“God is light; In him there is no darkness...”
[1 John 1:5]
Dull and Weem Parish, Church of Scotland
Sunday Service 9 30 am.
Minister : Rev. Neil M Glover
Senior Elder : Mr C. Thom
Roll Keeper : Mr T. Pringle
Session Clerk : Mr P. Hobbs
Treasurer : Mr R. Chadburn
PA to Rev Neil Glover : Judy Ewer
Mobile 07836 565528 e mail
Link to Sermon
Worship for Ascension
24th May 2020
A warm to worship for Ascension Sunday.
Let us begin our worship with a short prayer:
Oh God, of all time and all purpose
On this day when we remember your departure into heaven
May you still give to us a sign of your presence
And your Spirit within us to change us.
Your is all wisdom
And all power
And all love
And we worship you
Let us sing our first hymn, Christ Triumphant, ever reigning.
1 Christ triumphant, ever reigning,
Saviour, Master, King!
Lord of heaven, our lives sustaining,
hear us as we sing:
Yours the glory and the crown,
the high renown, the eternal name.
2 Word incarnate, truth revealing,
Son of Man on earth!
power and majesty concealing
by your humble birth:
Yours the glory...
3 Suffering servant, scorned, ill - treated,
death is through the cross defeated,
Yours the glory….
4 Priestly king, enthroned for ever
high in heaven above!
sin and death and hell shall never
stifle hymns of love:
Yours the glory...
5 So, our hearts and voices raising
through the ages long,
ceaselessly upon you gazing,
this shall be our song:
Yours the glory...
Michael Saward (born 1932)
© Michael Saward/Jubilate Hymns
Let us pray…
You are still present with us now
You are still healer, and speaker,
The midwife of the new
The challenger of the proud
The herald of a new way
The prophet of repentance
In the silence
That we would be not deaf to you.
You are ascended to the right side of the Father
Under your feet is all that is of the earth
The affairs of state
The dance of culture
The bonds of community
So we worship you
Power above all powers
Name above all names
Hope beyond all hoping
In the silence
That we would be not unchanged by you
Who blessed the poor in Spirit
Who held the child
Who spotted the mustard seed's potential
Be close to every beat of our hearts this morning
Every desire that comes from the best intentions of our soul
In the silence
Let us speak
That nothing in us would be held back from you
This we ask in your name
Our scripture readings come from the Gospel of John and the Book of Acts.
John 14:25-29 New International Version (NIV)
25 "All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
28 "You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.
Acts 1:4-11 New International Version (NIV)
4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit."
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
7 He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
On 21st May 1501, the Portuguese Navigator Joao Da Nova, was sailing in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean - 1000 miles from the coast of Africa, 1400 miles from the Coast of Brazil, when he looked through his telescope, and spotted a dry, barren rock, a rock which was not on his charts, because no human eyes had seen it before.
Realising the uniqueness of the discovery, Jaoa Da Nova,
Gave the barren outcrop a name, Ilha Da Ascension, Ascension Island.
One of the things that impresses me about that story was that Jaoia Da Nova knew when Ascension Day was.
But I suppose these were devout sailors, and they would have known their Christian calendar.
But I suppose it impresses me that it shows a measure of excitement about Ascension, that I don't fully relate to.
"Look at there, it's a whole new island, it's not on any maps, we can call it anything we want, but there's only really one choice, I know lets call it Ilha Da Ascension"
On the 25th December 1643, when the crew of the East India company vessel, the Royal Mary spotted what they thought was a new island, of course they are going to call it Christmas Island.
When the Dutch navigator, Jacob Roggeveen - looked out his telescope on Easter Day, 5th April 1722 and saw an outcrop no European had ever seen before, of course he's going to call it and called it Easter Island,
But I am not getting as excited about Ascension Island as Jaoia Da Nova and his Portuguese sailors.
And in case you think me solely irreligious, how many of us woke up at 4am this morning unable to sleep because this is Ascension Sunday.
The problem with Ascension is that it is the opposite of Christmas Day
It is the anti-Christmas
On Christmas Day the skies were thronged,
God is with us
The angels singing, "Glory to God in the Highest"
On Ascension Sunday
God doesn't come to us
God apparently disappears
And angels, instead of singing, Glory to God in the Highest
Speak to the disciples with a rebuke that seems to translate as something like
"What are you looking up here for."
