RADIO 4 SUNDAY WORSHIP.rtf by longze569


									       BBC RADIO 4 SUNDAY WORSHIP
     Sunday 16 January 2011 08:10-08:50




             Reverend Ian Galloway
              Reverend Bob Fyffe

   and the University Chapel Choir directed by
               James Grossmith
            Organist: Kevin Bowyer
Opening Announcement [from Continuity]
BBC Radio 4. It’s ten past eight and time for Sunday Worship.
We go live now to Glasgow University’s Memorial Chapel. This morning’s preacher
is the General Secretary of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, the Reverend
Bob Fyffe, and the service is led by the Convener of the Kirk’s Church and Society
Council, the Reverend Ian Galloway.


Good morning and welcome to this service which leads into the Week of
Prayer for Christian Unity, observed in many parts of the world. Glasgow
has known the pain of division in the Christian community, especially
between Protestant and Catholic, in the past. But now there are many
examples not only of warmer relationships but of joint work, particularly
in service to others. Today, with Christians in many places, we
acknowledge our human brokenness, especially as we hear of the
ordination of three former Anglican bishops at Westminster Cathedral –
a particularly sensitive issue for many at this time. Still, we yearn to join
in the unity of God’s love and mercy for all people.

(LEWIS FOLK MELODY) (John L Bell / Graham Maule – WGRG The Iona Community)


God’s love and mercy are our hope in the face of all barriers between
people – whether within ourselves, in dispute with our neighbour or in
affairs of churches and nations. In prayer we face the reality of what is
and what, with God’s help, can be.

Let us pray:

God of life, of all life and of each life, you are present in all of our
seasons and all of our days. At this time of year….

Daylight hours are few and precious
 - these are the weeks of short days and long nights
 - the time when we know that the light is precious indeed.

Rain and wind and the seeping cold of winter are upon us too, testing
our resistance and keeping us close to the fire.

In this place, with its warmth and bright lights, and with other people
with us and around us, we can take heart, and take hold of the hope that
is in us.

Music and voices combine to lift our hearts and set us on the road to
fuller life.

So we give thanks for this time and this place and these people, and for
the heartbeat that marks out the pattern of our days.

Here we find ourselves known, and understood, taken as we are and
even loved – not just by one another but by life itself, and you – God – at
the heart of all that is.

Words of hope from the Iona Community:
“With the eye of a weaver you have chosen us – such different threads to
be woven into unity, that the world might believe”.

You call us out of the darkness – not just the physical darkness of mid -
January, but out – out – out……..
Out of the darkness of our fear,
SHEENA: Out of the darkness of our pain,
Out of the dim recesses of our disappointment,
SHEENA: Out of our failed commitments
and out of our frail faith.

BOB: Out into the open,
SHEENA: Out into the light,
Out into your company,
SHEENA: Out onto the road
and on with the journey that you have called us to make……….
the journey of our days.


And as you call us out
you offer us again the words that are
both comfort and challenge,
reassurance and encouragement.

“Do not be afraid.”

SHEENA: “Do not be afraid”


Only with these words ringing in our ears
do we dare to journey on,
and to speak out loud
our prayer for your ways
to come among us, around us and within us.

ALL (Ian leading):

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 for ever.

The Scottish Paraphrases have given us some great examples of
scripture in song. Now, from the Book of Isaiah, we sing a vision of
peacemaking and unity among people that remains unsurpassed.
“Behold, the mountain of the Lord in latter days shall rise.”



Christian faith calls us into relationship with all of creation. The church is
not an end in itself; rather it is, at its best, God’s gift to the world. One of
the things I have learned over the years is that even as we experience
the pain of division in worship or doctrine, we can find unity in service to
others, not as a poor substitute but in direct obedience to God, who
demonstrates time and again in scripture that our present imperfection
can be used for the purposes of raising signs of God’s kingdom of hope.
This reading, from the book of the prophet Isaiah Chapter 58, makes
clear this connection between service to our neighbour and God’s

CLAIRE: Isaiah 58: 6 – 10 (Good News Bible)

6 "The kind of fasting I want is this: Remove the chains of oppression and
the yoke of injustice, and let the oppressed go free. 7 Share your food
with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give
clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help
your own relatives. - cr-
descriptionAnchor-1#cr-descriptionAnchor-18 "Then my favour will shine on

you like the morning sun, and your wounds will be quickly healed. I will
always be with you to save you; my presence will protect you on every
side. 9 When you pray, I will answer you. When you call to me, I will
respond. "If you put an end to oppression, to every gesture of contempt,
and to every evil word; 10 if you give food to the hungry and satisfy

those who are in need, then the darkness around you will turn to the
brightness of noon.

