Beloved in Christ
I am scripting this on a cool and cosy afternoon, and that makes me reflect on the Africa-in-Scotland tropical downpour on Tuesday night, and again, as I was walking our doggie, on Wednesday early morning: thunder, lightning and a storm! Thereafter, the day broke into hot sunshine: the following day, the Haar settled in till lunchtime… thank you God for allowing me the spectrum on daily display!
I am looking forward to meeting many of you on Sunday at the joint service at 11am, at St Mary’s. Some have been speculating about how long it has been since the 2 congregations met in one venue! I am going to bake a chocolate cake and bring a slice for tea afterwards, and a cup, saucer and cake fork to accompany it! Who says we Episcopalians don’t know how to share good times over a cuppa!
Once again, I extend my offer to come and visit you, with communion, whenever you wish: next week, I will start visiting those of you who were my first to see friends, and I look forward to it.
The readings for Sunday are the special ones for Mary the Virgin. They are as follows: Isaiah 61: 1, and 6 to 8. Psalm 45: 11 to 18. Galatians 4: 4 to 7. Luke 1: 46 to 55.
I include some notes on the vital role and example of St Mary, for your reflection and prayers:
1. Mary is the greatest of all saints: she chose to co-operate (as voiced in the Magnificat, from the Latin ‘Mary’s song of praise’) with God and devote herself to God’s plan to incarnate in a person of Jesus the Christ. She is a model of witness; willingness, submission to God’s plan; the first true follower of Jesus. Roman Catholics call her, ‘Mother of God’.
1. She and her purpose is foreshadowed in the Old Testament (Isaiah 7:14) as the virgin of Emmanuel. Emmanuel means, ‘God is with us’. The Old Testament predicts and envisages both Mary and Jesus, mother and son.
2. The immaculate conception deals with the conception of Mary herself, not her Son. She is sinless and a fitting miracle.
3. The Mary moments in the New Testament point to Jesus each and every time: Mary in The Magnificat, the family encounter with Jesus in the temple; her intervention at Cana; at the end of his life, standing at the foot of the cross.
4. She is the model of nurture and life-giving, instrumental and commanding in her example and witness. Marian theology asserts that she witnessed his Resurrection and Ascension additionally.
5. Mary exemplifies courage and character: ‘I am the Lord’s servant’. Even though warned by Simeon, she says, ‘May your word to me be fulfilled’ (Luke 1:38)
6. She is recognised in the Islamic tradition; a universal figure of nurture and commitment, qualities which appeal to men and women of every age.
After Sunday, I hope to share Betty’s reflection of the history of St Mary, and Margaret Gray’s view of St Mary.
I have just read The Winter Whale’ by Jim Crumley. I heartily concur with the author’s view and sentiment, that the whale, but for industry, greed and money (and the societal attitude at that time), might still be sporting, splurging, swimming and singing for another hundred years, rather than face its ignominious disgusting death. Every day, I look on our estuary’s changing moods with wonder, and think of the history which has flowed there; the silhouette of Dundee now sporting ornamental Jute stacks, deserted oil rigs, in wait for usefulness in the future. I guess every one of you could add your own piece of history to it, and I hope to share your stories. Please feel free to share your perspective!
The patronal festival of St Margaret falls on Sunday 16 November, and you will have a chance to share some local history, anecdote or memory with us then please! In the meantime, do email me your encounters.
God bless and look forward to seeing you soon
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