Talks from 5 May 2019

Today’s service was brought to you by our new Local Worship Leaders!

Mark 5 v 22 – 43

 GIFT OF TOUCH

Dr Fritz Talbot conducted a scientific study in the 1940’s regarding the effects of touch in babies and established a conclusive connection between touch and infants ability to thrive.

The importance of eye contact and a  loving touch with babies has a special significance in early attachment and plays an important part in the process of a baby feeling secure and a sense of connection.

From when we are born we are wrapped up to make us feel secure move on to teddies, touch toys, the comforting feel of some types of material all of which make us feel loved and secure which lots of people take into adulthood and evokes memories of the love and security they felt as children.

This is the feeling when you have faith in God and feel the connection. It is sad that there are lots of people who don’t ever get to feel this connection and we should pray to God for guidance.

Importance of touch Jesus touched everyone to heal he  didn’t just stand at the edge of the crowd and say you are all healed  

Jesus gift of touch provides healing connection and can warm even the coldest heart

In what way can you be the hands of Jesus and show the gift of touch to someone who may need love and compassion.

Gods hands will constantly guide you if you seek him and welcome his involvement in your life

Gods hands of intervention and comfort is available to those who seek a close relationship with him.

Gods physical touch is one of the first things you may feel when he begins to draw you towards him and you feel the connection. It is one of the most comforting things you can ever experience. It is life changing.

My story is i  had been to an Alpha meeting and after it had finished had gone for a walk to think about God and religion. I sat on a bench beside a loch and for no reason tears were running down my cheeks they were not sad tears as I felt at peace and I realised that was Gods way of connecting with me. We must be willing to reach out and touch him and if we do we will recognise that here stands the one who will reach out and touch our lives with that touch brings wholeness

The word of God always encounters us and challenges us and asks what about you? 

WHAT IS YOUR STORY

Connection is something every human being longs for, was designed for and needs. There are so many lonely people who don’t have the opportunity perhaps through illness, shyness or no family near them to have the daily contact of touch. 

There are also people who perhaps in their childhood through circumstances don’t feel touch or hugs in a kind way which we all have to be aware off. 

In today’s world we now have to be aware of the power of touch and how it may offend people which is sad as all through the scripture we read about Jesus healing people by laying his hands on the sick who had faith in him and were healed.  The security we reach for as infants, on in to adulthood to me is  the same as the security we feel in Gods love and the ability to grow.

Jesus said that children and young people are not the church of the future but the church of today. The kingdom of God belongs to them.

Children tend to be receptive, open, humbling and forgiving.

You become childlike when you share your honest feelings. Acknowledge how vulnerable you are and how much you need God and other people.

Respond instinctively like a child to feel and express our love and joy, rush in explore, probe and discover things for yourself.

Sense the presence of God know his security and protection.

The lord goes before you and he will be with you. He will never leave you. 

The church is an important part of the community as worship brings people together. Louise and I were standing talking with our coffee after church and all the congregation were sitting with their tea/coffee chatting to each other and laughing and it was lovely to see. What a difference it would make to more people if they could experience the warmth, welcome and compassion which is felt through everyone’s love of God who promises to give you grace, blessing and honour.

Proverbs 2 v 1 – 11. Ephesians 4 v 1 – 16

Mission

David has already mentioned the interesting meeting we had in Ardrishaig on Thursday. There were elders from the five Mid Argyll churches – Lochgilphead, Ardrishaig, South Knapdale, Glassary, Kilmartin and Ford and of course North Knapdale. David Mitchell, who has four churches in Cowal is the Convener of the Presbytery Planning Committee and outlined the case for improvement very well. 

Not only are there not enough ministers to go round the current number of posts, but also there is not enough money in the coffers in Edinburgh to pay their wages if we had all the posts filled.

This leaves us with a little bit of a dilemma if we wish to continue our traditional church in the traditional manner on the traditional Sunday morning with a traditional minister.

Reading between the lines it would seem that there is only enough money available to pay for 2 salaried ministers for our area. 

