Worship in Carlops Sunday 24th October 2021 10am

21st Sunday after Trinity (blended service in Church and on Zoom)

Welcome and lighting of candles        Adam Salter and Galina MacNeacail


Call to worship        Patsy Campbell

Leader: We rejoice in the story of our past, O Lord,
            not because we seek to re-live it,
            but because we see your strong hand and saving love in it.
ALL:     Take us as we are, and make of us what we must be.
Leader: We rejoice in the world of our own day, not because we have answers to all its hard choices, but because Christ has gained the victory over evil.
ALL:     Come to us now, and unite us in the joy of your Kingdom.
Leader: We rejoice in the future before us,
            not because we take the Spirit as a possession we have earned
            but because he leads us on to hope, and that promise does not fail.
ALL:     Guide us onward, to live in the power of your Spirit.


Hymn 489     Come down, O Love Divine

1. Come down, O Love Divine,
    seek out this soul of mine,
    and visit it with your own ardour glowing.
    O Comforter, draw near,
    within my heart appear,
    and kindle it, your holy flame bestowing.
2. O let it freely burn,
    till earthly passions turn
    to dust and ashes, in its heat consuming;
    and let your glorious light
    shine ever on my sight,
    and clothe me round, the while my path illuming.
3. Let holy charity
    my outward vesture be,
    and lowliness become my inward clothing;
    true lowliness of heart,
    which takes the humbler part,
    and o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.
4. And so the yearning strong,
    with which the soul will long,
    shall far outpass the power of human telling;
    we cannot guess its grace,
    till we become the place
    wherein the Holy Spirit makes a dwelling.


Readings         Alex Gray

    Job 42: 1-6
Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

    St Mark 10: 46-52
Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.


Hymn 590: Holy Spirit, gift bestower

1. Holy Spirit, gift bestower,
    Breathe into our hearts today.
    Flowing water, dove that hovers,
    Holy Spirit, guide our way.
    Love inspirer, joy releaser
    Spirit, take our fears away.
    Reconciler, peace restorer,
    move among us while we pray.

2. Holy Spirit, Christ proclaimer,
    wisdom bringer, light our way.
    Fire that dances, wind that whispers,
    Holy Spirit, come today.
    Ease disturber, comfort bearer,
    move among us while we pray.
    Truth revealer, faith confirmer,
    rest within our hearts today. 

Reflection         Rev Nancy Norman

I remember Jericho. Not its legendary walls – nor (according to the old spiritual) an absence of them!
But it’s the lushness of that oasis that I remember, its vibrancy and colour in the middle of a desert.
We had descended, by bus, from Jerusalem, away from that city’s endless hubbub of voices and bustle, down into the silence of the Wadi Qelt – miles of emptiness, of steep and waterless terrain, a wilderness of bleached stone and baked sand.

And then…. from that dry and shimmering heat, Jericho’s features emerged, as insubstantial as a mirage. But it was real – colour, and scent, caper bushes, cactus, oleander, hibiscus, palm trees, flame trees, cypress trees and banana plantations. For all that the city lies 800` (250m) below sea level, from somewhere even deeper, a hidden watercourse bubbles, that not only has nourished but has sustained life for 10,000 years, and Jericho’s claim to be the oldest city on earth.

On the edge of that tantalising fruitfulness, the blind beggar Bartimaeus had established himself – as tenacious and resourceful, I suspect, as any desert dweller – carefully placing himself where no Jerusalem pilgrim could avoid him. (The fact that Mark gives us his name is an indication of how much a fixture Bartimaeus was in the life of that place.) His sharp and streetwise senses took in everything around him, but in his blindness he was entirely dependent upon others, for their mercy and their generosity, in sharing it with him.
But on that particular day, he sensed the presence of a different kind of man.
And to that man, Bartimaeus called out. And from him, asked for something more fundamental than even the basic essentials of daily life. Something that would sustain him not for one hour, or for one meal, or for one day, but something that would alter forever the circumstances of his life.

He understood his deprivation. His need was simple.
And in answer to Jesus’ question, ‘What do you want?’, Bartimaeus cried out: ‘Rabbi, I want to receive my sight!’
So simple and singular, the request. So complex, and profound, the response.

Because for all that the disciples had kept constant company with Jesus, their blindness to God’s purposes remained – blindness to Jesus’ part in those purposes, and blindness to the costliness.

And for all that Bartimaeus met Jesus but once, in his blindness he saw instantly, and without a moment’s delay, left everything behind, and followed Jesus, though that be the way of the cross.

