Sunday’s service at Rattray Hall Community Hub began with Iain Craig leading the singing of ‘As We Are Gathered’, ‘Come Now Is The Time To Worship’ and ‘Great Is Thy Faithfulness’.
After a brief prayer Pastor Derek Johnston spoke to the children.
He gave the example of an on-board computer monitoring a person’s driving performance in a business van.
Drawing comparisons with people’s daily lives, he spoke about how Proverbs tells readers that: “The eyes of the Lord are everywhere”.
Mr Johnston explained that God sees how people live their lives.
He continued by saying that thankfully, though, people’s relationship with him doesn’t depend on their religious performance, but instead on the perfect life of Christ.
The congregation then sang, ‘Christ Is Mine Forevermore’ before reading Psalm 84.
After further prayer, ‘There Is One Gospel’ was sung.
Mr Johnston then spoke on Psalm 84. He said: “The Psalm is a song of ancient Israel which speaks of the intense longing of the author to be at the temple in Jerusalem.
“The temple was a magnificent structure built by King Solomon almost 3000 years ago.
“It was built of massive stones, carved wooden panels and gold.
“But it wasn’t because of the aesthetics the author wanted to be there but because God was present at the temple in a special way.
“The reason he wanted to be in God’s presence was because he knew and loved God.
“Almost 1000 years after the temple was
built God came to us in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ.
“He lived among us and died on the cross to forgive us our sins so that we can know God through faith and have the hope of one day being in his presence.
“But we also are assured of his presence in the here and now as he lives in his people by his Spirit.”
The service closed with the singing of ‘We Will Feast in the House of Zion’.
Rob Halligan, a singer-songwriter who has appeared on BBC’s ‘Songs of Praise’, will be performing at Rattray Hall Community Hub from 7pm on Saturday, December 3.
The concert is free and all are welcome. Tickets are available on the Eventbrite website.
Sunday’s service is to take place as usual in Rattray Hall Community Hub in Balmoral Road.
All are welcome to attend.
• See the website www.bechurch.co.uk for more information.
BLAIRGOWRIE PARISH CHURCH
David Howat extended a warm welcome to everyone at the service on Sunday.
To mark the beginning of Advent, Catherine Murrie lit the Candle of Hope, with her father, Phil, reading from scripture and delivering a Prayer of Hope.
After the Call to Worship, the congregation sang the Advent Hymn ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’.
Opening prayers of Adoration and Confession and the Lord’s Prayer were then followed by Mr Howat’s explanation of Advent wreaths in the church.
He said: “These have developed from TV’s ‘Blue Peter’ early versions made of wire coat hangers to today’s more symbolic versions.
“The Blairgowrie Parish Church Advent Wreath comprises four red candles surrounding one white Christ Candle.
“The first candle lit is the Candle of Hope, which will be followed in the coming weeks by the candles of Peace, Joy and Love, with the Christ Candle being lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
“Lighting candles symbolises the light of Jesus’s coming into the world to provide us with a bridge to God.”
The singing of the hymns ‘Come, Let Us to the Lord our God’ and ‘Great God, Your Love Has Called Us Here’ sandwiched Esther Dingwall’s reading of Matthew ch 24, vv 36-44 and Romans ch 13, vv 11-14.
Mr Howat’s sermon entitled ‘Jesus is Coming’ urged the congregation to look, not just back to the birth of Jesus as a small baby, but forward to the all-powerful Jesus who has yet to come. In his last days on Earth, Jesus knew that His impending death and the desecration of the temple in Jerusalem, as prophesied by Daniel, were to be followed by His coming back, not as a powerless baby or in the quiet way He revealed Himself to His friends and disciples after His resurrection, but in power and glory.
Mr Howat said that only God knows when this will take place.
He continued: “Today’s reading from Matthew reminds us of the need to be ready for this.
“Unlike other events in our lives which are planned for, we will have no warning of Jesus’ second coming so our preparation for it must start now.
“Jesus has redeemed us by paying the price of sin; all we have to do is accept him and, as Paul cautioned the Romans, live our lives in a fitting way to be ready for salvation.
“Paul reiterated Jesus’ commandment
to love our neighbour as ourselves (Mark 12 v 31) and we, as part of society must look for ways to do this in Blairgowrie.
“In a time of restructuring within the church, we must strive for the Church of Scotland to be the Church ‘In’ Scotland and reach out to those in need in our community, demonstrating that what we do in our daily lives is for God.
“We also need to encourage the return to our fellowship of those who have stopped coming to church since the pandemic.
“There are many things wrong in today’s world such as hatred and lack of equality etc, but Jesus assures us this will change.
“Jesus, the Son of Man, is coming as King. Like the bridegroom in the parable of the five foolish virgins (Matthew 25), He will come at a time unknown, and we need to be ready.”
The service continued with ‘Longing for Light, We Wait in Darkness’ and Prayers of Dedication, Thanksgiving, and Intercession following the collection of offering.
The hymn 448 ‘Lord, the Light of Your Love is Shining’ and the benediction brought the service to a close.
Organist Lex Dunlop played a Prelude of ‘Lo, How a Rose is Springing Up’ by Richard Lloyd, an Offertory Interlude of ‘Now Come, Redeemer of Our Race’ by Buxtehude, and a Postlude of ‘Praise God - All Ye Christians’ also by Buxtehude.
Donations of unwrapped toys for local children of all ages will be gladly received at the church on Sunday, December 4.
Monetary donations will also be welcome.
Mr Howat also made a plea for Christmas food donations for local families in need.
A sheet is displayed in the Lower Hall
listing specific items required.
The church is seeking to boost its audiovisual fund by collecting broken silver or gold jewellery.
Contributions are welcome in the Sunday offering plate.
Church collection boxes are now available in the Lower Hall.
There will be Christmas-themed services on the evenings of Thursday, December 22, and Saturday, December 24 – which will take the form of a Christingle service – and on the morning of December 25.
The Social Club meets on Tuesday afternoons and Wednesday evenings in the hall for badminton and on Friday mornings for carpet bowls.
Members of the Bible Study group are maintaining contact with each other through an email prayer letter.
Anyone wishing to join is asked to contact David Howat via david@ thehowats.net.
The church hopes to run a Holiday Club for primary-aged children from 2pm to 4pm on April 4, 5 and 6.
Anyone wishing to help in this venture is asked to attend a meeting in the church committee room from 2pm on Monday, December 5.
On that same day, the contents of the church boxes will be counted at 7pm.
• See www.blairgowrieparishchurch. org.uk for more information.
SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCHES
Sunday services have now reverted back to their normal times.
Services start from 9.30am at St Catharine’s in Blairgowrie, 11.15am at St Anne’s in Coupar Angus and 11.15am at St Ninian’s in Alyth.
• See www.abcsaints.co.uk for more information on the churches’ activities.