The Parishes of Crail and St Ayle
Reflections from Rev. John Murray
Sunday April 18th 2021
Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us worship God together.
Psalm 4:1-8. Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer. How long will you people turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods. Know that the LORD has set apart his faithful servant for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him. Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the LORD. Many, LORD, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?” Let the light of your face shine on us. Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Luke 24:36 -49. While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence. He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, "This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.
Lord we come to worship! Worthy of praise from every mouth, is your glorious name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God for ever.
You created the world in your grace. Heaven and earth are full of your praises. You have put eternity into our hearts, and made us hunger and thirst for you. Satisfy us Lord in your mercy. Merciful God, you made us in your image, with a mind to know you, a heart to love you, and a will to serve you. But our knowledge is imperfect, our love so weak, and our obedience is incomplete. For the sake of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Saviour, do not hold our sins against us, but in your tender love, forgive.
God of love, your Son gave us a new commandment, that we should love one another, even as you love us. Give us a mind forgetful of past ill-will, and a heart to love one another.
Guide us, Lord, in all the changes of life, and may your face shine upon us.
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.
Evening is the occasion of the psalm, which is concerned with inward peace in a distracting situation. The approach of night, with its temptation to brood on past wrongs and present perils, only challenges David to stand in faith. Although humiliated, feeling low and surrounded with lies, exasperation and gloom. God’s fellowship and his call on our life is the ultimate answer to the most wounding of aspersions and discouragements.
Psalm 4 is a psalm of lament, of speaking out to God with our griefs and complaints. The psalmist is crying out in anguish to God, to others, and of course to himself. Lament by God’s people and all the emotions that go with it, is to be experienced as something valuable although painful. It allows us to notice that happiness is transient, but joy founded in the loving presence of God is a lived experience, often hard won and through suffering and soul searching. It chips away at all our false securities, so that our only security is in God. Lament speaks to the deep heart longing to be lifted from the darkness of our feelings of abandonment to the light of hope of life still to be lived. John Swinton writes … Lament provides us with a language of outrage that speaks against the way things are, but always in the hope that the way things are just now is not the way they will always be. Lament is thus profoundly hopeful.
God of wisdom and love, giver of all good things, we thank for your loving kindness, and for your constant care over all creation. We thank you for the joys that cheer us, for good hopes and precious memories. We bless you for the church, the body of Christ. Help the church to blend tradition and newness to keep our faith and work a power of good.
We offer you our gifts: and pray for the power to present ourselves to you, as good servants. Bless the whole world with peace. Guide with your wisdom the leaders of the nations, that your kingdom may advance across the earth. Bless with your comfort all who are in trouble or pain, those who are sick: support the dying, console all who mourn, supply the wants of all in need.
We lift before you in prayer all those involved in the services of education and those whose lives are dedicated to teaching and caring for the young. We pray for the schools in this area: for safety and a flourishing of mind and body.
We pray for college students. And conscious of the present challenges, we pray for their safety and health, of mind and body as they work in changed circumstances.
Bless Elizabeth our Queen at this sad time, and comfort and strengthen her and her family.
Bless our homes, that love and joy may dwell there; and keep those who are absent from us in the protection of your love.
Hear our prayers, the matters on our own hearts that we lift to you now in the silence.
We ask all our prayers spoken and unspoken through Jesus Christ, our risen Saviour, Amen.
The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
A fish supper for the resurrection body!
It seems that the disciples’ minds were still reeling from trying to take in the fact that Jesus had risen from the dead, and was back with them with a new resurrection body. We can sympathise with them – we are likewise challenged to grasp the significance of it all. And so as well as Jesus inviting the disciples to see for themselves that he is embodied and not a ghost, Luke includes Jesus asking for something to eat and is given some fish. This Jesus has come into his kingdom and is Lord of all. The disciples, as we are, are called to be witnesses to what the scriptures say of the Messiah. Repentance for the forgiveness of sins is the message with which the church is entrusted.
Fear not little flock
Whatever your lot
He enters all rooms
The doors being locked
He never forsakes
He never is gone
So count on his presence
From darkness to dawn
Only believe, only believe, all things are possible, only believe.
Grace and peace be yours in fullest measure, from God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and for ever: Amen