Pentecost 8 – 26th July 2020

Beloved in Christ

Everyone I speak to expresses their pleasure in this summer’s weather.  Think of this morning! On awakening, God was pouring showers down, and by the time I came out of the St Margaret’s vestry meeting, it was a hot and bright day! I sense that we are all rejoicing that lockdown is safely easing up, those we love are accessible, and the towns are filling up as a new almost-normal! May our hearts too, continue to be replenished by joy, and may we be the grateful, loving people God wants us to be!

It was really lovely to see so many of you last Sunday.  It was a welcome home.  We prayed for those of you who couldn’t be there, and look forward to seeing you as soon as you can. If you would like to receive communion at home, I will happily bring it to you and stay for a prayer: just let me know.

One outpouring of our love for others, and the needy, has been food contributions for the food bank.  When you come tomorrow, or make plans to meet us during the week, do remember to pop in some extra groceries.  I was reflecting on the implications of Covid 19 with some South African friends, and we wondered whether starvation or covid19 would have the greatest fatalities.  Here in Scotland, we might not see that extreme, but there are many needy, and we pledge to look after them, as family of God.

Collection and banking details: Thank you for continuing to generously gift to our churches.  It is most gratifying to see how faithful you are in this regard. We wondered if you might prefer to use internet banking.  If so, please ask Mike or Betty for the church’s banking details.

The church properties are looking good: St Margaret’s garden pots of colour will be replaced by new containers, and the holly hedge at St Mary’s will look trimmed and shorn shortly.  My son and I did a little mowing of the lawn last weekend, bent against a very icy gusty wind. Yet, nothing surpasses the beauty of our churches’ interiors! How glorious the investments of those people of yore are, and your hands, now, on the preparations, from the initially tedious and necessary sanitising, to the perfection of flowers in church, are allowing us to worship safely and joyfully.  Thank you, each one of you!

The balance which comes of dividing the day into portions of prayer, reflection, work, including gardening, and meals, is rather Benedictine, don’t you think?  It is thrilling to see how many people are busy with renovations, painting, off gardening projects, and tending the loveliness of summer! I should mention, that internet has taken on a new magnified proportion! Lockdown has definitely led us along some very different paths of late. I hope too that it has been a time of significant spiritual reflection for you, and along the lines of the way church is evolving, with your input!

16 August – Feast of St Mary. This will be a joint service in Newport, at 11am.  We look forward to seeing us all together.  This will be family-orientated service, so please let Betty (07762 213770) know your numbers, from one household, or visitors, so we can plan accordingly.  The service will be followed by tea and eats (if you could bring a little plate each that would be perfect) at the rectory, 20 Craighead Road, Newport. Note please, that this service replaces the 9.30 service at St Margaret’s.

Readings for tomorrow, Sunday are as follows:

1 Kings 3: 5 to 12, Psalm 119: 129 to 136, Matthew 13: 31 to 33 and 44 to 52.Romans 8: 26 to 39.

Perhaps you might be wondering why I always place the epistle reading after the Gospel?

The Old Testament reveals the humanity of God’s people, their perennial issues; their relationship with God, which waxes and wanes, their choices, but the nature of God, which is ever-loving and ever-restorative and yearning for intimacy with God’s people.  The gospel reveals the parable of God in Jesus.  This week’s 4 parables teach us of the kingdom of heaven, and how we should, above all, seek it.  The parables of the mustard seed, a tiny thing, growing into that which gives shade and protection to all people; the pearl and the treasure found in a field, so valuable that all other pursuits and wealth falls into insignificance, and the great Fisherman who returns the smaller fish to the sea to grow more, keeping the bigger fish for the catch. (I wonder what we estimate our weight to measure, in God’s hands?) Then, in the epistle, Paul reasons with and preaches to a highly civilised, articulate, people of power and prowess, of the way in which the Holy Spirit operates, and intercedes, for every one of us, within the Christian faith and to the gentiles, who worship a multitude of gods. Let’s allow the Spirit to speak to our creator about the really deep things which we might not have shared with God, those issues at dark places in our deepest heart, as well as the petitions which beset us on a daily temporary basis.  

May God bless you, as you are a blessing to others!

Kathy Barrable

07552 503859