(Bernadette Farrell - Psalm 122: Descant by Frikki Walker)


The earliest days of the Christian church were apparently marked by a
unity that we can only wonder at now. After the Day of Pentecost, we
are told that there was an immediate response to the preaching of
Peter, and as many as three thousand people were baptised into this
new way of faith. The picture that emerges is of a community that
demonstrated sharing, generosity, willingness to learn and an infectious
enthusiasm both for God and for one another. Let’s hear this outline of
Christian unity from the Book of Acts, Chapter 2, at verse 42.

JOE: Acts 2 42 – 47

42 They spent their time in learning from the apostles, taking part in the
fellowship, and sharing in the fellowship meals and the prayers. 43 Many
miracles and wonders were being done through the apostles, and
everyone was filled with awe. 44 All the believers continued together in
close fellowship and shared their belongings with one another.   -   cr-descriptionAnchor-8#cr-
descriptionAnchor-845 They would sell their property and possessions, and

distribute the money among all, according to what each one needed. 46
Day after day they met as a group in the Temple, and they had their

meals together in their homes, eating with glad and humble hearts, 47
praising God, and enjoying the good will of all the people. And every day
the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.
George Matheson is perhaps best known as the author of the hymn that
begins “O love that wilt not let me go”. It’s another of his hymns that we
sing now – Gather us in, thou love that fillest all. As in his other hymn,
Matheson is inspired by the image of a rainbow. While we might have
our favourite tint, all seven are needed for the rainbow to display the full
spectrum of colour. We need one another, whatever our tradition, to
reflect the fullness of the God of all life.

MUSIC: HYMN – GATHER US IN (Tune: Gather us in)

The little boy ran home from school, proud to have been allowed to go
for his first haircut on his own. He was happy, but boys from another
local primary school had chased him and thrown stones. Reaching the
sanctuary of home, he asked through hot tears “Mummy, what’s a wee

Last September and nearly fifty years after that childhood event in his
home town of Dundee, the same boy stood, within arm’s length of the
Pope, the Archbishop and the Moderator. He witnessed at close hand,

Church leaders mingle and walk out of Westminster Abbey as genuine
friends. Unthinkable even twenty years ago.

Those who seek the unity of God’s Church have come far and achieved
much. Today there are many hundreds of local initiatives at the
beginning of this week of prayer for Christian unity.

That story is my own, and it’s an example of how that movement for
unity has transformed things for the better in the time since my
childhood. It is not merely that churches have become more friendly
with other churches on a superficial level. It’s this movement that has
helped to overcome some deep rooted enmities that have scarred
communities, so transforming churches to be more open to each other.
And this has not only changed them, but changed the society around
them, making the lives of individuals and families more peaceful, settled,
at ease with their community – and is this a foretaste of what Jesus
meant when he said “I come that you might have life in all its fullness”..
And so Ecumenism, this seeking after God’s unity and wholeness, is
therefore not about ecclesiastical cosiness but about deep and profound
changes to our imperfect attempts to be the Body of Christ, and so
changing our selves, and freeing us to change our society and our world.
But we have so much further to go, and so much more to achieve.

With the gift of hindsight I now realise that those boys throwing stones
at me had as much idea of what “a wee proddy” was as I did. But I also
recognise that the task of constructing collective identity, often requires
an adversary, an “other”, the “negative”, the “not me” against which to

define oneself. In this process of defining the “other” we have in our
recent history witnessed the holocaust, ethnic cleansing and apartheid.
Whether national, ethnic, racial or religious grounds have been claimed,
the underlying message has been “we have no need of you”.

But this narrative and definition denies that you and I are made in the
image and likeness of God. We are all God's children, no more slaves or
free, no more black or white, no more Jew or Muslim or Christian or
evangelical or liberal.

