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Video Worship

Sunday Worship

The service is led by Rev. Peter Nimmo, Minister at Cambuslang Parish Church, with a bible reading from Scott Hamilton

Please join us for Worship.

The music this week is from the Piggery Brae. The Communications Team, AV Team, Music Group and Piggery Brae have all contributed greatly to the production of these videos. We hope you enjoy. Auto-generated Closed Captions are available.

Hello, I’m Peter Nimmo, the minster of the Parish of Cambuslang. Welcome to this Sunday’s church service. It’s great to have you join us, whether you’re watching on the internet, or if you’re listening on CamGlen Radio.

Today’s service was recorded in Cambuslang Parish Church. We do hope that the building will be open for public worship soon, but meantime we continue to worship in our homes.

Today’s Gospel reading includes an image of children dancing and having fun. On Sunday mornings, before our worship time, I have been joining the children of our Sunday club on a Zoom video meeting. It’s lovely to do so, because children bring so much joy and spontaneity to the life of the Church, as they do to life in general. So, with the unconstrained joy of the children of God, let us worship God.

All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
and all your faithful shall bless you.

Psalm 145.10

Let us pray.

God of the morning,
you come to greet us with the rising of the sun,
offering your reluctant and sleep-eyed disciples
a light to guide us,

and your Spirit’s warmth to strengthen us,
and your Son’s presence
to call us forward to greet the day.

Help us to be stirred into a new awakening.
Help us to turn to your light,
to respond to your presence
and to walk with your Son,
that this new day which is already yours
will find your disciples
waking to the challenge and joy,
and working as your partners,
in love, in service and in mission.

God of the noontide,
we know we will become weary on the journey,
because we are human:
uneasy with our lot,
disgruntled with our responsibilities,
weighed down by the burdens we carry
and uncertain in our travelling.

Forgive us when we do not trust you
in the heat of the day.
Forgive when we complain about our calling.
Forgive us when we try to go on
in our own strength.
Forgive us for the uncertainty of our faith
and the inadequacy of our service.
Assure us again of your promise,
remind us of it again and again:
“Come to me, all who labour and are heavy-laden,
and I will give you rest,”
until we find rest and renewal
in your forgiving love.

God of the evening,
let us rest in you,
and, when we lay it all down,
may we hear your voice whisper in our ear,
“Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Amen.

Our Bible reading is from the Gospel of Matthew, and is read for us by Scott Hamilton.

16 “Now, to what can I compare the people of this day? They are like children sitting in the marketplace. One group shouts to the other, 17 ‘We played wedding music for you, but you wouldn’t dance! We sang funeral songs, but you wouldn’t cry!’ 18 When John came, he fasted and drank no wine, and everyone said, ‘He has a demon in him!’ 19 When the Son of Man came, he ate and drank, and everyone said, ‘Look at this man! He is a glutton and wine drinker, a friend of tax collectors and other outcasts!’ God’s wisdom, however, is shown to be true by its results.”

Matthew 11:16-19

25 At that time Jesus said, “Father, Lord of heaven and earth! I thank you because you have shown to the unlearned what you have hidden from the wise and learned. 26 Yes, Father, this was how you were pleased to have it happen.

27 “My Father has given me all things. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

28 “Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. 30 For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.”

Matthew 11:25-30

Sermon

‘There’s no pleasing some people’, as they say. And that’s what Jesus is saying, perhaps with a touch of exasperation in his voice, about the people of his own day.

He gives us a lovely picture of children at play. Imagine the village children playing at being adults, acting out the sort of scenes they would have seen every day. The Good News version tells us that they played wedding music, but a more literal translation tells us that one of them had a toy flute. The children play happy music, but some of their friends don’t want to join in this game- they refuse to dance.

So they try something else- mournful music (this time, probably without any instrument). They make a wailing noise, which was such a feature of the funerals back then- families would pay professional mourners to wail at  funerals, which was how people back then got a good send-off. But the other children don’t want to play that game either.

And so, says Jesus, you folk are simply unwilling to join in with God’s games. God sent you John the Baptist- stern, ascetic, dressed in animal skins, living in the desert, preaching judgement. But very few of you wanted to know. You called him demon possessed.

