The Parishes of Crail and St Ayle
Reflections from Rev. John Murray
Sunday June 6th 2021
Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us worship God together.
Hands together – strength together
Acts 4:8-22 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is "'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.' 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." 13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 "What are we going to do with these men?" they asked. "Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name." 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, "Which is right in God's eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." 21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.
Heavenly Father, although we cannot see or touch you, you are here with us as close as we are to each other.
Here we are again: on another Lord’s day, still in the same boat with who we are, but also conscious that you call us to come as we are, so that your mercy, grace and forgiveness can get to work as we allow them to open our hearts, and our minds to the sunlight and security you can give us.
We come with our burdens and the heavy jagged bits of us, feeling that they are too sharp to be ever smoothed down. Yet as the prodigal came and found a great welcome back, so we come and with you, know we will receive a welcome and a restoration beyond our asking.
Lord Jesus, help us to know that you are the Master of wind and tides, and you are able to use the sore things in our lives as gates to glory. And we come now and pray the prayer that links us with the church in all places and lands, praying…
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done on earth as in heaven,
Give us today our daily bread,
Forgive us our sins,
As we forgive those who sin against us,
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil,
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and forever.
Jesus is the Saviour and power to bring change and this is the message.
Last week we thought of the beggar who became a dancer.
This week, the story moves on to the trouble and challenge that was the follow on from that. This wonderful change angered some of the religious people as it disturbed their grip on the faithful. And although they were in big grand temple, it was another stone which had become the true eternal temple, not made with sweat and human effort. And this stone was coming through these ‘unschooled, ordinary men’ who had been with Jesus. And like some folk we know, they could not help speaking, but here it was speaking about Jesus. Clearly this has to come from a heart gripped by the Jesus story. What hampered the Sanhedrin was people power, who were so chuffed and amazed that this was all happening in their midst. Let us be praying that in Crail and St Ayle people will in these days and the days to come be praising God for God working in our midst.
You tell us, faith as small as a grain of mustard seed is always enough. Remind us, now, that prayers, small and feeble though we may believe them to be, will always be enough, if they are offered in a spirit of devotion. and a willingness to be close to Your will and Your ways. Remind us that Your will unscrambles our stumbling words, our wayward thoughts, our random ideas, our scattered images, and may we see in such imperfections, growth and purpose, and create from them something beautiful for You. And bring amazement to us just like when the people saw the beggar leaping and dancing.
We pray, now, for those closest to us – those around us in the community of faith, those we see face to face, those fixed in our mind’s eye, and our family and friends. We pray for those who are our present guides for life and faith, who point us to the ways of the Kingdom – by who they are as much as by what they do, for the teachers and helpers of children and students, for their diligence and commitment; who are creating living stones of the structure of society here in the East Neuk, in Scotland and the UK.
We pray for people who serve in community and nation, who walk in the corridors of responsibility and sit in the chambers of decision-making; for those who give of themselves for the benefit of others … that they may always place the greater good above the love of self. We pray for all in need, broken or ill at ease in body, mind or spirit … And, in the silence, we name them before you … SILENCE
And what of us, small as a mustard seed, frail as a green shoot, fearful as an uncertain plant? Strengthen us in our growth; take us and use us for your purposes; let us believe in Your ways and not in our own success and failures, which can be so self-consuming. Open us up by our trials that our weaknesses may help others. For we are Yours, and Yours alone. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
May God’s grace always enfold you. May Jesus’ compassion always nourish you. May the Spirit’s imagination always find a home in you. And the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the wealth of the Holy Spirit, be with us all, evermore.