We welcome all visitors to our services at Yetholm (10am) and Linton (11.15am) this Sunday. Please take time to sign the visitors’ book.
Summoned to holiness, roused to justice
We are called to live in love
Granted forgiveness, blessed with mercy
We are called to live in hope
Beckoned by saints, encouraged by angels
We are called to live in joy
Hymn 740 – For all the saints (1-4,7-8)
Prayers of adoration and confession
Light of love, shining like light from the sun,
Bringing all creation to life;
Light of the world, penetrating the darkness, showing the way for all who search;
Light of our hearts, shining within and between us, revealing our truest selves;
Fill us now with your light as we remember your saints and touch us through their transparent goodness and grace.
God of mercy,
We are sorry for times when anger or bitterness made us resentful. We are sorry that the desire to get even turns us from your mercy.
Forgive us, O God, and shine the light of Christ on us,
so that we can know his peace and his purposes for us.
As Cop 27 starts in Egypt, we confess that there are times when we forget the earth is yours, we treat it as our own to use and abuse it as we want. We confess our complicity in all that our common home has lost.
For species lost through disappearing habitats, for biodiversity lost through deforestation and agri-business, for precious resources lost through our single-use, throw away culture, for ozone lost through our continuing reliance on fossil fuels.
The prophet Micah reminds us that God requires of us three things: to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God.
To all who repent and seek reconciliation in kindness and humility, God offers forgiveness and peace.
Readings – Daniel 7: 1-3, 15-18 (Pg 892)
Luke 6: 20 -31 (Pg 1034)
Hymn 745 – How bright these glorious spirits shine
Prayer of Illumination
Faithful God, you have promised to be with us and long ago sent your Spirit to live amongst us to guide us to a future of goodness and hope. As we travel into the week ahead seeking your truth and justice, let us feel your presence as we try, with your help to "Do to others as we would have them do to us". Amen
Just before I studied for the ministry, I took a year out and worked as a volunteer for a year at the Church guesthouse in Tiberias in Israel. I was looking forward to it and thought how marvellous it would be to live in a Christian community, for there was a minister with his family, and the warden and assistant warden were both mission partners too. Then there were the other volunteers. It would be a time of spiritual growth in an atmosphere of Christian love and encouragement. So I thought. Only the minister was long haired and wore shorts and played the guitar, while the warden was as ex Police inspector from the Glasgow police and very straight. And the two did not get on at all well, though the assistant warden did her best to keep the peace. As volunteers we all had our foibles too. It was a time of spiritual growth, for I learned that as Christians we all have our failings.
It is like someone who went to a monastery and hoped to learn from the monks, for surely they were really holy people. But the first monk he approached and asked how to live a holy life said ‘we stumble and rise, we fall and get up’.
Tuesday was All Saints Day, and sometimes we put saints on a pedestal and think of them, men and women of such paralysing virtue that they never had a nasty thought or did an evil deed their whole life long, but the feet of the saints are as much of clay as anyone else’s. they stumble and rise, they fall and get up. It was Martin Luther who said that all Christians are simultaneously saint and sinner. We are sinners because of our rebellious nature, but saints because of our salvation through Christ. But to quote from Leonard Cohen, the Canadian song writer, ‘It is often the cracks that let the light in’. We fall and we get up.
We fall down for any number of reasons, but if Luke’s Gospel tells us anything, it is that living as a servant of God is demanding and none of us do it perfectly – loving our enemies, doing good to those who hate us, turning the other cheek, giving expecting nothing in return. That is difficult work on the best of days, and it seems to be getting harder and harder in this wild world.
In the Old Testament we read of Daniel’s disturbing visions. The style of writing was called apocalyptic and often dealt with the end times. Things were put in black and white terms, but there is the comforting image of the saints in the safety of heaven. But in Luke, we read what is called the Sermon on the Plain, and the people who gathered there were just ordinary people, bringing with them the cares of the day, their sorrows and struggles. Jesus comes to the level place to say something to people who felt that they were nothing and lift them up, encourage them, give them a standard to aim at. They weren’t perfect, but by seeking to follow Christ’s way of loving enemies, going the extra mile, turning the cheek, they could make a difference. As one writer said, ‘The difference between doing something and doing nothing is everything.’
That is why we need All Saints, so we can remember the saints of every generation, the Cuthberts and Aidans, the Desmond Tutus and Mother Theresas. People who weren’t perfect but were people who were willing to be used by God. People committed to getting up after they fell down, because they believed that God can use us to be transformative in our community and in our world. People who were invested in the Gospel of love for the long haul, who sought to love their enemies and turn the other cheek, who stumbled and rose, who fell and got up – again and again.
When Paul wrote to the churches, he addressed his letters to the saints, to ordinary people who often got things wrong, but tried to let the light shine through their cracks. That is good news. For we too are the saints living in this place. So let us be willing to be used by God to let the light shine in this place.
Hymn 530 – From the falter of breath
Prayers of Dedication & Intercession
Source of all life and love, with deep thanks we offer to you: our fumbled change, church envelopes, and direct debits;
our energy, talents, and time;
our prayers, our hopes, our lives.
Receive and grace these offerings, that they may be used to bless your church, your people, your creation.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
We thank you for our world, its beauty and grandeur, the resources You provide for us, and the call You give us to live in harmony with the earth, our fragile home. We pray for those meeting at the Cop 27 meeting in Egypt that decisions will be taken and commitments made to save our planet. God, in your mercy….hear our prayer.
Lord Jesus, You came amongst us as a refugee; Your first months and years were spent as an exile. Bless all those staying at the asylum camp at Manston in Kent and other such camps. Give them hope, Lord Jesus, hope that justice and law will prevail. Show us, Lord Jesus, how to welcome the refugee, and remind us again and again, that in being born as one of us, you also sought asylum. (pause) Lord, in your mercy….hear our prayer.
Give grace to Charles our King as he navigates his new role. Give wisdom to Rishi our prime minister and those who govern with him, Nicola and Mark, First Ministers in devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales; leaders of parties in the North of Ireland as they deal with political impasse, and to all who serve us in elected office that careful discernment and a concern for the poor will guide debates and decisions in the coming months. Inspire our leaders as they decide how to deal with the cost of living crisis and our economic problems. God, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
In a moment’s silence we bring to God our needs and prayers for those we love and worry about. God, in your mercy…hear our prayer
God of glory, we remember all who have gone before us with gratitude. May their example inspire us.
May we grow more transparent in our living. Make us windows of your presence, open to seeing you in every face, as we walk in the ways of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen
Hymn 738 – Glorious things
Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, hold us in your love and open our eyes to the great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, and the blessing of Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you, now and always. Amen.