Reflection and Sunday Service 6 Dec


                        6 Dec 2015

                       a wee reflection on the week ......

                    see BBC website


The closure of the Forth Road Bridge has already had a drastic effect on

commuters from Fife resulting in 11 mile long tail backs at the Kincardine

Bridge.  The option of the old ferry from North to South is no longer available

so people are left with little option but go the long way round.  Unless of course

you can ‘work from home’, take an annual leave day, or even a sickie, although

you won’t get away with that until the New Year when they hope to have the

bridge open again.


We have come to rely on straight routes so much that to meander the long way

round seems unacceptable. Although, of course, if you are heading for work, an

important meeting or visiting a sick family member then it is more than frustrating

but could be costly.  But then all travel has a purpose and that purpose is as

important for each person who sets off on the journey.


I do enjoy when on holiday, or a day off, heading around the country roads – as we

did the other day around East Lothian – where you can avoid the queues, see

unfamiliar things, slow down and appreciate sites you often miss in the rush of

getting from A to B and back again. And you might come across a pleasant

unexpected hostelry for supper.  But that is a luxury we cannot afford in the daily

grind.  Or is it in fact an essential that we need to make time for? 


It can also be an excuse to avoid the direct route, for sometimes the straight route

is the difficult one.  It is a message for Advent when John the Baptiser speaks of

preparing, getting ready, of creating a straight path.  There are times we need to

get to the destination quickly, such as driving a mother in labour to Simpson’s

maternity unit and perhaps this need for new birth and renewal is more urgent than

we want to admit sometimes.  I want to make a straight path and get to the point

of Christmas, but I can’t help but meander a little first.  A bit like my sermons

I suppose!



                    this sunday’s service 

                          ( East Craigs only)


Advent is a period of excitement and preparation which, of course, comes

with its own anxiety and stress.  And still in the midst of this comes a man who

seems to lack the Christmas Spirit.  John the Baptist speaks about difficult

things – about cleansing our hearts, separating wheat from chaff, and the bad

fire!  He is reminding us of the seriousness of The Incarnation and of the need

to be fully prepared for what that truly means.  It means that following this Way

of The Lord is a difficult and arduous journey at times requiring an awareness

and preparedness which requires a little effort.  We also hear the Prophet

Malachi – the last of the prophets – speaking difficult words about the Messenger

who is coming to prepare us.  In the week a vote was taken in Parliament to

participate in air strikes in Syria, we are reminded how the pathway of peace

and justice is not an easy one to travel.  The Gospel reminds us that Advent is

also a call to repentance. John was sent by God in order to warn us to prepare

for God. It is about repenting, but also about receiving forgiveness and preparing

your heart in order that love might be born anew within.


Malachi 3:1-4   The Prophet speaks of a messenger coming


The Lord Almighty answers, “I will send my messenger to prepare the way for me.

Then the Lord you are looking for will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger

you long to see will come and proclaim my covenant.”


2 But who will be able to endure the day when he comes? Who will be able to

survive when he appears? He will be like strong soap, like a fire that refines metal.

3 He will come to judge like one who refines and purifies silver. As a metalworker

refines silver and gold, so the Lord's messenger will purify the priests, so that they

will bring to the Lord the right kind of offerings. 4 Then the offerings which the

people of Judah and Jerusalem bring to the Lord will be pleasing to him, as they

used to be in the past.



Luke 3:1-6        The Preaching of John the Baptist

It was the fifteenth year of the rule of Emperor Tiberius; Pontius Pilate was

governor of Judea, Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip was ruler

of the territory of Iturea and Trachonitis; Lysanias was ruler of Abilene, 2 and

Annas and Caiaphas were High Priests. At that time the word of God came to

John son of Zechariah in the desert. 3 So John went throughout the whole territory

of the Jordan River, preaching, “Turn away from your sins and be baptized, and

God will forgive your sins.” 4 As it is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah:


“Someone is shouting in the desert:

    ‘Get the road ready for the Lord;

    make a straight path for him to travel!

5 Every valley must be filled up,

    every hill and mountain levelled off.

The winding roads must be made straight,

    and the rough paths made smooth.

6 The whole human race will see God's salvation!’”







                                                 God, our hope and our desire,

                                                     we wait for your coming

                                                  as a woman longs for the birth,

                                                      the exile for her home,

                                                  the lover for his beloved’s touch,

                                                    and the humble poor for justice.