- Knapdale was part of the Diocese of Sodor and Man in the early Middle Ages
- In due course it became part of the Diocese of Argyll under the patronage of the Abbey of Kilwinning in Ayrshire
- The records of the Synod of Argyll of the mid 17th century make reference to the parish of Knapdale
- The shortage of ministers to serve in the churches in the outlying parts of Argyll was a frequently recurring subject of discussion in the Synod
- In 1715 the decision was taken to divide Knapdale into north and south but it took 19years for the recommendation to be fully implemented.
- North Knapdale and especially Inverlussa (the closest church building) “gave birth” to congregations in Achahoish (church building completed in 1775 and is still in use) and Inverneill (completed a few years later but a ruin since 1900)
- Expanding populations in Ardrishaig and Lochgilphead (along with population movement) brought about the demise of the Inverneill congregation but the building of churches in Ardrishaig (1860) and Lochgilphead (1828)
Which leads us to:
- “The Church at home has, perhaps, lost sight of this, but mission and evangelism are core activities of the Christian faith.
Throughout His ministry, Jesus teaches us to see the world differently from the way we would ordinarily see it.
To some extent that’s what’s behind the principle of sending out missionaries – to help others see the world, themselves, as Jesus sees them.
But have we lost sight of that imperative when it comes to our home nations?
- ‘How great is our burden for mission?’The only way to have a sense of burden for mission is to be more influenced by Jesus than by our culture – seeing the world as He sees it.
Jesus was/is always trying to help his followers to see the world differently from the way it is ordinarily seen.
- Missionary activity assumes a new way of looking at the world.
Perhaps we need to define ‘mission’ and ‘evangelism.’
Mission is about crossing cultures to win people to/for Christ and planting HisChurch.
Local evangelism is reaching out to people in our own culture where the Church has already been planted.
Which brings us to John 4:27-39:
- Jesus had finished talking to the Samaritan woman — she has returned to town with a different view of the world.
- The disciples back from the same town, encourage Jesus to eat and in His typical, but atypical, way Jesus challenges their way of seeing things.
- They say, ‘Jesus, it’s gone lunch time; eat something’ — He replies, “I’ve been eating. My food is to do the will of my Father; to accomplish his work” – ‘I’ve just spent the last half hour talking to a Samaritan woman and her need for salvation. I tell you guys; I’m full.’
- Jesus challenges their/our way of looking at the world.
- Jesus then calls us to see the world of sowing and reaping differently — inroutine harvesting there’s a time for sowing and a time for reaping (Eccl 3) — the time interval between the two is fairly fixed.
- But there’s no point in lifting up our eyes in December (in Mid Argyll) to see if the barley is ready for harvesting; it’s the wrong time of year!
- But that’s not the case in the spiritual realm.
- Jesus said, “You say, there are four months till harvest” (v35) — you think of fixed and unchangeable times between sowing and reaping. But that isn’t the way I want you to look at the world of mission.
- Don’t be mechanistic; don’t think that there’s some kind of fixed pattern or timing that always works.
- Don’t sow and then go back to your routine activities (it’s dinner time) with no sense of expectancy.
- Instead, I say, lift up your eyes; be on the lookout – there are fields white and ready to harvest!
- Jesus sowed the seed of the Word with the Samaritan woman.
- Amazed, she had gone to sow more in the town.
- Would the disciples lift their eyes to what God was doing? Or would they just go about their routine activity, worrying about lunch?
- Contrary to all your expectations, Jesus was saying, the town where you’ve just been and saw nothing, is a field ready for harvesting!
- When it comes to mission and evangelism, don’t be locked into fixed natural laws. Don’t say, “Four months, then . . . because that’s the way it’s always been.”
- Instead lift your eyes. Look. See what God is doing – Look upon the world with the eyes of Jesus.
- Lift your eyes and look forward with faith as you sow and/or reap within this Charge of North Knapdale recognising/seeing that evangelism/missionary activity in 21st century Scotland assumes/requires a new way of looking at your world
We give thanks for the worship and witness of past generations.
We recognise the changing situations within our land.
We have agreed, under guidance of the Presbytery of Argyll, to the closure of this Holy Place.
With sadness we will close ours doors this evening.
With faith and confidence, we will move forward into God’s future.
Thanks to everyone who came and shared in this event, brought food, brought old photos, washed up, tidied up and made us feel good about the future.