. It is my utmost desire to ensure that we are able to observe all opportunities to cut down the risk of infection. However, if that method is not suitable and you would still like to contribute your envelopes, or make a donation, again, just contact me and I can make alternative arrangements to pick it up. Your continued support is so very much appreciated in these trying times.
I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.
(An Irish Blessing)
Fr Terry Taggart