On Christmas we are given the gift
On Ascension it seems to be taken back again.
On Christmas we were given a Baby
On Ascension we are left with clouds and air.
The possibility that around us and with us
There is no God
And if there is a God, then it is not going to be our eyes which enable us to perceive.
Ascension Sunday feels like the birthday of legitimate doubt
The possibility that this is just air
That the reason we can't see God is because there is no God
The nagging fear that everyone who walked through this door over the last 215 years wasn't so much worshipping God, as attending to some form of collective religious self-deception.
Up to Ascension Sunday we were looking at a miracle worker, a death defier, in front of your eyes proof that there is a God.
After Ascension there is the nagging doubt that this is a fantasy, a pipe dream.
After Ascension Sunday the whole nature of faith changes.
In short, after Ascension Sunday
Faith suddenly seemed to get a lot harder.
Which is why I can't get as excited about it
As Jaoa Da Nova and his Portuguese sailors.
On the face of it,
The Biblical writers seem as cheerful about Ascension as the Portugese sailors.,
There are two accounts in the Bible of Ascension
And slightly disconcertingly, none of them seems to share my own reservations about Ascension Sunday:
On Ascension Sunday, in Acts there is no recorded weeping on behalf of the Disciples, it seems to give them renewed energy.
Ascension in Matthew's gospel is the climax of the whole gospel, giving rise to the verse called the Great Commission - Go to all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
However there is another part of the New Testament
Where though the Ascension is not described
There is lots of discussion about what the Ascension is going to feel like
And here all the anxiety, disappointment, reluctance that I can identify,
The place where this happens is John's gospel, and in particular, chapters 14, 15, 16 and 17 of John's gospel.
At the Mortsafe
There is one part of Logierait Church which enjoys a measure of fame on the online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia.
If you type the word Mortsafe into Wikipedia,
Then at the top of the page, you will see a photograph of these, these mortgages.
Mortsafes were invented in the early 1800s, to prevent dead bodies being snatched by Bodysnatchers, sometimes called the resurrectionists.
The early 1800s saw a rise in the number of people training to be doctors
And they needed bodies.
I find it remarkable that with nearest medical school at that time being St Andrews, over 50 miles away, that bodies in Logierait must have been in danger, but they clearly were.
And in order to keep a hold of bodies, to preserve them so that they wouldn't miss out on the resurrection - because dissected bodies wouldn't make it to paradise - those who could afford it, like the Stewarts of Ballechin farm whose plot this is - would buy these mortsafes.
Chapters 14, 15, 16, 17 and John betray a similar desire to keep hold of the body,
An anxiety that Jesus is going to be whisked off, never to be seen again.
And Jesus picks up on this, and names the anxiety
"Let not your restless hearts be troubled"
Trust in God
Trust also in me.
This is a big thing for John
When faith is inspired by what your eyes can see only
It is less of a thing
Than when it comes from within
Animated by the Spirit, the Advocate, the wind of God within us.
Held by a peace, which is different from any peace that derives from the things of this world.
Ascension is the invitation the summons
To sense God within as well as God without
The promptings and loves and stirrings of desire which comes from God.
Most people I have spoken to have a mixed experience of lock down
There is an end to rush, there is a different rhythm, for introverts there has been the chance to be more enclosed;
But people have also spoken of a malaise, a draining fatigue, a weariness.
And the need to find new sources of being.
Ascension is an invitation, in the experience of loss,
Forces us to seek the presence of God within and around.
In fact Jesus almost seems to say "I need to go, as long as I am here, you will rely on simply seeing me, but you need to find me within, and I need to go." Almost, and I choose my words carefully, Jesus is almost saying that there is something disabling about this being with the disciples, and his ascension will enable something that is not possible whilst he is with them.
To pay attention to the inner life, to the claim that truly God lives here, within.
That is why in these chapters Jesus says that if I do not go away, then the Advocate, the Spirit, these rich Greek word, the Paraclete, will not come to you
But if I go with you, this being with you;
Why Jesus Talks about the abiding in him, and him abiding in us
The possibility of new way
I am in my Father, and you in me and I in you (14:20)
One of the reasons we pray is to become more alive to this truth
That Jesus is in me, and I in Jesus.
This sense of God within, the Spirit within is the bedrock of the spiritual life.
