Sunday 3rd October 2021.
Good morning and welcome to our service this morning. The Intimations are printed on the last page.
Hymn no 4 - Psalm 8 How excellent in all the earth
Prayers of Adoration and Confession.
Lord of life,
We come today to praise you, to acknowledge you as Creator of heaven and earth, to worship you for your faithful provision and to celebrate the constant cycle of the seasons, of day and night, seed-time and harvest and nature beginning to wind down to have a rest as we are now enter the season of Autumn.
Day by day, year by year, we see your hand at work, we marvel at the beauty of your design and we rejoice in all you have given to us.
Richly you have blessed us and gladly we praise you.
We praise you for this vast and awesome universe in which you have placed us, this world in which we live, and this country in which we have been born – so many reasons to count our blessings as we recognise again your goodness, and remember once more how fortunate we are in the bountiful provision of your creation.
Gladly with thankful hearts and joyful worship we praise you for the richness of your creation and the resources you have given us that are so many, yet we all too rarely show our gratitude. We take your blessings for granted, complaining about what we haven’t got instead of rejoicing in what we have, or using more than our fair share, squandering what you have given, frittering away the earth’s treasures with no thought to tomorrow or the impact of the world round about us.
We are part of a world that wantonly pollutes and knowingly wastes, and we have done little if anything about it preferring a life of comfort to the sacrifice a stand of principle would entail.
For the poverty of our response to your great goodness, and for our selfishness, Lord forgive us.
These things we ask in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray, saying - - -
Our Father, - - - - -
Hymn no 181 For the beauty of the earth
Readings. Psalm 8
How Majestic Is Your Name
Psa 8:1 To the leader: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David. O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
Psa 8:2 Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.
Psa 8:3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established;
Psa 8:4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?
Psa 8:5 Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor.
Psa 8:6 You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet,
Psa 8:7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
Psa 8:8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
Psa 8:9 O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12
Heb 1:1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors many times and in many ways through the prophets,
Heb 1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us through his Son. He is the one through whom God created the universe, the one whom God has chosen to possess all things at the end.
Heb 1:3 He reflects the brightness of God's glory and is the exact likeness of God's own being, sustaining the universe with his powerful word. After achieving forgiveness for the sins of all human beings, he sat down in heaven at the right side of God, the Supreme Power.
Heb 1:4 The Son was made greater than the angels, just as the name that God gave him is greater than theirs.
Heb 2:5 God has not placed the angels as rulers over the new world to come---the world of which we speak.
Heb 2:6 Instead, as it is said somewhere in the Scriptures: "What are human beings, O God, that you should think of them; mere human beings, that you should care for them?
Heb 2:7 You made them for a little while lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor,
Heb 2:8 and made them rulers over all things." It says that God made them "rulers over all things"; this clearly includes everything. We do not, however, see human beings ruling over all things now.
Heb 2:9 But we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, so that through God's grace he should die for everyone. We see him now crowned with glory and honor because of the death he suffered.
Heb 2:10 It was only right that God, who creates and preserves all things, should make Jesus perfect through suffering, in order to bring many children to share his glory. For Jesus is the one who leads them to salvation.
Heb 2:11 He purifies people from their sins, and both he and those who are made pure all have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his family.
Heb 2:12 He says to God, "I will tell my people what you have done; I will praise you in their meeting."
Let the Children Come to Me
Mar 10:13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them.
Mar 10:14 But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, "Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.
Mar 10:15 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it."
Mar 10:16 And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
Hymn no 147 All creatures of our God and King
Let us pray – In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
In Genesis we learn about God creating the world; how he breathed life into the world and made all the creatures. Once they were all made he made man; he made Adam. This wasn’t enough as God realised he had made male and female of all the creatures and not of man, so he caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep – i.e. the first anaesthetic! Then he operated on Adam and removed a rib from his side and from that rib God created Eve, or as Adam named her – a woman, meaning created from his side. God created Eve as a helpmate for Adam.
On Friday night I was half watching Hilary Clinton talking to Mary Beard about her book Gutsy Women. At one point they had been discussing how there are differences in how men and women are perceived especially in politics. Margaret Thatcher had her hair restyled, had her teeth done and had had a voice coach. Theresa May was judged on her legs and her passion for shoes. The press seemed obsessed by how they dressed; how many children they had and how could they do a job in government when they should be looking after the home and the children. Hilary Clinton says it would take her about 25 to 30 minutes to have a shower then get camera ready in the mornings. Along comes a man – quick shower shake of head get dressed and out. Boris doesn’t even brush his hair! His appearance is rarely mentioned – it is all about what he says and does, yet in a woman this is the last thing that is mentioned. Why should this be when God made them equal – side by side at the beginning?
