The Parishes of Crail and St Ayle

Reflections from Rev. John Murray 

Sunday May 9th 2021

Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Let us worship God together.

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Psalm 98:  Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvellous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.  The LORD has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations.  He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.  Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn— shout for joy before the LORD, the King.  Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.  Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth.  He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.

 

Acts 10:34- 48:  Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.  You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.  You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached — how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.  “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.  They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen.  He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen — by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.  He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.  All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.  While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.  The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles.  For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.  Then Peter said,  “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water.  They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”  So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. 

Prayer

Creator God, we remember that in the beginning, the earth was ‘formless and empty, and that darkness was over the surface of the deep.’ But we remember too that You were present and that Your creative Spirit was ready to start and sing the song of creation.

And so we praise You that out of nothing You brought everything into being and that through Your spirit, we have order and not chaos.  As we lift our gaze to the stars, and as we marvel at the beauty of delicate flowers, with thankful hearts we rejoice in all that is; in all that You have given.

But we acknowledge the darkness of our own lives and our need for the light of Christ, ministered by the Spirit. Forgive us, we pray, our self-centredness, our fractiousness, our greed and all that is contrary to Your will for our lives.  For a healing touch, we pray, and for a deep sense of assurance that Your love for us made known in Jesus is sufficient.

In the days to come, grant us new songs to sing, and an inner hunger for deeper communion with You and that we might delight all the more in Your living word.  Might we be like ‘trees planted by streams of water, which yields fruit in season.’

These and all our prayers we offer in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Lord’s Prayer

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.

 

Speaking of Jesus

The first apostles told the stories Jesus had told, but they also quickly found that the best story was the story about Jesus himself.  However, it was told, it always had the same essentials and it always carried power of a new kind. It was the focal point of the true story of the creator God and always the name of Jesus was front and centre.

It can all be summed up in the phrase Peter uses, ‘Jesus is Lord of all’, and part of that is that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. 

So let’s sing a new song in our hearts as we believe in Jesus and live our lives knowing that Jesus is Lord of all.

Prayers

Loving Lord, as Jesus prayed for His disciples so we pray today for Your Church in all its parts.  We pray for the worldwide Church, praying for a fresh outpouring of Your Spirit in the days of Pentecost now before us.

We pray especially for those parts of Your Church which live under the daily threat of persecution. Grant protection, courage and strength, we pray.

We pray for the Church across Scotland – traditional denominations, independent streams, fledgling fresh expressions – that You would equip it with all necessary grace for the challenges of this day.  Bind us together in loving unity, as Christ prayed.

We pray for the Church of Scotland, for all who serve within it and for all who turn to it seeking light and love.  Grant it a sure sense of where You are leading; strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.

We pray for our own congregations, asking that You would give us the persevering spirit of those of our forebears who came through seasons of great challenge.

And we pray for ourselves for we are the Church, the individual parts which make up the Body of Christ on earth.  Inspired by Your word, shaped by Your Spirit, send us out to be salt and light.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Jesus is Lord! Creation's voice proclaims it
For by His power each tree and flower
Was planned and made
Jesus is Lord! The universe declares it
Sun, moon and stars in heaven
Cry, 'Jesus is Lord!'
 

Jesus is Lord! Jesus is Lord!
Praise Him with hallelujahs
For Jesus is Lord!

Blessing

 

Go in the strength of God, singing a new song.

And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,

be with you, and remain with you, now and always,

Amen