Sunday October 17th 2021  Songs of Praise

A warm welcome to our service this morning which takes a different format from usual.  We have recently been gifted a number of copies of the BBC Songs of Praise, kindly given by St Columba’s Church in Ayr who are no longer using them and brought down to us by our organist, David. This morning I will be introducing some of the hymns which are in it which are not in CH4, several of which I hope you will know although you may not have sung some of them for a while, and one or two may be new.  We will be using this book along with CH4 – it is not intended to replace it.  But today all our hymns are taken from it.

Our first Hymn is 131 Come let us join our cheerful songs to the tune Nativity which was in CH3 so hopefully some of you will know it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bviAlYQAGJo

Prayer of Approach (Gwen)

Almighty God, our Heavenly Father,

We come to you this morning ready to praise you; to worship you for everything you mean to us.

You are our Rock, our Strong Foundation, on which we build our lives upon, and gladly we praise you for guiding our life.

We bring you our worship for your continued presence in all we see around us through your guiding hand at work in our world. We see the colours change from greens to orange, reds and gold as the trees dress in their Autumn finery. Our hedgerows are losing their leaves leaving a display of bright berries to attract the wildlife as food to see them through to Spring. Our temperatures are dropping which helps to preserve these fruits so they can last longer.

We praise you too for the diversity of the plants and the different creatures which you have created and the circle of life that they and we are all part of as we are interdependent on each other. You Lord, gave us dominion over all yet we confess our lack of diligence in taking care of your creation. We have become greedy, taking what we want without a thought for the consequences and now we are seeing the results of that greed as our world changes with extremes of weather and the loss of habitats and some of the species you created.

Through the still present virus we see that our own species is suffering and we are struggling to cope with caring for our sick and disadvantaged. Through the lock-downs and isolation we have lost our openness to help others. We have become selfish in our own lives and we are sorry for not reaching out to those around us who may need a helping hand, even just a friendly voice to show the caring love of Christ.

You have shown us so much love and we need to follow your example and show that love to others. Forgive us Lord, when we go our own way; we sin against you and don’t follow your laws. We step off that solid rock and find only sinking sand beneath our feet. Rescue us and keep us to that rock you provide and together we further pray, saying - - - - - Our Father, - - - - -

Hymn 167 Spirit of holiness, wisdom and faithfulness.  This hymn is to the tune Blow the wind southerly which is an English traditional melody which some of you will know.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkiIo263GkI

Reading:  Psalm 96

1 Sing to the Lord a new song;

    sing to the Lord, all the earth.

2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name;

    proclaim his salvation day after day.

3 Declare his glory among the nations,

    his marvellous deeds among all peoples.

 

4 For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;

    he is to be feared above all gods.

5 For all the gods of the nations are idols,

    but the Lord made the heavens.

6 Splendour and majesty are before him;

    strength and glory are in his sanctuary.

 

7 Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,

    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;

    bring an offering and come into his courts.

9 Worship the Lord in the splendour of his holiness;

    tremble before him, all the earth.

10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”

    The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;

    he will judge the peoples with equity.

 

11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;

    let the sea resound, and all that is in it.

12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;

    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.

13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,

    he comes to judge the earth.

He will judge the world in righteousness

    and the peoples in his faithfulness.

 

Hymn 273 Jesus bids us shine.  I imagine this will be familiar to many of you from Sundays School days.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJwsRCBTd0g

Those of you with long memories who can remember back to 2003, may recall that the Presbytery of Dumfries and Kirkcudbright decided to hold a Christian Festival called, appropriately enough, Christfest.  It was held over a weekend in June in the hope that the weather would be nice.  Of course, it rained continually! 

There was a large marquee in Park Farm in Dumfries.  There were various activities happening on the Saturday, and on the Sunday every church in the Presbytery was asked to cancel its services and join together in the marquee for a service of Holy Communion.

I invited one of my old friends from school, Fiona, to come down that weekend for Christfest and on the Saturday we attended The Big Sing. As we were sitting in the marquee waiting for it to begin, we were looking at the hymns we were about to sing.

One of them was called “I’ll go in the strength of the Lord.”

“I don’t know that one,” I said.

“You must know it,” Fiona said.  “They are always having it on Songs of Praise.”

