Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 16 March 2016: Year A, The Second Sunday in Lent

Texts: Genesis 12:1-4a
Romans 4:1-5,13-17
John 3:1-17
Grace from above
based on 20 March 2011
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

One of the joys of living in Inverness is that the surrounding Highland landscape isn’t far away. From many parts of the city centre you can see the surrounding hills- Craig Phardig from the High Street, Ben Wyvis from the top of Stephen’s Brae. In our call to worship this morning, we recited words from Psalm 121 (NRSV): ‘I lift up my eyes to the hills- from where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth’. Or, in the words of the Scottish Metrical version which are perhaps more familiar to many of us: ‘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’.
That Psalm is very popular among many churchgoing Scots, for we look to our local hills and mountains and their grandeur impresses us, and reminds us of God’s glory, and the very solidity of the hills reminds us of God’s unfailing love. Yet perhaps that is a rather romanticised way of looking at the hills. For much of human history, mountains and high places were thought to be the home of evil spirits, of frightening demons, and perhaps also of capricious gods.

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