But, and it’s a big but! This brings a very exciting opportunity for every one of us to be involved in shaping the future of our denomination for the next 10 to 20 years. And I am quoting here from David Mitchell’s own words “it’s not about bums on seats on a Sunday morning!”.

Our reading from Proverbs is all about wisdom

My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding —
indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

God is not going to leave us to flounder in ignorance, we must search for wisdom from him in this situation that we find ourselves in. How are we going to do this? Thinking of what Catherine has shared with us, do we need to be open to feeling the touch of God? Of letting his spirit dwell in us and guide our footsteps?

Some of us will want to have some quiet reflection alone with our Heavenly Father, maybe reading some passages of scripture, searching for some continuity in the outward expression of our faith. Others will want to talk and discuss and argue their points. Others may dream dreams. I know some people who will walk and pray and listen to God. Whatever our preferred method we must share our thoughts with each other in love and gentleness, listening first to understand their point of view before giving our own. Our future is so important that we should be talking about it at coffee time as well as when we meet each other in the co-op or at the lunch club. 

Deuteronomy 6 is talking about God’s laws here “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” I’m not saying this discussion is as important as God’s laws, but it’s a good principle to talk about what you find important and try to share it with others.

What sort of wisdom are we looking for?

David Mitchell impressed upon us that we must set aside all our buildings in our minds, then come up with a mission plan. And we must do this together with the other four parishes, not separately, you in your small corner, and I in mine, but all of us together creating a mission plan for the whole of Mid Argyll. How easy is that going to be? 

Have you heard the term Blue Sky Thinking? It’s a lovely expression. Anything goes. Wonderful, amazing, outrageous, no budget constraints, considerate discussions, with God’s guidance, we will be able to do this. And once we have a mission plan, then we can see if our current buildings can play a part in that plan. And if not, then more blue sky thinking, what if we sell everything and build new purposebuilt whatevers? Some areas have achieved this. What if we already have a purposebuilt premisis? Great! we’re ahead of the game. What we shouldn’t do is build our mission plan around the only buildings we own.

Now I hear some of you thinking, mission plan, mission plan, mission is the minister’s job, surely. 

Let us look again at the passage in Ephesians. If you’ve got a bible beside you, have a look. Chapter 4 v 1 on page          .

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called ; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 

No arguing with the other parishes, no us and them, take unity seriously. Be humble and gentle!

Reading from verse 7

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:

“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”

Then at verse 11…

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

So Jesus has instigated the offices of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher and his Holy Spirit will have given the people the gifts necessary to carry out these offices. The next part of the sentence is crucial v 12 to equip his people for works of service. Are we his people? Do we feel equipped for works of service? Look at the end of verse 8. He gives gifts to his people. So he has given us gifts in order to carry out our calling, our works of service. The apostles prophets evangelist pastors and teachers are there to equip us to use our gifts, to carry out our works of service. 

Just an aside …. and not being personal… many of us have seen ministers come and go in this parish. Some have inspired us, some have made us think outside the box. Our expectations may or may not have been met, but did you feel as if you were being trained and equipped for works of service? Did you even think that you should be? 

Times are changing, minister numbers are declining, we can no longer afford to be the recipients only, of pastoral care and biblical teaching. It’s time for each one of us to stand up and be counted. To be prepared, to be discipled or apprenticed if you like, in order to take the Good News of Jesus into our communities. Many of us have already started on this exciting journey. Can we as the body of Christ in this place do our part for our neighbours?

There is hope for us all in this upheaval, quoting again from the passage in proverbs

He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you.

Such comforting words for the days and discussions ahead. Remember, our God holds us in the palm of his hand.

Amen.

The next step in the process is for all five congregations to meet together with David Mitchell so that he can explain the project we must undertake and answer any questions. There is a deadline. The Presbytery would like to be able to sign off on our plan in their September meeting. In order to achieve this we need everyone to be involved. We’ll let you know as soon as we receive it, the time and place of the meeting.












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