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The Lord be with you. And also, with you. I trust I continue to find everyone still in good health and heart.
Time, like an ever-rolling stream…so begins a verse of a hymn that we sing every year on Remembrance Sunday. And that passage of time moves swiftly, as we once again are approaching the end of another Christian Year, which concludes next Sunday in my absence.
I was speaking to a member of Presbytery last week, and to my surprise he said, “You always take the week after Remembrance Sunday as a holiday.” How he knew, I don’t know but it remains true. For many years it involved spending that week at the Crieff Hydro (where we will spend a few days, but not until early January in the company of our son, Adam and his family). This year we shall use the week to do our Christmas shopping for all the family.
When I return it will be the start of a new Christian Year, that begins on Advent Sunday. As is usual, we will have our Advent wreath in place, lighting a candle week by week, bringing out our Advent banners Sunday by Sunday to hang from the pillars, putting up our Christmas Tree, decorated with the Christmon symbols.
But as has been intimated in church over the last couple of weeks, this year there is an additional added significance to that date. For it marks the 40th anniversary of the union of Candlish memorial Church and John Ker Church that formed Polwarth Parish Church.
It might seem strange for us to mark this as a significant date, when just recently Greyfriars Kirk was celebrating its 400th anniversary, but added to the length of the union, the building which is now Polwarth Church is this year 120 years old.
So we will mark this period of time with thanksgiving, and celebration. First within the service, but the following weekend, 4 December, from 2.30pm until 4.30pm with a Celebration Afternoon Tea; a social event with stories and memories told, music played, and food and drink consumed.
We hope our present congregation will reach out to family, friends, neighbours, anyone who had a connection with either of the former churches, or a past connection with the present one, and encourage them to come along and share our joy.
Meanwhile, today we will hold our first Remembrance Sunday service in church for two years. Previously, we would have requested a bugler from the local barracks to join us, but this year we will be hearing a piper play around the solemn time of the national two-minute silence.
Wreathes will be laid at the three memorials as usual. But this year due to concerns for covid and standing in close proximity as a large group, the congregation will not be gathering in the vestibule to honour the war dead associated with John Ker Church. Rather, I intend to read the names from a photo of the memorial on the screen, before going out to the vestibule with the former members of John Ker Church to lay the wreath. The congregation will leave at this point to gather outside for the wreath to be laid at the memorial for the war dead associated with the Candlish Church.
Last Sunday, The Kirk Session constituted for the Public Profession of Faith and Conformation of Hamish Alexander, a student, who lives locally, and has been regularly attending our services, since he found us online during the first lockdown. Hamish participates in worship as a reader, and hosting the live-streaming of the service.
The Kirk Session thought it would be appropriate to ask Hamish, as our youngest and newest member, to lay the first of the wreathes at the lectern during the service.
Audrey Currie, a member of the former John Ker Church will lay the wreath at its memorial, and Prof Yvonne McEwan, who led the project Scotland’s War, and inspired us to create the Peace Garden, will lay the wreath at the Candlish memorial.
So, please give another warm welcome to Fiona Devoy when she returns next week, and I will see you all when I return for our special Advent anniversary service on Sunday, 28 November.
Until next week…The Lord bless you and keep you.
Daily Readings for the week beginning 15 November.
Mon: *; Psalm 119:53, 61, 134, 150, 158; Luke 18:35-43.
Tues: **; Psalm 3:2-7; Luke 19:1-10.
Wed: **; Psalm 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15; Luke 19:11-28.
Thurs: *; Psalm 50:1-2, 5-6, 14-15; Luke 19:41-44.
Fri: *; treat as a psalm 1 Chronicles 29:10-12; Luke 19:45-48.
Sat: *; Psalm 9:2-4, 6, 16, 19; Luke 20:27-40.
*The reading is taken from the Apocrypha: The First Book of Maccabees
** The reading is taken from the Apocrypha: The Second Book of Maccabees
Daily Readings for the week beginning 22 November.
Mon: Daniel 1:1-6, 8-20; *; Luke 21:1-4.
Tues: Daniel 2:31-45; *; Luke 21:5-11.
Wed: Daniel 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28; *; Luke 21:12-19.
Thurs: Daniel 6:12-28; *; Luke 21:20-28.
Fri: Daniel 7:2-14; *; Luke 21:29-33.
Sat: Daniel 7:15-27; *; Luke 21:34-36.
*The reading is taken from the Apocrypha: The Prayer of Azariah.