As I didn’t really watch Songs of Praise, I was none the wiser.

“Do you really not know it?” said Fiona.  “Yippee!  After 20 years, I’ve finally found a hymn I know that you don’t.  First time ever.”

Anyway, I know it now.  And if you don’t, you are about to learn it.

Hymn 329 I’ll go in the strength of the Lord

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOknG-JGeHw

Many years ago, when I was 19, my sister moved to live in London.  I had never visited London, so I took advantage of a space on Hazel’s floor to go down and stay with her.  I was, after all, an impoverished student at the time. 

One of the things I wanted to do while we were there was visit Wesley’s Chapel – the home of Methodism.  My sister was up for this and we decided to go on a Sunday to attend a service.  (You got in free if you went to a service!)

Well I had one of these experiences that one often has when one visits a different Church.  I only knew one of the hymns and it was a hymn called Moses I know you’re the man!  It’s all right – I’m not going to make you sing it today.

However, another hymn we sang was to the tune Bethany and for days afterwards I found the tune floating around in my head.  So when I got back home to Scotland, I looked up Bethany in our numerous hymn books and eventually ran it to earth in a book called Hymns of Faith.  It has never appeared in any of the Church of Scotland hymn books.  The only time I have ever sung it was when I was 19 in Wesley Chapel in London. So I was delighted to find it in the BBC Songs of Praise hymn book.  And we are going to sing it now.  The words will be familiar to you – they are in CH4.

Hymn 368 Son of God, Eternal Saviour  (tune 2 Bethany) (omit v4)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIPHYo8X8jk

Hymn 345 Stand up, stand up for Jesus (introduced by Gwen)

My Hymn choice no. 345 Stand up Stand up for Jesus is one I remember from childhood! It brings back memories of being told “stand up straight! Don’t slouch!” by my mother, as well as “Hold in your stomach” and lots of other ‘advice’!

I was also a member of the Girl Guides and we were proud to “Stand up straight” and march with our flag, to go to church for “Thinking Day” in February, or to the War Memorial for Remembrance. It had a good marching beat.

A number of Hymns were excluded from the New Church Hymnary as they were considered ‘not Politically Correct’ some being excluded as they don’t include women! In this case at verse 2, the fifth line says “Ye that are men, now serve him” so if we substitute “his” for men we are sorted.

It may be, however, that it was excluded because of the reference to war!

But we were taught that the war was against Satan and evil especially if we put on the armour of God as found in Ephesians 6:13-17.

George Duffield Jr. D.D. (September 12, 1818 – July 6, 1888) was an American Presbyterian minister and hymnodist.

He was born on September 12, 1818, the fifth such George Duffield and continuing the preaching tradition in his family.

Duffield was known as a zealous advocate of abolition and Union causes during the U.S. Civil War. Upon the tragic death of another abolitionist and friend, Rev. Dudley Atkins Tyng, rector of the Epiphany Church, Philadelphia, who died about 1854 whose last words were, ‘Tell them to stand up for Jesus: now let us sing a hymn.’ As he had been much persecuted in those pro-slavery days for his persistent course in pleading the cause of the oppressed, it was thought that these words had a peculiar significance in his mind; as if he had said, ‘Stand up for Jesus in the person of the downtrodden slave.’ (Luke 4:18)

George Duffield’s hymns include:

"Blessed Saviour, Thee I love"

"Parted for some anxious days"

"Praise to our heavenly Father, God"

"Slowly in sadness and in tears"

"Stand up, stand up for Jesus"

I always found this an uplifting Hymn. Let us sing it now. No. 345.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbnhUlj2PZ4

Our next hymn has a special significance for me. It’s called “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”  About 6 weeks after I had started my probationary placement at South Queensferry Church, we came to Remembrance and we were asked to hold a Remembrance service at the local primary school.  My supervisor, John, put together an order of service and then invited me to discuss it with him.  One of the items on it was this hymn, and next to it the words “Solo – Val.”

“What’s this?”  I asked

“Well I thought you could sing it as a solo”, John replied, brightly and confidently.  “Don’t you know it?”

Well, yes, I knew it, but I really didn’t want to sing it as a solo in front of 400 primary school aged children.  However, supervising ministers have the power of life and death over students in training, so I didn’t feel I could say no.  I reluctantly agreed.