How often do people look at the demand God makes on our lives and say: ‘That’s much too harsh, much too gloomy’. For the way of Christ is a hard way. In a godless world, faith seems too heavy a burden. It’s too hard, they say, and they turn away.

So, Jesus says: I’ve come to lead you in another dance. I didn’t preach in the desert, but came to your towns. I wasn’t a Puritan, or a hermit. I sat at your meal tables, I enjoyed your food and drink, I talked about God with you in your houses, not our in the desert. But you wouldn’t join that dance, either.

Instead, you said of me, you said, ‘Look at this man! He is a glutton and wine drinker, a friend of tax collectors and other outcasts!’ Apparently, I’m not religious enough for you. So you could not dance, and would not follow me. But you’d said John was too religious for you, and couldn’t dance to his Puritan tune. Is there any tune you will dance to?

And still, today, there are people who say: those Christians are too strict. Sometimes that’s because they were brought up on a too strict version of Christianity. But many people just love to reject a picture of Christianity which they construct: a Christianity which is miles from the reality of Christianity with which most of us are familiar. They claim Christians are anti-science, or cause division, that we are joyless- and, of course, some Christians are like that. And it’s easy for them to say- we aren’t joining in with your wailing.

Yet sometimes the same people will reject Christianity which they encounter Christians who don’t fit their stereotype. When I was a wee boy, I once heard about a new local minister whom many people thought couldn’t be serious, because he had been seen in the street wearing trainers! Ludicrous, I know- but that, for some people, was an excuse not to take this particular person- and his message seriously.

Any excuse not to join the dance!

Because sometimes, our prejudices blind us to reality. I’m sure you were shocked to hear of the stabbing incident in the centre of Glasgow last week, in which one person was killed, and a number of people injured, including a police officer who, heroically doing their duty, was seriously wounded. I heard of one person who said they were angry when they heard about the incident. It wasn’t that they were angry that people had been injured and traumatised in a terrible crime. No, this person was angry to discover that the hotel where the incident happened was being used to house asylum seekers during the coronavirus pandemic. He was angry about the asylum seekers- that they are here at all. This person didn’t see asylum seekers as people who had come here to get away from war or persecution. He just thought they shouldn’t have been allowed into the country. And so, his emotional response to the news lacked any sense of compassion, or any sense of grief over what had happened. His humanity was swamped by his prejudice against ‘foreigners’.

How hard it is for us if our prejudices prevent us understanding the truth. The contemporaries of Jesus were refusing to see what God was doing- in different ways- in the ministries of John and Jesus. Their prejudices would not allow them to dance to God’s music.

And yet, says Jesus, ‘God’s wisdom, however, is shown to be true by its results’. A wee bit earlier in Matthew’s Gospel, we are told a bit about the results of God’s action in the life of Jesus. John the Baptist is in prison at this point, and he has sent some of his disciples to find out what Jesus is up to, whether Jesus is, indeed, the one he had said was about to come.

So Jesus points to results:

“Go back and tell John what you are hearing and seeing: the blind can see, the lame can walk, those who suffer from dreaded skin diseases are made clean,  the deaf hear, the dead are brought back to life, and the Good News is preached to the poor. How happy are those who have no doubts about me!”

Luke 7:22

When people open their eyes to God at work, then great things happen. If we get past our prejudices, and join the dance, the world can be a better place.

And so, Jesus thanks God that he has ‘shown to the unlearned what you have hidden from the wise and learned’; in fact, again to be more literal, he says that God has hidden the fruits of the Kingdom from the ‘intelligent’ and revealed them to ‘infants’. For sometimes our adult intelligence can harden into prejudices which prevent us hearing and seeing what God is up to. We need to be more like children, as Jesus says elsewhere- giving up our adult pretentiousness if we are to see what God is calling us to.

And at the very end of our Gospel reading, there’s a lovely thought about how we can be truly close to Christ. Jesus invites us to give up our burdens- burdens which often, perhaps, prevent us from joining the dance to which Jesus invites us. He invites, instead, to put on his yoke.