God also gave man dominion over all the creatures, meaning man had to take care of them, to look after them and therefore their environment to make that environment a safe place for each creature to have food, shelter and companionship yet how many species are on the endangered list and how many are now extinct?
Man has now become so caught up in himself that he has forgotten about his role of looking after our planet. He has abandoned God’s blueprint for our world.
The world was framed by God and everything put in order by him, the earth and the fullness thereof belongs to him. He designed the world to his own pleasing and he has set in order the things which pertain to his glory. His word needs no interpretation it just needs to be followed by those who will enter into the Kingdom of God. Mankind tries to build without the blueprints, they build houses that will not stand. They try to build Kingdoms of their own will and not Gods. Without the blueprints of God we cannot build the kingdom of the Lord for he has set in order by his word and the foundation has been laid. The book of Genesis is the beginning of a perfect world designed by a perfect God to his own satisfaction. Mankind fights wars to gain more for themselves when the land is God’s. Today men choose to disobey the Lord, they build on foundations that crumble and fall apart, they have families that die, churches that are empty or close to being empty why? Because people don’t want to follow the blueprints that God has given them. We are only caretakers of this earth and when we have used it as much as we can we dump the waste or abandon it and expect others to sort it out for us.
Recently, in Milan there was the youth conference about climate change. Swedish activist Greta Thunberg was one of the speakers. Greta mocked global leaders for delivering too much “blah blah blah” and not doing enough. Zeroing in on the slogans of US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Ms Thunberg said: “Build back better. Blah, blah, blah. Green economy. Blah blah blah. Net-zero by 2050. Blah, blah, blah.”
Greta, 18, said she even doubted the intentions of the organisers of the Youth4Climate event, which is run by the World Bank Group. She said: “They invite cherry-picked young people to pretend they are listening to us. But they are not. “They are clearly not listening to us. Just look at the numbers. Emissions are still rising. The science doesn’t lie. Leaders like to say, ‘We can do it.’ They obviously don’t mean it. We do.” Fellow environmentalist Vanessa Nakate, from Uganda, noted that promises of $100m-a-year in climate finance from wealthy nations to help poorer countries adapt has not materialised. She said that wildfires in California and Greece and floods in Germany and Belgium show that “loss and damage is now possible everywhere”, but that Africa is particularly affected despite the continent being the “lowest emitter of CO2 emissions of any continent except Antartica”. “No more empty conferences. It’s time to show us the money. It’s time, it’s time, it’s time. And don’t forget to listen to the most-affected people and areas," Vanessa said.
The three-day summit involved 400 activists, aged 15-29, from 186 countries. Delegates intend to send recommendations to the upcoming Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow.
I for one hope the COP26 conference isn’t just another Blah, blah, blah session and that some actual positive action comes out of it. As James says in his book “Faith without action is dead” and the record of the achievements since 2015 does not bode well for this conference in November.
On the other hand we are told “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” so I for one can not see God standing by and allowing us to destroy his planet.
The world is lost in darkness but we the church must not be asleep in the light. Just as in Job –
Job 2:7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and inflicted loathsome sores on Job from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.
Job 2:8 Job took a potsherd with which to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes.
Job 2:9 Then his wife said to him, "Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God, and die."
Job 2:10 But he said to her, "You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
We cannot blame God for Covid or for global warming – we must work with God’s blessing and do something about our planet. We need to call on God to ask for his help on behalf of his world to heal our earthly home.
Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered:
Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Rom 10:12-13 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
So in this month before the COP26 conference at the very least we all need to pray on behalf of our planet.
Hymn no 259 Beauty for brokenness
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession.
Almighty God, our Heavenly Father,
We thank you for all you have done for us, just now, in the past and in our future. We thank you for being an ever present God in our lives, knowing what we do from day to day; our troubles, our woes, our celebrations and our happy times. You know as a world we have been struggling – struggling with global warming, climate change and with the covid virus. You know of the losses we have suffered and the difficulties we have and are going through and how each situation affects us and our loved ones. You also know how stretched are our resources and what will stretch them and us further as we face the “flu” coldness, poverty, lack of jobs, with many relying on the help of others for food, shelter, treatment for illness, for warmth during the colder weather and for safety and security, companionship and love. Help those of us who are able to help those who need our help in whatever form this may take. Show us how we may follow your example to care for each other no matter the colour, creed or orientation and to try and make a difference in our small corner of the world and so make a difference to all your creation.
These things we ask in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Hymn no 154 O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Blessing and Dismissal.
We go now, in the name of Christ, to be his hands and his feet to follow him and take his message and work to our world.
And the Blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.
Closing voluntary: Bach’s Italian Concerto in F major: Allegro
National Giving Day
The Church of Scotland have asked all churches to observe a National Giving Day. Both Gatehouse and Twynholm will be having this on Sunday October 17th and the proceeds will go to UNHCR’s appeal for Afghanistan.