Sunday  1 November 2020 Kinlochleven and Nether Lochaber Parish Churches

Opening Words May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all.


Hymn    The church's one foundation 
is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
she is his new creation
by water and the Word:
from heav'n he came and sought her
to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her,
and for her life he died.

 

Elect from ev'ry nation,
yet one o'er all the earth,
her charter of salvation
one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy name she blesses,
partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses,
with ev'ry grace endued.

‘Mid toil and tribulation,
and tumult of her war,
she waits the consummation
of peace forevermore;
till with the vision glorious
her longing eyes are blest,
and the great church victorious
shall be the church at rest.

 

Yet she on earth hath union
with the God the Three in One,
and mystic sweet communion
with those whose rest is won:
O happy ones and holy! 'Mid
Lord, give us grace that we,
like them, the meek and lowly,
on high may dwell with thee
.


Prayer Gracious and wonderful God we praise you and we give you glory. Thank you Lord for being a loving and merciful God to us. Thank you for sending us your Son and for showing us how we can be part of your family. And we thank you that you give us the family of believers, a fellowship of your people on earth and in heaven. And we are one in the Spirt. Move in our hearts Lord. We are here Jesus for you. Take away all unworthiness from us.  We thank you that because of your love, Jesus, we are forgiven. Keep us ever in your care, Lord, and we pray in your mighty name, Amen.

Scripture 1 John 3:1-3 See what kind of love the Father has given us, for he calls us his children, and we are! Because of this the world doesn’t know us because it doesn’t know him. Dear people, we are God’s children now, and it has not yet been revealed what we will be like. But we do know that when Christ appears we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this hope in him will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.                                                                                                                                                Matthew 5:1-12  Seeing the crowds going up, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples came and opening his mouth he taught them. “God blesses those who are poor in spirit, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be satisfied. God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. 10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,   for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. 11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Rejoice and be glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. For the prophets who came before you were persecuted in the exact same way.

 

Message Many of us will have memories of Halloween, and ‘dooking’ for apples and monkey-nuts. You dropped a fork into a pail of water or just dipped your face in, trying to catch something to eat. The church does not recognize or encourage Halloween or the more modern ‘trick and treat’. They have associations with darkness. However, we do mark the 1st November as All Saints. The church celebrates the ‘communion of saints’, the fellowship of believers with Jesus including the great company of those who are now in his nearer presence. The readings today help us to understand that a great blessedness or happiness awaits believers when they finally see Jesus. There will be a noticeable family likeness. When we respond to Jesus we are brought into God’s family, we are called God’s sons and daughters, and start to grow to reflect the goodness and purity of Jesus. I’m sure you know that when a baby is born people often say they see a likeness to the child’s parents or grandparents. Sometimes that likeness only becomes evident as the child grows into adolescence or adulthood. It is much the same for us as the children of God. Through the grace and mercy of God we are growing into the likeness of Christ. This is seen through the qualities of love, patience, perseverance, gentleness, and purity. They are also the beatitudes, Jesus’ prescription for a happy life. They are the markers of the person who has surrendered his or her life to the King and tasted of the grace and mercy of God. Such a person serves God with undivided loyalty. It means a clean break from whatever is contrary to God’s laws and standards. The process of growing into the likeness of Jesus happens as we allow God’s Spirit to mould us. It is not about trying to be ‘saints’ who are so very ‘holy’. The church calls ‘saints’ men and women with weaknesses, and failings, just like us. Despite that they allowed the love and goodness of God to change them. In the church in Kinlochleven is a window depicting St Andrew and St George, patron saints of Scotland and England. Just as light shines through the representations of saints in stained glass, so the light of Christ shines through our lives. God’s love and forgiveness help us take our eyes off ourselves and meet other’s needs. Seek God’s help and grace so that you live this way.                       

                   Prayer Lord of all how we thank you and praise you that you have made us your children and adopted us into your family. We thank you for the blessedness of those who have loved you and served you on earth and are now with you in your nearer presence. May others too come to know Jesus. Help us to love others and to grow more like Jesus, and be pure in heart. Thank you for our family, friends, and church. Please heal the sick. Comfort the sorrowful. Make us one in your Spirit. Show your power Lord and be victorious in our midst. We sum up our prayer in the words Jesus 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.