Showing posts from November, 2018

St Andrew's Day 2018

How did a 1st century Jewish man from Bethsaida in Galilee, whose parents gave him a Greek name, get to be the Patron Saint of Scotland?

And why, in Scotland, is today 30 November a public holiday, supposedly in honour of St Andrew the Apostle?

There are many stories and legends that answer those questions. One good place to start to look for an answer is Michael Turnbull's article 'A History of St Andrew'.

This is probably a good day to eat fish, as Andrew was a fisherman, as was his more famous brother Simon Peter.

St Andrew is a key figure in the gospel accounts. Andrew is not presented as obviously important among Jesus' disciples - not as one of the inner 3 like Peter, James and John.

I say St Andrew is a key figure because he had a gift for bringing people together and for bringing people to Jesus.

The gospels record that Andrew

told his brother Peter about Jesus (John 1: 35 - 42)brought a boy with a few loaves and fishes to Jesus(John 6: 1 - 15)
told Jesus about foreign…

Lament and Longing

11 November 2018 marks 100 years since the guns fell silent at the end of World War 1. Like many others I took part in a Remembrance Service and Commemoration this morning, as I have done every year since childhood. And every year it gets harder. We, the human race, are wounded by war even when it does not destroy us. We create those wounds because, in our sinfulness, we have not learned how to live in peace with each other. And it continues to be the case that war is for some a very profitable business. Sometimes it seems all we can do is to lament.

The sonnet 'The Wound in Time' by the British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy was written for Remembrance Day 2018, to be read aloud on beaches around the UK and the Republic of Ireland, in recognition that most of those who served in our armed forces in WW1 and WW2 left by sea and many never returned. Those attending the beach events were asked to draw silhouettes of people in the sand at low tide, knowing those would be washed away…

All Souls Day

Should Christians pray for the dead?

Or simply remember them with thanksgiving?

In the Church of England the 16th century, reformers made no provision for the observance of All Souls Day (2 November) in the Book of Common Prayer. That was because of its association with abuses of that time, relating to praying for the dead and paying for masses to be said to ease the departed through purgatory, or paying for divine pardons.

Number 22 of the 39 Articles (1562)is strongly worded:

"The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Reliques, and also invocation of Saints, is a fond thing vainly invented, and ground upon no warranty of scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God."

Having been brought up in a Reformed Protestant tradition, I was taught that praying for the dead was wrong, but always right to pray for the living. I was critical of Catholic friends who prayed for someone after they had died. In my mid-twenties, m…