We welcome all visitors to our services this Sunday at Yetholm (10am) and Morebattle (11.15). We have been greatly saddened by the death of Queen Elizabeth and mourn her today.
Call to Worship
‘Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness, you that seek the Lord . Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug.'
Hymn 160 – Praise my soul, the king of Heaven
Prayers of Adoration & Confession
You are the Lord who is beyond time and change.
Through all the myriad courses of history,
you have been the one constant
that has enabled our wayward humanity
to follow a safe pathway.
And as we think of our native land
and the twists and spirals of its journey to this hour,
we are grateful for your care and endless benevolence.
And bright among the shine of your blessings
through so many years
has been the presence of our sovereign.
So this time of loss touches deep,
and with our sadness uncertainty comes to snap at our heels.
But then comes your word calling us to stand fast
in the faith that our Queen knew and which sustained her through all her days.
So we turn to it,
knowing well that it will uphold and nourish us through this time.
Forgive us if ever we forget ourselves and look to another rock than you,
or another quarry from which to draw our security.
For in you alone is our hope,
from you alone is our comfort,
through you alone is our nation made whole and strong, and by you alone is our future made secure.
Such prayers now we make through Jesus Christ, Our Lord
Readings – Romans 8: 31-39
John 14: 1-4, 6, 27
Hymn 425 – The Saviour died, but rose again
Prayer of Illumination
O Christ our tender Shepherd,
you know how anxious we are
and how easily we stray.
Let us hear your voice
Above the clamour of all others,
That we may learn who truly feeds us
And find our way home to you. Amen
Whenever the Queen was in residence at Balmoral, a minister would be invited to preach at Crathie Kirk, and they would stay the weekend. A couple of friends of mine have been in that position. In both cases, they panicked for weeks over needing a new wardrobe for the barbecue and dinner. But immediately they reached Balmoral, they were put at their ease. The Queen had a knack for engaging with people, so that soon they were chatting and laughing. Ian Greenshields, the present moderator, was at balmoral only last weekend, and he paid testament to the Queen’s knowledge, but also to her sense of fun. He was shocked, as so many of us were, to hearing how gravely ill she was, because ‘she was in such amazingly good form at the weekend’. She died on Thursday afternoon.
The Queen was held in the greatest respect by all, Royalists and even by those who would not support the Monarchy She touched the lives of so many people here in Britain, but I have also received messages from friends abroad speaking of their admiration for the Queen.
She became Queen at the young age of 25, her father dying when he was only 56. She was in Treetops in Kenya and immediately began to write letters apologising for cancelling the rest of the trip and upsetting people’s plans So began a life of impeccable duty.
What a reign – she spanned 15 Prime Ministers and 14 American Presidents. During her life, there has been the Second World War, and she broadcast as a 14 year old, encouraging the children and saying that we will come through this. Astronauts walked on the moon, the Berlin wall was built and also knocked down; an iron curtain disappeared; the internet has revolutionized life; apartheid ended in South Africa, and a rainbow nation came into being. The list is endless, but the Queen offered the still small voice of calm and stability throughout.
She wasn’t shaking hands looking for a vote or addressing rallies looking for power or, like celebrities these days, blurting out her personal thought every which way. Instead, she embodied service and devotion. At an age when most people would have retired decades before, she was still at work, right up to the last. She believed that it was a God-given task, to serve the people. Not just some, but all people.
Her Christian faith was central to this. She believed, and always had a real concern about the Church, while also respecting those of other faiths.
At 96 she lived a good and a long life and touched so many people’s lives for good. In his letter to the Church in Rome, Paul asks what can separate us from god’s love and the goes on to list various calamities and even death itself, the last enemy, but he is bold to say that he is convinced that nothing, neither death nor life, nor things present nor things to come, can ever separate us from the love of God. Meanwhile in the Gospels, Jesus gives the reassuring message to the disciples that there are many mansions in His father’s house, there is so much space, and he assures them that they will be with him, and we cling to that hope, that God, maker of all things, has made us for more than this life and that there will be a coming together with all who have gone before us.
The Queen lived her life in dedicated service; let us be thankful for that example and as we seek to follow the way of Christ, let us seek to serve one another and the community around.
Prayers of Dedication
In Jesus’ parable, the woman who found the lost coin rejoiced over something precious. What we offer to God is precious to us. When we present it to God, God rejoices in our gifts. Let us bless God with our offering.
Lord God, receive our gifts offered in a spirit of generosity and humility. Bless and use them for the work that you long to do in the world in Jesus name. Amen.
Hymn 691 – Be still my soul
Prayers of Thanksgiving & Intercession
Who engages with the world in which we live,
We give You thanks that all is known to You,
And blessed by Your eternal presence.
God of the past, the present and the future,
For the bed-rock of faith,
For the deep roots of faith,
Receive our thanks this day.
In times of change and transformation,
Where we miss the familiar,
And long for stability,
Reassure us with the steadfastness of Your love.
Hear our thanks for this nation of ours:
Its people and its places,
The human tapestry of young and old, women and men,
The city-dweller and the country folk,
Enhance our respect for each other,
Trusting in the inherent goodness that each child of the universe
Offers to a broken world.
Hear our thanks for Elizabeth, our late Queen,
Blessed by grace,
Resolute in service,
Modest in person.
For the years of her reign,
And the sweep of history through which she provided
Both anchor and springboard.
We thank You for her dedication to this nation and Commonwealth,
And for all the rich gifts of wisdom, kindness and inclusion
She brought to her long decades.
We give You thanks for lives her life touched,
For the radiance of her smile
And the encouragement of her words.
We thank You for the sparkle of her humour
That eased the tensions she encountered,
And for the determination of her life
To see its duties through.
King of kings and Lord of lords,
We thank You for the families she united
Through her person.
Those near and dear to her in her home life;
Those brought together by the union of this kingdom;
Those spread throughout the Commonwealth of nations
So dear to her heart.
For our nation at this time we pray,
Asking for comfort in our loss,
And hopefulness as we step forward into the days ahead.
As our thankfulness mingles with our sadness,
May we support each other
And be, together, communities of tenderness and kindness.
Sustain us with the strong memories of the past,
And prepare us for joyfulness in the days before us.
In the dignity of our time of grief,
May we find in each other encouragement
To share our tears, and be consoled by remembering laughter
That eases emptiness and speaks to us
Of life continuing in generations to come.
God save our King,
And bless him in these days of preparation.
Imbue him with the strength of character,
The openness of heart,
The suppleness of mind
And the generosity of spirit
That will anoint him in the coming days.
Silence as remember those who are ill and situations of strife and conflict in our world today.
Hymn 694 – Brother, sister, let me serve you
Go in peace and love.
May the blessing of the God who made us,
the Christ who mends us,
and the Spirit who gives us life
be with you now and always. Amen.