The Parishes of Crail and St Ayle

Reflections from Rev. John Murray 

Sunday 20 December 2020: The fourth Sunday in Advent

Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  

Be still and know that I am God’: The risen Christ present with us by the Spirit is our ‘temple’,

our true and lasting place of worship.


The Lord’s Prayer


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever

Advent/Christmas pulpit fall at Crail church


Psalm 89:1-4  I will sing of the LORD's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.  I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.  You said, "I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant, I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.’


Luke 1:26-30  In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David.  The virgin's name was Mary.  The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favoured!  The LORD is with you."  Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.  But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God.’

Romans 16:25-27  Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith- to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen


It’s a mystery, oh it’s a mystery


Paul of course was not there at the manger, and neither were we!

Yet Paul’s life was completely transformed when the risen Jesus met with him on the road to Damascus.  For Paul a mystery describes something hidden which has become clear.  Being met by Jesus, Paul found true life, life in all its fulness life.  May our prayer be that whether we best see Jesus as a baby, a humble carpenter, on the cross, or a risen Saviour, that the mystery is revealed to us, in us, and through us: that ‘Jesus is Lord.’


To behold the face of Jesus seems to me the one thing to be desired (George MacDonald)


Advent Prayers - Christmas answers- Liberation time

Have a think about the part of your life you feel God needs to put his finger on in order that you can be opened up to praise and wonder this Christmas. Pray now that you might be opened.


Lord, I need to be unlocked
Opened up 
I need some fresh air, I need to live
I need to face the truth.

There is so much I don’t want to hear
There are things I dare not speak. Locked in my time capsule
Living my history over and over again
I can’t go on, pretending another Christmas.

I’m running out of energy.


Standing before eternity, I marvel at life, through my window. And look for more.
As Christmas approaches
The bright morning star shines. I long to be guided
To understand. To be understood                                Albert Bogle

Coming in from afar and late on: but on time in the grand scheme of things


Last week, we were thinking of Mary and Joseph. This week, let’s ponder the ones who come into the scene late on: the shepherds and the wise men, (the magi).  There they are in the pulpit fall, and the gospels tell us that the magi had a long hard journey to Bethlehem, via Herod’s palace.  The shepherds just had a short trip, into town.  Shepherds were a looked down upon lot at this time, and yet it was they to whom the angels spoke.  And for the magi, a star guided them over hundreds of miles.  The despised and the foreigners were being called in to see Jesus.  But look again at the scene, and see the children coming close.  Let’s all find ourselves there in a childlike spirit this Christmas.  We are called and being invited in, to a place prepared and God wants us there, as actors in the greatest story.


Christmas prayers


Lord, as another Christmas comes, may this be a Christmas season like no other: when we bow down and enter the manger and find there all we need, all we could hope for and the answer to every fear.  As we look upon you coming as a baby, may we grow in our beings to show forth your image as we go on into the coming days.  Help us to reframe our lives and be swept up in the greatest story ever.


Cellardyke nativity scene



May the joy of the angels, the humility of the shepherds and the peace of the Christ-child, be God’s gift to you and to all people this Christmas, and always, and may the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you always, Amen


What gifts can we bring to the King as we journey towards the birth of Jesus?




So most gracious Lord, may we, evermore be led to thee


The wonderful truth of Christmas is that God has not left the building. He is intervening in our everyday lives.  For our lonely moments, for our seasons of weakness, and for the battle through life wondering who is on our side, here he lies in the manger – Emmanuel, the God who is with us.                                                               Matt Redman


Time and many adventures have taught me that to be complete and fully alive, I need this life-giving presence that faith provides.                                       Robin Knox-Johnston



An evening prayer towards Christmas


God of the watching ones, give us your benediction.  God of the watching ones, give us your good word for our souls, that we might rest and rise in the kindness of your company.


Listen carefully, hear the songs of the angels resounding as the waves crash on the shore, as the stars glimmer in the night sky.  Watch and pray, the Lord shall come.


A Prayer before a Christmas Crib


I open the stable door; I kneel before the infant.

I worship with the shepherds; I adore the Christ-child.

I give my love with Mary and Joseph;

I wonder at the ‘the Word made flesh’.

I am aware of the love of God. I sing glory with the angels.

I offer my gifts with the wise men.

I receive the living Lord. I hold him in my hands.

I go on my way rejoicing, glorifying and praising God.       David Adam


The peace and joy of Christmas fill your hearts and homes, now and always.


Our prayers and best wishes to you all from the manse,    John and Neilian.

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