There is for example the Jesus Prayer;
There is a famous story, told in Tony Jones book the Sacred Way, of a young Russian pilgrim, who is was determined to find out if it was possible to obey an injunction in the Epistles, to "pray without ceasing."
This quest was set in motion by difficult circumstances in the young man's life - his wife had died and an in injury to his hand meant that was difficult for him to find work.
Whilst wondering through the Russian countryside, the young traveller was met by a monk, and acknowledging the monk's wisdom and experience, he posed this question,
"is it possible to pray without ceasing"
The monk answered simply "yes".
The pilgrim's next question was if the monk could teach him,
And again he answered "yes"
As the story goes, the monk gave him a book by the a 3rd century group of Egyptian Christians called the Desert Fathers, this book included a prayer called the "Jesus Prayer"
This exists in a number of different forms, but one version is this
"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me, A Sinner"
The monk then told the pilgrim to go home and pray this prayer 3,000 times a day.
When the pilgrim accomplished this, he returned to the monk who then asked him to go home and pray the prayer 6,000 times a day.
When he accomplished this, he returned to the monk who asked him to pray the prayer 12,000 times a day.
In Jones' words, the prayer became the air that the pilgrim breathed
It woke him up in the morning, it overwhelmed him during the day and he dreamed about it night
Every recitation was pure joy, filling him with spiritual and emotional light
He began to feel love for everyone he met, considering each his brother and his sister
Eventually the monk died, and the pilgrim began to wonder the countryside, but the prayer never left him, it became one with him.
To say a prayer like
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me a sinner
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me a sinner
Is to be alive to the truth that Jesus Christ is not held only within a body
But that he is in me
And I am in him.
The second is that Ascension summons is not just to sense Jesus within
But to be Jesus.
In fact, and once again, I am using Jesus' words here,
Jesus says that him going to the father allows us to outdo Jesus
John 14:12 says this
"I tell you the one who believe in me will also do the works that I do
And will do greater works than these
Because I am going to the Father."
The ascension is the sign that somewhere in this world, we are being called to be Jesus.
There are no exceptions
Every single one of us is summoned somewhere to be Jesus.
When Jesus is around, you let him do the healing
When he is with the Father, we are the agents of healing, greater healing
So where are you called to heal.
When Jesus is around, you let him do the listening
When he is with the Father, we are the ones who listen, greater listening
So where are you called to listen.
When Jesus around, you let him speak the truth
When he is with the Father, we are called to speak the truth, bolder speaking
So where are you called to speak the truth
When Jesus is around, you let him do the loving.
When he is with the Father, we are called to love, greater loving
So where are you called to love.
So Ascension summons us to be attentive to Jesus within
Ascension summons to be Jesus
And finally Ascension summons us to joy.
In the corner of the Church yard here is a memorial to Alexander Mackenzie,
Who was born the son of a mason a few yards away from here, in 1822
He would go on to become the second Prime Minister of Canada.
For years here his career was celebrated, and there was no sense of resentment that Alexander Mackenzie had not stayed, his sadness of his leaving was outdone by the joy that was occasioned by what he became through his departure.
I remember when I spent my year in India, it was one of the best things I have ever done, but there was also a constant and profound sense of estrangement, every day I longed for the day when I would be able to come back to Scotland, in the first month it seemed like this year would never end,
I would count down until I could come home,
6 months to go, 3 months to go,
1 month to go
1 week to go
1 day to go
And I remember the day I left, a group of friends from India came with me,
And I loved these guys, not least Jacob my great friend and mentor whose birthday was this week,
The night before I left, Jacob came to my room and wept because I was going, and I felt profoundly unworthy of this affection because I was also yearning to go home.
That day at the airport, a minibus had been requisitioned and a group of us all went to the airport together in Trivandrum South India,
I remember we got there early and everybody was saying good bye, but I was torn by this double emotion of affection for those I was with, but also really really looking forward going home,
I remember I said good bye to them all, with tears
I remember when I passed through the security barrier, the security agent said - and this would never be allowed now - listen your flight isn't due for a while, you can go and be back with your friends, and I just didn't want to be, because I had said my good byes and I was ready to go home.
And I also remember the feeling I had another airport, 24 hours later, as I saw my own Dad for the first time in a year.
In John, 14:28, Jesus says
If you loved me
You would rejoice that I am going to the Father.
