Old High St. Stephen's, Inverness

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Month: August 2019

Which gods? Sermon for 18 August 2019 (Proper 15)

Scripture Readings: Psalm 82

Luke 12:49-56

Which gods?

In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

God presides in the heavenly council; in the assembly of the gods he gives his decision (Psalm 82.1).

Today’s Psalm asks us to picture a strange scene. The scene is a ‘heavenly court’, or an assembly of gods. The Lord God of Israel presides- but he’s not the only god there- he’s speaking to other gods.

This Psalm must be harking back to the earliest days of Israel’s religious history. In ancient times, people tended to believe in a lot of different gods- the Greeks had Mercury, Apollo and Zeus, the Egyptians made gods of the Pharaohs and worshipped Ra the sun god alongside other lesser deities. The genius of Israel’s faith was that they began to see that their tribal God, the God Moses had met in the desert, this God who had no name, this strange God who insisted on love and justice- this God was maker of heaven and earth, was greater than all the other gods, was, indeed, the only true God. This was an incredible insight that changed the world. But it was a change that happened gradually.

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Where your heart is? Sermon for Sunday 11 August 2019 Proper 14

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 1:1, 10-20

Luke 12:32-34

In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

I once knew an elderly lady who told me she had been worshipping in the same local country church all her life. She told me that, when she was a wee girl, her family had to go to church each Sunday. Her father was a gamekeeper, and if he wasn’t there the laird would have noticed and he’d have lost not just his job, but his tied house as well. Homeless and jobless if they didn’t go to church.

Thank goodness, we live in a different age nowadays. There is no great cultural expectation that we have to go to church. We come because we want to. It’s our own choice. And that old lady in continued to come to church, not because she was forced to, but because she wanted to.

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Well equipes spaces in the right places: Church of Scotland consults on buildings

WELL EQUIPED SPACES IN THE RIGHT PLACES Over the next few months, the Church of Scotland General Trustees will be inviting your views on one of the most crucial issues for the future of our Church: how best to manage our church land and buildings. An online survey will run until Saturday 31 October, giving you the chance to express your views on the best ways to manage, use and maintain our buildings for the future. The Rt Rev Colin Sinclair, the Moderator of the General Assembly, said

Buildings are hugely important to everyone in the Church and we all have strong feelings about the buildings we know best. This consultation is important so I encourage everyone who cares about the Church to take time to work through the survey and make their views known. This will ensure that the plan that will go to the 2020 General Assembly will be the very best plan we can make for the future of our congregations as well as for the mission of the Church.

The survey is available at https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/news_and_events/news/2019/your_opportunity_to_help_shape_the_churchs_plan_for_land_and_buildings .

The Tyranny of Things: sermon for 4 August 2019 Proper 13 Year C RCL

Scripture Readings:

Ecclesiastes 1.12-14; 2-18-23

Colossians 3: 1-11

Luke 12: 13-21

In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

If I was to set you homework, it would be to ask you to read the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes this coming week. For it is a remarkable book. As one commentator says,

…many readers find this book to be one of the most intriguing books in the Hebrew Scriptures, a fascinating mixture of darkness and light, confidence and doubt, piety and irreverence.[1]

I first read it as a teenager, struggling to make sense of the world, and the Christian faith I had been brought up in. It was amazing to discover a book, in the canon of Scripture, which seemed so honest about the world and the mystery of life. We tend to think of the Bible as a book of answers. Ecclesiastes is not afraid to say that sometimes we do not know all the answers. Ecclesiastes may be a rather gloomy book, but it reminds us that life, and faith, is ultimately a mystery.

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OSCR Annual Accounts

You can download a copy of the above here

Old High Music 2019

The second half of the 2019 programme commences on Saturday 24 August at 12 noon, when Gordon Tocher, organist at Inverness Cathedral, will perform a Fugue and Choral Prelude by Bach, a Handel Organ Concerto, and a selection of compositions by 19th century French composers. Gordon has contributed much to Old High Music over the years, so we are delighted to welcome him back to the console.

Download the Programme Poster here

Download a copy of the updated August to November 2019 Programme here

Pray for the city: sermon for 28 July 2019: Proper 12 Year C RCL

Scripture Readings: Genesis 18:20-32 GNB

Psalm 85 NRSV (said responsively)

Luke 11:1-13 GNB

In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

This week, I have been thinking about a minister friend of mine, now retired after long and varied career. He had served in a number of very ordinary west of Scotland parishes, and had also served as a university chaplain and with a major Christian charity. Not long after his retirement he started to work as a locum in a church in Fife, and found himself preaching to a congregation which, on most Sundays, included the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. But my friend took it in his stride, because he realised that the Prime Minister needed to hear the Word of God as much as an old lady in a housing scheme in Paisley.

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In August at St Stephen’s

In July and August 2019, are holding one service of worship only on Sunday mornings.

Sunday Morning Worship in August will be at St Stephen’s, Southside Road, at 10am.

St Stephen’s is at the junction of Old Edinburgh Road and Southside Road, opposite the Crown Court Hotel.

The address is:
St Stephen’s Church
Southside Road at Old Edinburgh Road
Inverness
Inverness-shire
IV2 4XA

Parking is available in the surrounding streets- but please don’t block our neighbours’ driveways!
Click here to see a map.

Click here to read a guide to the architecture of St Stephen’s Church.

In September, we will revert to our normal pattern of services: 10am at St Stephen’s and 11.15am at Old High (except on Sunday 8 September, when there will be one service only, at Old High at 11.15am, for the Kirking of the Council).

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