The Parishes of Crail and St Ayle
Reflections from Rev. John Murray
Sunday 14 February 2021
Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
The risen Christ present with us by the Spirit is our ‘house’, our true and lasting place of worship.
We are coming together in a new way in a live service through the medium of online audio and video link, called ZOOM. We are here to help others use it and if you just have a phone you can phone up a local number and dial in for free (if you have a package with free local calls with a duration of one hour)
And if you would like help in accessing zoom on the internet, or with accessing the zoom phone line, do get in touch. We will send out the zoom link to all those already on our email lists and if you are not on their lists and would like to receive it just let the Session Clerks know.
Psalm 30 is a psalm of thanksgiving, traditionally ascribed to David upon the building of his own royal palace. David dedicated his life work to be completed by his son, who built the "Hallowed House". It is Solomon and his lineage, not the building, which in later sources is called the House of David.
I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.
Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favour lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
When I felt secure, I said,
“I will never be shaken.”
Lord, when you favoured me,
you made my royal mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.
To you, Lord, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
“What is gained if I am silenced,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
Lord, be my help.”
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.
Mark 1:40-45 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: "See that you don't tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them." Instead, he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.
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.
Leprosy is a bacterial infection largely associated with poverty. It causes nerve damage and, left untreated, leads to a loss of feeling or mobility in the hands, feet or around the eyes. Everyday tasks become fraught with danger – burns, blisters and other minor injuries go unnoticed leading to more serious injuries. These injuries can lead to permanent disfigurement and disability. Injuries to the eyes can often lead to blindness.
The Scottish Leprosy Mission is carrying on the work that Jesus started and, on their website, (from which the above info comes), they state their hope that leprosy will be eradicated by 2035, and ‘then the work that Jesus started will be finished’.
Can do, will do
The amazing thing for the disciples and the crowd would be seeing Jesus touch the leper. That was a big no-no, and in doing that, Jesus was facing down one of the big taboos in his culture. The lesson for us is in seeing that, and following Jesus into like behaviour. And Jesus makes it clear that he is willing to help remove whatever we feel is diminishing us in our life, and has the power, compassion and skill to do it.
And from Psalm 30
Have a read of the psalm again. The writer – this psalm is ascribed to David – knows the extremes and ups and downs of life. A crisis has been faced, calling into question much that was taken for granted in life. God has turned his mourning into joy. With praise and thanksgiving, a fresh start is coming. Now freed from the chains of self-esteem and self-importance, life takes on a new dimension. That is a healing too.
Lord, we thank you that you stick with us, when we go up the deadens of our own security and fall into the trap of thinking our own strength has given us all we have.
Forgive us wrong attitudes which become part of our own subconscious way of life, so much so that we hardly see them.
If it takes a crisis to bring us back onto the right way, help us to learn that you are faithful. If we know weeping, help us to know rejoicing is on the way. And let us see, and trust in your wonderful love and compassion for us. Amen
And now, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
May the Lord be to us a lifter up of our heads, and turn our sadness into joy unspeakable and full of glory.
I know who holds the future and he’ll guide me with his hand; with God things don’t just happen, everything by him is planned. So as I face tomorrow, with its problems large and small, I’ll trust the God of miracles, give to Him my all.
Prayer and trust is what we can take with us as we face the days ahead.
… as opposed to musical chairs! One excellent way of prayer is to think of a hymn we like and hum or sing it as a prayer. Here are a few lines that speak of such prayers
Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to thee
Tell out my soul, the greatness of the Lord
That God is on the field when He is most invisible
Nearer my God to thee, nearer to thee.
Behold what witnesses unseen, encompass us around
Saints by the power of God are kept
Jesus calls us! O’er the tumult
Come let us to the Lord our God, with contrite hearts return
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
It is noteworthy that Proverbs, for all its emphasis on common sense, exalts faith above sagacity. D Kidner