One of the ways of thinking of the gospel of John,
Indeed the whole of the gospel,
Is as the revelation of a love story,
That of a love within God that is undyingly passionate, affectionate and intense
Pictured in the language of the love of a Father for a Son
It's almost as if Jesus arrives to unveil to us a love that exists in the very fabric of all being
In the beginning is the Word, and the word was with God
And invites us into that intensity of love
As the Father loves me, so I have loved you he says.
It's as Jesus vaults over of questions over whether God exists
Or what is God like
Jesus vaults over our cliches and tired language about God,
To say if you really understand the intensity of love between me and the Father
You would also sense the joy of my coming home.
Ascension then is a summons to bear witness to a love
Of the son who is returning home
To be glad of the joy that is within God
Of the Son come home
Let us sing together the words of Psalm 121, I to the hills:
1 I to the hills will lift mine eyes.
From whence doth come mine aid?
My safety cometh from the Lord,
who heaven and earth hath made.
2 Thy foot he'll not let slide, nor will
he slumber that thee keeps.
Behold, he that keeps Israel,
he slumbers not, nor sleeps.
3 The Lord thee keeps, the Lord thy shade
on thy right hand doth stay:
the moon by night thee shall not smite,
nor yet the sun by day.
4 The Lord shall keep thy soul: he shall
preserve thee from all ill.
Henceforth thy going out and in
God keep for ever will.
Our prayers for others come to us from Margaret Ross
Prayers of Intercession: 24th May 2020
In Mark 11 vs 24,25 we read"I tell you, then, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours and when you stand praying, if you have a grievance against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you the wrongs you have done" Let us pray.
Heavenly Father we worship you, praise you and give thanks for the blessings you bestow on us, we thank you for your continued love and guidance in our lives, the strength we receive through you to face whatever path we take in life. Help us Father to embrace the changes and through your guidance we may reach not only those who seek you but to those whose faith has dimmed. Forgive us heavenly Father when we put ourselves before you, help us to be more tolerant and to take time to support each other and let your love wash over us as we work together to follow your teachings and to show by our behaviour the faith we share.
We pray for those who carry heavy burdens of responsibility, particularly during this Pandemic. Father help them realise the magnitude of the responsibilities they carry and that through the decisions made they act wisely, selflessly and for the good of mankind and not for personal gain or glory. We pray Father for wisdom and guidance for those seeking a cure for the corona Virus.
We pray Father today for your healing grace and mercy for those who are unwell, both mentally and physically. Father be with them and give them the strength to bear the burden they carry. We also bring to you those who are alone, especially the elderly, families self isolating in cramped flats with young children and often in violent relationships. Father we ask that you may bring comfort to all and especially to those who have recently lost loved ones.
Father we give thanks for the selfless acts of kindness and generosity of spirit that abounds in our valleys, through those that help their neighbours, deliver food, look out for one another. We ask your blessing on all those who selflessly give up their time to help others and those who through their vocation are putting themselves in danger so that we may be safe. Father bless and keep them from harm.
We are so blessed Father to be in this beautiful part of Perthshire. We too often take for granted our homes, families, friends, comfortable lifestyle. We pray for the homeless on our streets, refugees in diseased ridden camps, those in poorer countries who struggle to feed themselves – all made worse by the pandemic. Father we pray that a way can be found to bring an end to their suffering and we ask your blessings on those who bring comfort to those less fortunate than us.
Father hear our prayers. Let us say together the Lord's prayer.
The Lord's Prayer
Out Father who art in Heaven
Hallowed be Thy name
Thy Kingdom come
Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven
Give us each day our daily bread
Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever.
We close our worship, with the hymn "Go to the world", sung to the tune "For all the saints"
Go to the world! Go into all the earth;
Go preach the cross where Christ renews life's worth,
Baptizing as the sign of our rebirth. Alleluia.
Go to the world! Go into every place;
Go live the word of God's redeeming grace;
Go seek God's presence in each time and space. Alleluia.
Go to the world! Go struggle, bless, and pray;
The nights of tears give way to joyful day.
As servant Church, you follow Christ's own way. Alleluia.
