Thursday, 4 July 2013

Objections, your honour?

This post is a supplement to my main one considering the Church of Scotland’s recent decision regarding the ordination of people in same-sex relationships.  Obviously, mine is not the only view and many objections have been raised to it.  In the main post I dealt with what I saw as key attempts to raise biblical objections but as I said there, those were not the most numerous of the objections I have heard.  Personally, if the case is not founded on scripture then I hope it will not change anyone’s mind but given that people do have other objections I thought I would address those which I have heard.

Churches Built on Sand

 A Little Background

This is a weighty topic for my first blog in a long time but I thought it worth addressing.  This is written hopefully to both inform and challenge those who are considering where they stand in relation to the Church of Scotland after its recent decision at the General Assembly in May.  For anyone who comes to read this and is not from my corner of the world you may not be familiar with the situation facing the Church of Scotland.  Even for those who are from here, even for members of the Church of Scotland, the situation may still seem confusing and bizarre.  What exactly has happened?  Before I embark on an attempt to say something about this situation I will try to give, as briefly as possible, a summary of the crisis which has hit the denomination.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Abide With Me

The Prayer of the Broken Heart

Great hymns often make great prayers.  The richness of the lyrics and, especially with the old ones, the realism and dependence on God they exhibit cry out to be turned to prayer.  Surely none more so than ‘Abide With Me’ by Henry Francis Lyte.  Written as he lay near death at a young age it cries out to God to never, ever leave, even in the face of death and the loss of all life’s pleasures.  It is a beautiful prayer of someone who has lost all his illusions about the treasures of this world and broken-hearted, cries out for the constant presence of the God who never leaves.

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Father, abide with me.  Stay with me Lord as the evening grows ever closer.  Darkness deepens Lord, it threatens to overwhelm me.  Do not leave me now Father, not now when those I care more about have left me.  Do not leave me now when all the comforts and treasures of my life here on earth have vanished like the ebbing day.  Oh Father stay with me.  I am so helpless, so broken and weak Lord and yet You are the one who helps the helpless.  You are the one who gives grace to the humble.  I have been so greatly humbled Lord.  Give me grace I pray.  Abide with me.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Wonderful Hymns

Singing God's Praise

There is a lot of music produced by the church today.  Most of it is rubbish, some of it is good.  I will blog on that some other time.  Discussing it with a friend recently though they asked for a list of my favourite hymns so for now though I just want to briefly look at what I consider to be important in a good hymn before looking specifically at some of my personal favourites.

1.    It is more focused on God than it is on me.  There is a reason why it is called a him and not a me (sorry, that pun was awful). But seriously, any hymn that puts more stress on me than God is no good.  Now that doesn’t mention it can’t mention me, my struggles, my feelings.  But I really do think it should mention God’s help and goodness more.  Ideally when I’m singing about myself it should be in relation to what God has done for me.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Ae Fond Kiss?

‘Till Death Do Us Part

As part of celebrating Burns night we always stand around the piano for a while and sing some old Scottish songs, some by Burns, some not.  Lots of nationalistic songs proclaiming the many virtues of Scotland, and lots of love songs.  Most of which are incredibly sad ones, there’s something about this country that lends its poets to melancholy…  Still, I think one of the most poignant and beautiful of the many love poems Burns wrote is this one:

“Ae fond kiss, and then we sever
Ae farewell, and then forever
Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee.

Who shall say that Fortune grieves him,
While the star of hope she leaves him
Me nae cheerful twinkle lights me,
Dark despair around benights me.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

In the Hour of Trial: Or why I don’t believe that the saints persevere.

Two Men

14And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer… 21But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. 22For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” 23And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.
31“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” 34Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”…

Monday, 31 December 2012

The Unchanging God Who Changes Everything

New Year, Old God.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
James 1:17

God the Father doesn’t change; a new year doesn’t bring us a new God.  He is the same, he always will be.  And so is Jesus:

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
Hebrews 13:8

The seasons come and go: people are born, people grow old and people die.  We change our minds, change our outlooks, and change our ideas.  God never does. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Is that not an encouraging thought?