1 Kings 8:54-63 After Solomon had finished praying to the LORD, he stood up in front of the altar, where he had been kneeling with uplifted hands. (55) In a loud voice he asked God's blessings on all the people assembled there. He said, (56) "Praise the LORD who has given his people peace, as he promised he would. He has kept all the generous promises he made through his servant Moses. (57) May the LORD our God be with us as he was with our ancestors; may he never leave us or abandon us; (58) may he make us obedient to him, so that we will always live as he wants us to live, keeping all the laws and commands he gave our ancestors. (59) May the LORD our God remember at all times this prayer and these petitions I have made to him. May he always be merciful to the people of Israel and to their king, according to their daily needs. (60) And so all the nations of the world will know that the LORD alone is God—there is no other. (61) May you, his people, always be faithful to the LORD our God, obeying all his laws and commands as you do today."
Matthew 8:1-3 When Jesus came down from the hill, large crowds followed him. (2) Then a man suffering from a dreaded skin disease came to him, knelt down before him, and said, "Sir, if you want to, you can make me clean." (3) Jesus reached out and touched him. "I do want to," he answered. "Be clean!" At once the man was healed of his disease.
February 14 2021
Let us Pray
May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen
The verse following Solomon’s dedication of the temple which Ruth just read, reads;
(62) Then King Solomon and all the people there offered sacrifices to the LORD. (63) He sacrificed 22,000 head of cattle and 120,000 sheep as fellowship offerings. And so the king and all the people dedicated the Temple.
You will be pleased to know that we don’t intend to follow suit
tonight – not even a barbeque sausage
which some of you may be pleased to know.
But it does remind me of the mother, who,
when the family cat died
told her daughter in solemn tones, that the tabby had gone to be with God.
To which the child replied, “Mum, why would God want a dead cat!”
Why God would want 22 thousand dead cows let alone 120 thou dead sheep.
Some of the prophets in Solomon's day thought that was pretty stupid as well
and they wrote things like
Isa 1:11-17 God says: "Do you think I want all these sacrifices you keep offering to me? I have had more than enough of the sheep you burn as sacrifices and of the fat of your fine animals. I am tired of the blood of bulls and sheep and goats. instead - learn to do right. See that justice is done—help those who are oppressed, give orphans their rights, and defend widows."
Amos 5:21-24 (23) Stop your noisy songs; I do not want to listen to your harps. (24) Instead, let justice flow like a stream, and righteousness like a river that never goes dry.
Zechariah 7:8-10 'You must see that justice is done, and must show kindness and mercy to one another. (10) Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners who live among you, or anyone else in need. And do not plan ways of harming one another.'
When we dedicate a worship centre we may think of hymns
ancient and modern
of all kinds of modern music where we tell God how much we love
But the whole idea of places such as this
seems to me to, in a variety of ways, connect us to the source of all
love, which is God
that love and compassion and mercy
might be found in us
not for us to squirt back to God
but to flow out into the community
so that a kind of halo effect is created.
A flow out into the community which says to people,
we do what we do out of compassion and love for you,
not so you will join our church
not so you will believe what we believe
not so you will agree with us
rather we will love you in in any way we can
because you deserve and need to be loved.
There is no person whom I have ever met
who does not long to be loved
no strings attached.
And when a Church loves that way
there spreads out in a community and a country,
what we know as a halo effect.
When people are loved they breathe easier
when burdens are lifted they walk more lightly
when they are listened to
and they weep
there is mental and emotional healing
in the community.
When they can hear that there is this love beyond the universe that won’t let them go
they have hope.
This past week something like close to 100 children
and their mothers/fathers/grandparents
came here for
3-6 hours for free coffee and food
and for their children to play in a safe environment
and for a few hours feel loved and special
leaving a little different to when they came.
It makes a difference to the physical and mental health of the community.
It is what you as a congregation
and the congregations you have come from tonight
have been doing
for 2000 years.
Sure, we have often got lost along the way,
yes, we have stuffed up.
At its worse the church has become a people of division
and self interest
and alienation and judgement
And yet time after time
we have been broken
and brought back closer to the heart of God.
And we will continue to be.
At its best the church has been fighting against
and poverty, loneliness
war and injustice
for hundreds of years,
and as we dedicate this place to the Glory of God
we acknowledge that
the fight is now ours.
And what matters for us as a congregation
is how well we run the portion of the race that is ours.”
Your presence in the wider community makes a difference.
The small group of women in leadership here
who when the possibility of this centre seemed impossible
said – yet in God’s will and purpose there must be a way..
We will make it happen. You made a difference.
You who gathered around them
and believed in their vision and prayed with them
and believed for them, you made a difference.
The leadership from St Columba
who believed in your vision
and volunteered expertise and direction.
The architect Jane who believed it possible
and volunteered much of her time
and who over this year project managed the completion.
The Northern Presbytery in a wonderful act of generosity
has made a difference.
A year ago I asked a gentleman to consider project managing this centre.
This was a man of vision who in the most gracious of acts,
turned me down.
And then asked me: would a 100 grand do instead?
I was never so beautifully and magnanimously
That act was the impetus needed to complete the task to where we are today.
You are undoubtedly made a difference.
I love the church
she has been my mother since I was born
my place of sanctuary
a place where numerous men and women looked out for me
men and women in whose faces I would find the face of Christ.
I believe that the local church still remains the hope for the world.
And so my prayer is that there ever flow from this place
a stream of life
may we always be a place of safety and
A place where irrespective of where you come from
and whatever your journey
you are safe.
My only regret is that I’m not forty years younger.
For there are greater adventures for us ahead.
My mind does keep telling me I am forty years younger
but my body keeps objecting!
So, at the grand old age of 70,
well actually 75, but that’s nearly 70,
I take to heart the grand words of Alfred Lord Tennyson
which could apply to a good few of us.
“Come, my friends,
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
Thank you all.
The best is yet to come.
Now unto God the Father, God the Son and God, the holy Spirit, be all the honour and
glory, world without end. Amen
Would you like to share in our purpose and mission? We believe that good relationships, open discussion and a genuine desire to seek God’s calling allows us to grow as people and a community together.