A yoke is an implement which would have been very familiar in the rural communities where Jesus spent most of his time. It is that wooden contraption which goes across the shoulders of animals, perhaps as they pull a cart or a plough. To us, a yoke looks heavy, unwieldly, uncomfortable- but, in fact, a yoke makes a burden easier to bear. A yoke makes it possible for an animal to bear something they couldn’t have done otherwise.

If we stay close to Christ, and learn his wisdom, he will be like a yoke that makes our burdens easier to bear. He makes it easier to join the dance, to join in what God is doing, to know that childlike joy which comes from knowing that you do not have to bear it all yourself. His yoke is easy, and his burden light.


In our prayers now, you might like to join in with me.
When I say the words, ‘As you have called us’
you can reply ‘Lord, we come to you’.

That’s:

As you have called us
Lord, we come to you.

Let us pray.

God of love,
in Jesus Christ, friend of outcasts and sinners
your wisdom is present in our world.
We thank you that we turn to him
to help him share our burdens.
We thank you, too,
for people around us who share our burdens.
We think, in these days,
of all the great people
who have been shopping and helping their neighbours
showing care in practical ways.
We thank you, at this time,
for families starting to be reunited
for shops starting to open up
and communities starting to come to life again.
We know, however, that all this easing of lockdown
will bring anxiety to many people.
So keep us all safe in your love.
Grant wisdom to those who must continue to make
difficult decisions as we go forward.

As you have called us
Lord, we come to you.

Father, we pray that your Church may always be open to receive your love;
keep us swept clear of pomposity, complacency or self-righteousness;
let us come humbly and simply into your presence and wait on you,
knowing our dependence on you,
and rejoicing in it.

Grant your wisdom to church leaders,
including our own Kirk Session,
as they face decisions about how to safely
start to use our buildings for worship once again
and as they face the challenges
of continuing to resource online worship
and to grapple with the financial and pastoral issues we face.

As you have called us
Lord, we come to you.

Father, we pray for leaders and their governments:
in Scotland, in the United Kingdom, and across the world.
May there be co-operation and mutual respect
in this time of world crisis.
We pray for greater consideration of the needs of one another
and a continuing emphasis on caring for planet.
We thank you for all who have a passion for justice
for the injustices around us
and to face up to the injustices of the past.
Make us mindful of the ways
in which difference of race, class and nationality
can be used to oppress and divide
and help us always to strive to overcome these divisions.

As you have called us
Lord, we come to you.

Father, we pray for a growing maturity
in our thinking and our loving
that enables us to be childlike;
we pray for healing from all the damage
that prevents us from growning up;
we pray that our children in this church may be helped to grow strong,
and we thank you for all we learn from them.
May we all, young and old,
learn to share our burdens with Christ.

As you have called us
Lord, we come to you.

Father, we pray for all who cry out for rest and relief,
all who are carrying terrible burdens that weigh them down,
all whose poverty denies them the chance of healing,
all whose wealth denies them the chance of knowing their need of you.

As you have called us
Lord, we come to you.

For all those who have recently lost loved ones
and those who grieve, still, a long time afterwards,
we bring our prayers today.
We take a moment to remember
the names of those who have died most recently;
and anyone else who we know particularly needs our prayers today.

In your mercy, surround them with your comfort.

As you have called us
Lord, we come to you.

Father, we thank you for your gentleness and humility,
which puts our pride and vanity to shame.
Teach us to trust more and more in your truth,
discarding what the world considers essential
and rejoicing in your freedom.
Merciful Father,
accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ,

in whose words we pray together, saying:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and forever.
Amen.

Thank you for joining us for worship today. Thanks to Scott Hamilton for the Bible reading, to the Cambuslang Worship Band for the music, and Fraser Hamilton and those who did the technical stuff.

Of course, the pastoral work of the church continues. So if you have a request for prayer, want to let me know about any pastoral matter, or if you would like just to chat, do get in touch- I’m happy to talk to you any time.

God of the burden
take our heavy loads.
Jesus, teacher of sinners,
take our heavy loads.
Enlivening Spirit
take our heavy loads.

The blessing of God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
be with you all. Amen.

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