TO SEE. It’s the hinge on which Mark’s entire gospel swings. Whether people did. Or didn’t. And it is this to which we are called.
To see not only the beauty of the world that is everywhere, but also the tragedy of the world that is everywhere too.
We cannot open our eyes to see only the former without the latter. Eyes that are open must see both, and see that both are part and parcel of life; and that both the beauty and the tragedy shape our purpose.

Time and time again I recall what I met upon arriving in Scotland – beautiful country – to work in St Giles’ Cathedral, in the centre of Edinburgh in the 1970s – perhaps because of being an American, arriving ‘blind’ to the rest of the world. (the old saying is correct, I fear, a tourist rarely sees, and an American never does).
But working in St Giles’ I met some of the rest of the world – delivering, from the church, coal and blankets and food to dwelling places in the Old Town that are etched in my mind forever. I thought those conditions might have long since disappeared from what I ‘seen’ through the eyes of Charles Dickens. But they had not. And in different ways, every one of those needs, and more, are still very much ‘live’.
And alongside that, the experience of extraordinary worship in St Giles’, absorbed in my ‘formative’ early years (although I hope I’m still in the process of formation!) which, ever since then, shaped my understanding of the worship of the church.

Sunday by Sunday the choir sang, among so much else, arrangements of the ‘Te Deum laudamus’ – we praise thee, O God – a long hymn, all of which is printed in the old church hymnary – CH3.
Only a small portion of the Te Deum – re-worded, unfortunately, and rhymed – appears in CH4 – where its crucial, crucial, last line is omitted:
O Lord, in thee have I trusted ….. let me never be confounded.

I can’t think of better words than that for today. For today’s church. For today’s world.
For every aspect of that world. And for us.
A world for the saving of which Jesus came to earth to live among us.
A world for the saving of which Jesus restored blind Bartimaeus’ sight – and ours too.
A world for which the United Nations was established exactly 76 years ago to-day – its founding charter envisioning a world united in peace – and given us to achieve.
A world which waits for the outcome of the next month’s deliberations in Glasgow — …..
A world which waits. But won’t wait.

O Lord, in thee have I trusted ….. let me never be confounded.
Let me never be confounded
by the world
by its turmoil and chaos
by its principalities and powers, by its persecutions and distress and hunger and nakedness, by its perils and by the power of its many swords and knives

let me never be confounded by the carelessness I see
by the waste of a good earth
by wasted lives
by the world’s peculiar lack of vision
by its lures towards what is less than good

let me never be confounded by what I cannot yet understand
by what seems so unfair
by deaths that are so needless, that have no justice or explanation in them
by the power of evil

let me never be confounded

but rather, let me be persuaded, that neither death, nor life, not angels, nor principalities, nor powers, not things present, not things to come, not height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Prayer         Laura Marshall

Dear Lord, we thank you this morning for the beauty of the changing season. For the colours of autumn, and the change of pace that colder weather and longer nights bring. Thank you for the hills and mountains, the forests, the rivers and burns, the lakes and seas and shores, and the opportunities we have to enjoy them. We are grateful also for the people we share it all with – our friends, family, church, and the communities to which we belong.

Lord, we pray today for the organisers and the decision-makers and all those in positions of authority in our local and wider community, for all those charged with leadership.

We pray for the family and friends of MP David Amess, and for all our MPs and MSPs, who have collectively been chosen to work on our behalf. May they be supported and encouraged in their work at what must be a difficult time.

And as world leaders gather on our doorstep for COP26, we pray for those charged with making huge decisions that will affect us all. Grant them wisdom and courage in their decision-making. And as they negotiate the big things, help us to play our own part in whatever small way we can, in protecting your creation.

We offer our prayers also for all those whose concerns are more immediate – those who have need of food for their table, or a roof over their head, or a safe refuge. May they know your love and comfort.

Now we bring to you our own prayers for those known to us who are in need.

We ask all this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



HYMN 139         Praise the Lord, you heavens, adore him
                          (Tune: 738 Austrian Hymn)

1. Praise the Lord, you heavens, adore him,
    praise him, angels, in the height;
    sun and moon, rejoice before him,
    praise him, all you stars and light.
2. Praise the Lord! for he has spoken;
    worlds his mighty voice obeyed;
    laws which never shall be broken
    for their guidance has he made.

3. Praise the Lord! for he is glorious;
    never shall his promise fail;
    God has made his saints victorious;
    sin and death shall not prevail.
4. Praise the God of our salvation!
    hosts on high, his power proclaim;
    heaven, and earth, and all creation,
    laud and magnify his name.

Benediction        Rev Nancy Norman


Sung Blessing:

May the God of peace go with us,
as we travel from this place;
May the love of Jesus keep us,
firm in hope and full of grace.