Sunday Worship Guide

   Sunday 24 October 2021 Kinlochleven and Nether Lochaber Parish Churches

Bible ThoughtJesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever’ (Hebrews 13:8)


Hymn   In heavenly love abiding,      no change my heart shall fear.
And safe in such confiding,                for nothing changes here.
The storm may roar without me,            my heart may low be laid,
But God is round about me,              and can I be dismayed? 

Wherever He may guide me,                 no want shall turn me back.
My Shepherd is beside me,              and nothing can I lack.
His wisdom ever waking,                               His sight is never dim.
He knows the way He's taking,            and I will walk with Him. 

 

Green pastures are before me,       which yet I have not seen.
Bright skies will soon be over me, where darkest clouds have been.
My hope I cannot measure,              my path to life is free.
My Saviour has my treasure,           and He will walk with me. 


 

Prayer Gracious and faithful God we extol your majesty and your glory. We come before you, your thankful people. You have kept us and held us. We bless you for the Word of life. We thank you for scriptures, they tell of your love. We depend on you for mercy and for strength for each day. We look to you for your forgiving mercies. We offer prayer in the name of Jesus and to his glory. Amen.

 


Scripture Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens:  a time to be born and a time to die,   a time to plant and a time to uproot,3  a time to kill and a time to heal,   a time to tear down and a time to build,   4a time to weep and a time to laugh,    a time to mourn and a time to dance,5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,6 a time to search and a time to give up,   a time to keep and a time to throw away,7 a time to tear and a time to mend,   a time to be silent and a time to speak,8   a time to love and a time to hate,    a time for war and a time for peace. What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 

 

Message People say, ‘there’s a time and a place for everything’. That bit of popular wisdom draws on this passage.  But Ecclesiastes is saying a lot more.

The passage is telling us that we need to accept the highs and lows of what life brings. We cannot expect life always to be full of fun and joy. Days of sorrow do come. We have to learn to adjust to the moment, be able to enjoy the good times, and be aware that we will go through tougher times. We can glorify God in good times and in the not so good, and make capital out of those harder times. God works in all situations for the good of those who love him.

    The apostle Paul knew how to abound and how to be brought low, for he knew that he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him. (Philippians 4:13). That can be true for us.

  We must learn to take life day by day, step by step. We cannot see the bigger picture, but God can. He sees ahead. In his timing and in his plan things work out, often in surprising ways. As I think upon my life experiences, how true it is that ‘weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning’. For many years I could never imagine the joy I know now of ministering in such a beautiful place amongst so many believing people.

It is not easy to adjust to life’s harder events such as the time to ‘throw away stones’ as the Authorised Version puts it. St Munda’s congregation have reluctantly taken the decision to part with their building. There is a time to mourn. As true as that is of losing a loved one, it is of losing a church sanctuary where generations were baptized, married, worshipped and learned the faith. 

   People can dwell in the past. That can be a substitute for living for today. But nothing stays the same. Even in the church there are times and seasons of refreshing when the church is blessed powerfully by God’s Spirit. For the rest of the time we must soldier on faithfully and prayerfully, seeking fresh blessings.

  We hanker after something permanent. But here ‘we have no continuing city’.    The transient is ever before us. Human mortality is the reality we face. God has put the sense of eternity, or a ‘forever’ into people’s hearts. Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Christ, as Augustine famously said. That hunger for eternity is satisfied in an important way when we come to Jesus, and when we trust him for salvation, and we receive the assurance that nothing will be able ever to separate us from God’s love for us in Jesus.

 The longing in our hearts is not fully satisfied until we reach heaven or until Christ returns. A tension exists and will continue to exist this side of eternity, but there is a more glorious reality, there are ‘diviner things’ yet to be revealed.   

      Prayer Loving and gracious God, help us live with the circumstances of today as we long for a better tomorrow. We pray further in the words you have taught us, saying Our Father….  Closing Words May God’s blessing be upon us, the blessing of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.