The First Sunday of Lent
St Mary’s and St Andrew’s Worshipping Together
A very warm welcome to all
Genesis 9: 8-17; Psalm 25: 1-9; 1 Peter 3: 18-22; Gospel: Mark 1: 9-17
In our Gospel today
In today’s Gospel we touch upon leaving home and starting out on our own. Leaving home can be difficult, frightening, and risky. It invites us to change and opens us to new discoveries about ourselves. It challenges our understandings of where we find significance, meaning, and security. Ultimately, though, leaving home is the beginning of our spiritual journey and growth. We are more vulnerable to and in need of God when we leave home. Leaving home is not, however, simply about the circumstances of life. It is the way of God’s people. Adam and Eve left the garden. Noah left his dry land home. God told Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you”. Jacob ran away from home fearing for his life. Moses and the Israelites left their homes in Egypt. And in today’s gospel Jesus is leaving home. As Mark tells it, “Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee” to the Jordan River. He left his home and now stands with John in the Jordan, the border between home and the wilderness. There he is baptized. The heavens are torn apart, the Spirit like a dove descends, and a voice declares, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”From there “the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.” Baptism may happen in the river but the baptismal life begins in the wilderness.
Thank you Bishop Anne
We are thankful to Bishop Anne who has presided and preached at our pre-Recorded Ash Wednesday service, and indeed, our service this Sunday, the first Sunday in Lent. It is fitting that the Bishop uses her current Episcopal Seat as often as possible, regardless of the constraints we currently experience.
What does it mean to act like a Christian? Or, to put it another way, what is characteristic of Christian behaviour? How is acting like a Christian different from acting like everyone else? Jesus says that everyone will know his disciples by their love. How are his disciples known in the twenty-first century by that criterion?
For five Monday evenings in Lent, the Scottish Episcopal Institute will be considering these questions. It will look to the sources of Christian ethics: to God’s revelation in the Bible and in the world. It will look to constructively critical voices from scientists, philosophers and theologians. It will try to articulate principles to guide Christian behaviour as individuals and communities, to identify what place such principles have in the public square as opposed to private lives, and to develop some facility to apply such principles to contemporary ethical questions. From 7.00pm to 8.00pm on the five Monday evenings in Lent via Zoom, presented by the Revd Dr Michael Hull, the following topics will be covered:
- 22 February: What does it mean to love like a Christian (John 13.34–35)?
- 1 March: How is the Christian understanding of love critiqued today (John 8.3–11)?
- 8 March: How is love to guide Christian behaviour (Titus 2.11–15)?
- 15 March: Does ‘Christian ethics’ have a place in the public square (I Peter 2.11–15)?
- 22 March: How may Christian principles be applied today (James 1.22–25)?
Should you wish to take part in this, you can register here:
As previously mentioned in my last Newsletter, I have now begun Lenten Devotions as a live broadcast, every evening at 7pm on my Face Book page. It lasts no more than 20 minutes. This will continue throughout Lent.
“Through the Lenten Door”
Also in the last two Newsletters, I have referred to a Lent Course, provided by the Diocese. ‘Through the Lenten Door’, which has been put together by Bishop Anne and the Rev’d Dr Jenny Holden. There are several options to join the course on various days, and I hope that some of you will consider taking part in this wonderful opportunity. Please refer to the Diocesan Newsletter at https://aoepiscopal.scot/diocesan-newsletter-wednesday-3-february-2021/ where you will find full details on how to take part. Or alternatively via Through the Lenten Door – a Lent Course for lockdown. Details of on-line material to come, and how to register…https://aoepiscopal.scot/through-the-lenten-door…/
The Diocesan Newsletter is now available to upload at https://aoepiscopal.scot/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Diocesan-newsletter-34-17-February-2021.pdf
Vacancies on St Mary’s Vestry
As mentioned at the AGM, there is a vacancy on St Mary’s Vestry which is currently being covered by Mrs Freddie Stephens (who has come to the end of her tenure but has agreed to remain in situ until a new member can be identified). I omitted to also mention that there is a Vacancy on St Mary’s Vestry for a People’s Warden. Should anyone from St Mary’s wish to be considered for either post, and would like to discuss it, please contact me using the usual details, and I would be delighted to have a chat.
Diocesan Synod will take place via Zoom on Saturday the 27th of February. During this particular Synod, we will be discussing numerous aspects of what has changed in our worship lives during the pandemic, be it for the better or worse. What should we retain? What have we learned? How has it changed us? Where has God been in all of this? These, and many other questions will be asked, and we will continue to ask them after this year’s Synod has been and gone.
A message from our Organist
St Mary’s Organist, Mr Matthew McVey, has asked me to include this in today’s Newsletter: “As hymn singing in Churches is currently a ‘no go’, and we are unable to meet together for worship, I am inviting everyone to take part in some ‘virtual hymn singing’. I fully support Matthew in this venture and encourage members of both our congregation and afar to consider joining in. Matthew has very kindly provided his email address should you want to get involved in some way, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Zoom Sunday Brunch
If you haven’t already done so, please remember that our Zoom Brunch continues every Sunday commencing at 1230 pm. It normally lasts no longer than 45-50 minutes and is a nice way of catching up with those whom we don’t get to see much these days. The direct link is included within the email containing this newsletter. Why not come along for a chat and a coffee, it would be nice to catch up.
Services/ Events at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral week commencing Sunday 21st February 2021
Sunday 21st February at 10 am, pre-recorded Holy Communion broadcast from St Mary’s, +Anne Presiding and Preaching.
Every evening throughout Lent – Lenten Devotional Prayer by Cn Terry, 7 pm Live Broadcast via Face Book
Sunday 28th February at 10 am, pre-recorded Holy Communion broadcast from St Mary’s, Cn Terry Presiding and Preaching
“God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy”.
Rev Canon Terry Taggart