Go to the World! Go as the ones I send,
For I am with you till the age shall end,
When all the host of glory cry, "Amen." Alleluia
And now we close with the words of the Grace
May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
The Love of God
And the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit
Be with you all,
Now and forevermore,
Linkage newsletter 21.05.20
Thanks to Robert and Lorna Nicol for Last Sundays Service –most of you are blissfully unaware of the challenges these services create! Well done to the Nicol / Pringle Production Team
Neil Glover is preaching from Logierait on Sunday 24 May. Jamie and Neil have been hard at work again – playing with new electronic toys! We can expect another cracking service.
It is hoped that the sound quality will be improved thanks to the joint purchase of a new directional microphone.
YouTube link to both the Traditional and the Contemporary Service (The link will remain the same for all our Sunday Services and Tributes)
The link is - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpA-Ianua69JOCtTV2zBDxw
Dial in - 01887 440446
The link will be available to view on Sunday.
Logierait Traditional Service
Neil will contact William Jackson, who will use his circulation list, with an email update on this service
The contemporary service is being broadcast using 'Zoom' at 10.30am. Please download the app. if you wish to be involved in this more interactive form of worship.
Zoom Web Address: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9205989200
or Meeting ID: 920 598 920
or One Touch Dial from mobile: +441314601196,,9205989200#
Or Dial from Landline or Mobile: 0131 460 1196 and then enter meeting room code 920 598 9200
The Senior Coordinator role, previously taken by Angela Hanvey has now been distributed amongst a group of volunteers including Pam Thomson, Anna Sibbald, Andrew Todd, Pauline Steele-Wilson and Lorna Nicol. Angela retains responsibility for volunteer sign-up and 'client liaison and registration.
The churches are very appreciative of this significant, regular and on-going commitment from so many people and are particularly grateful to Angela as she now steps back from some of her responsibilities as she returns to her Christians Against Poverty work.
Approval has been given for the Larder to change location from the Breathe premises to the Aberfeldy Church building as the loading and unloading of goods was becoming increasingly problematic next to the traffic lights.
A new freezer, purchased from donations, is expected to be delivered at the end of this week.
'CLIMATE EMERGENCY'.....Do you remember that big issue facing us before Covid-19 hit? It hasn't gone away, and in fact this current pandemic has highlighted many environmental issues. Have a look at the following links which include practical actions which each of us can consider personally, and as a Christian community we need to take action.
If you have any news from the linkage that you would like to have shared amongst the congregations in the strath please don't hesitate to let Judy Ewer know.
Clerk to the Session -Dull and Weem: Peter Hobbs :
Session Clerk-Grantully, Logierait and Strathtay-Andrew Calder: tel. 01887 840209
Session Clerk _Aberfeldy -Angus Macdonald:
tel. 07783 303367
Judy Ewer: tel: 07836 565528
13 "I saw, in the night, visions, and behold,
with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
Risen and ascended Lord
You have promised to be with us always
Teach us to be aware of your presence and to abide in your love
May your presence transform our homes and our relationships.
We bring before you the needs of our families and friends.
We pray for all who desire to sustain and improve our communities.
We come to you with all who are down at this time.
May they know the power of your ascension, in you finding new hope and new courage.
May we all know your peace
Letter of thanks from the Interim Moderator
It is now nine or ten weeks since the restrictions due to Covid 19 were placed on our congregations and communities. In these weeks many people, most of who I have not had the chance to meet, have assumed responsibilities and committed themselves to looking after some of the needs of our churches and the people we seek to serve.
I cannot name everyone, but I am very aware of the group of people who have met by phone every week to help coordinate the smooth running of our churches - the clerks, Angus MacDonald, Peter Hobbs and Andrew Calder have met with Dr Andrew Todd, Judy Ewer and me weekly to raise matters of concern and to suggest solutions.
The community larder has been a large feature of our discussions and we are grateful to Angela and all her volunteers for all they have been doing and continue to do for what has become a vital service.
Of course, there are many others, giving of their time and talents in many, many ways to support our communities through these difficult days.
To all of you, whoever you are, whatever you are doing in the name of the church and our Lord Jesus, heartfelt thanks.
Closed until further
Closed until further
Closed until further
Closed until further notice
Closed until further notice
Closed until further notice
Dull and Weem Parish Church is be found on the west side of the river Tay in Highland Perthshire.
Follow the road, from Aberfeldy, Crossing the historic Wade's Bridge, and continue down the avenue towards Weem.
As you enter the village of Weem, you will find the church on the right-hand side of the road.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”