I was then sent off to the primary school to discuss the service with the headmistress.  She looked slightly embarrassed as I entered her office and we started to go through the draft order together.

“Now this solo”, she said. “I don’t want to cast any aspersions on your singing Val, it’s just em, well, the little ones tend to get the giggles if anyone stands up and sings a solo, no matter who they are.”

Oh great, I thought.  Now I’ve got to sing a solo in front of a bunch of giggling 5 year olds.

“Would you mind terribly if we took it out?” she continued. 

Would I mind?  Reprieve!!

“No, no, not at all” I said, in some relief. “John’s idea actually”.

She looked relived too, that I wasn’t mortally offended.

So now we are going to sing Hymn 363 Let there be peace on earth.  I am not doing a solo, and no giggling is allowed!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BkoaPTeZM0

Prayer of Thanksgiving and Intercession

Lord God we give you thanks that we can come together and praise you through the joy of music,

We thank you for all those over the years who have felt inspired to write hymns and music that we can use in our worship

And we pray that the day will soon come when we will be able to sing freely again and have choirs singing in harmony.

 

As we think of the harmony of music, we pray for harmony in our nation and in our world

 

Where there is contention, bring co-operation.

Where there is unhealthy competition, usher in collaboration.

Where there is false accusation, let there be truth.

Even when differing in opinion from one another,

may we do so with mutual respect.

 

And this is our prayer also for Your church.

In our generation, may we increasingly become an answer to the prayer of Jesus,

whose desire was to see his people become as one.

 

Now, as a church family,

we bring before You the needs of those who are facing hardship at present.

Draw very close to all whose burden is heavy.

May physical rest and peace of mind be their experience

now, and in the days, to come.

 

At the same time, we rejoice with every one we know

who has something to celebrate

the birth of a child, or grandchild,

the excitement of a new relationship

Lord, how wonderful it is

for us to share the pleasure such good news brings

 

And finally, in the silence of this space,

we bring to You our own needs and those of others

who have not already been mentioned at this time….

 

Lord, in Your love for all humankind,

reach out to everyone who needs a deep touch from Your healing hand this day.

Hear and answer us according to Your mercy, Heavenly Father,

and glorify Your name in our midst

that all may know You are the Lord,

and that nothing is impossible for You.

In Jesus' name, we pray.

Amen

Hymn 109 Low in the grave he lay

I think this is a well written hymn because the words and the music match well.  They were written by the same person, Robery Lowry, in the 19th century.  You have the words referring to the death of Christ set so that you are singing quite low and quite slowly, and then the chorus which speaks of resurrection goes up and gets quicker.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kowN2rxc0M (sing along version)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fs760h4yI4  (choir version)

Benediction

God knows your name, and calls you to serve others in his.

Go then, to love and serve the LORD,

by loving and serving all of those with whom you share this earthly life.

And, the blessing of God Almighty,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

be with you all, today and every day.

Amen

 

Closing voluntary:  Handel’s Trumpet Concerto in D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIzgayrp7gE

 

 

Intimations

National Giving Day

Today is our National Giving Day when you have the opportunity to give to the crisis in Afghanistan through the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.  Just because we are not hearing so much about Afghanistan on the news at the moment, doesn’t mean that the problems have gone away. There is a special plate at the door in Gatehouse, and in Twynholm you can put your gift in an envelope saying Afghanistan.

Gatehouse Music Society are holding their first concert in the 2021/22 Season on Sunday 24 October at 3.00 pm in the Church.  Aisling Agnew, flute, and Sharron Griffiths, harp, are The Clyde Duo who will perform a varied programme of classical works and folk music.  The concert is free, but donations would be welcomed.  The Church’s Covid measures will be observed – wearing face masks, using hand sanitizer, keeping your distance, and supplying contact details for track and trace.  There will be no interval for refreshments, but toilets will be accessible in the Halls.

Tarff and Twynholm. 

The Kirk Session is pleased to let you know that Presbytery has given permission for our Church Hall to reopen. The  Protocol for all to follow is displayed inside the hall. Any group wishing to rent the hall please contact Helen McQueen 01557 860274.

Also, next week at Twynholm we will celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism, welcoming Koala Allie Ahmed into the family of the Church.