This unity, this oneness is not for ourselves, but is a necessary working
out of our calling. To be divided as Christians is to offer poor witness to
the world. In recent times, it was Dietrich Bonheoffer who witnessed to
the confessing Church in Germany, saying that it needed to express that
essential unity in its stand against evil. It was Archbishop Desmond Tutu
who said that a divided Church wasn’t strong enough to overcome
apartheid. ‘And just this week, in Tucson, Arizona President Barack
Obama, in the wake of the terrible events there, spoke inspiringly of his
vision of unity. He said that “at a time when our discourse has become
so sharply polarized -– at a time when we are far too eager to lay the
blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think
differently than we do -– it’s important for us to pause for a moment
and make sure that we’re talking with each other in a way that heals,
not in a way that wounds”.

But the call to Christian unity MUST BE more than a dream. The living
out of these high ideals helps others see that faith can be a source of

hope. To reach out and embrace our fellow human beings and see
something of God in each one regardless of wealth, or status, or power,
or fame – for us to be recognised as Christians by how well you and I
have loved, that is our task.

And in these days when churches are so consumed by issues to do with
Churches, it’s a powerful witness for Christians to be in the world. Isn’t
this exactly where churches in neighbourhoods and communities need
to be creating dialogue, need to be offering space to listen, engage and
heal memories. Isn’t this exactly the place where Christian voices need
to be heard saying to neighbours “I have a need of you”.

So the unity, listening, hospitality and generosity are needed too as we
see those suffering around our world today. The flooded districts of
Brisbane and its surrounding towns, the climate chaos that has this week
brought suffering to Sri Lanka, Brazil and other places, these images
remind us that we should feel a global responsibility and connectedness.

Closer to home, within our own nation, we are faced with difficult times
too. We need safe spaces where people can cross boundaries and
frontiers, often of OUR own making in order to meet each other and, in
that space, ask fundamental questions. Only as the whole body of Christ
can Christians stand shoulder to shoulder, and overcome the great
concerns of these days, in partnership with everyone of goodwill.
But we should also confess that we have become too good at reducing
the beauties of the vastness of God into tight contained doctrinal

packages that have been used to define the “other”, the “negative”, the

But the God of our yearning is indeed that outsider. He was born in a
stable because there was no room. He found no-where to lay his head,
he died at a crossroads, surrounded by thieves and sinners. The God we
know through scripture and the Holy Spirit is that “other”, that outsider,
that cornerstone that the builders rejected. The God, that we meet face
to face in Jesus, is the outside God, out in the community, out in the still
ruined streets of Haiti, out in the war torn countryside and the tribal
sectarian battlefields.

Christ looks for the common ground as a hinge to community. It’s up to
each Christian to swing open that hinge, to be that place of giving and
receiving, that place of renewal and unity.

We cannot, and we must not, allow our children to be reared in
situations where, like me so many years ago, they run home to ask
“what is a Protestant, what is a Catholic, what is a Jew or a Muslim”. The
starting point for our Christian witness is for the Church to become that
expression of unity, that model of acceptance and welcome and
hospitality that is rooted in God. Where these hopes and dreams are
bound together, communities become places of deep exchange, where
together we become all that God intends for us. To BE the whole people
of God.


“Jesus, the very thought of Thee with sweetness fills the breast!"

The anthem this morning was composed by Richard Shephard, and sung

by Glasgow University Chapel Choir.


Let us pray……

God with us…
In Jesus Christ you have demonstrated your commitment to our world
and all its people. In him you have come right to where we are – bone of
our bone, flesh of our flesh – making sure we know that human life
matters, that there is no material realm that is somehow beneath your
spiritual domain, that how we treat our neighbour is the barometer of
our faithfulness and the authentic mark of Christ’s church, that in
pursuing that purpose we will never stray far from the heart of your
We pray for the world, one living planet, one whole inhabited earth in a
universe of wonder and complexity.
May we find the ways to live with creation that are sustainable,
responsible and filled with hope for the future.

God in your mercy

We pray for people of other faiths and none, that they might know we
are Christian by our love – that your grace and mercy will be seen in us –
that in this we may be one with Christ and one with you.

May your church today rediscover that infectious generosity of spirit that
abounded on the Day of Pentecost and beyond.
God in your mercy

We pray for the Church, for its divisions – within and between
denominations, struggling with change in society, wrestling to discern a
way forward that witnesses to your love.

May we preserve with one another a spirit of charity and peace, and find
the unity in you that we are called to.
God in your mercy

We pray for all who will find today hard, thinking in particular of all who
are affected by tragic violence in Tucson, Arizona; political unrest in
Tunisia, and by natural disaster in Brazil and in Australia.

For people for whom hope, trust, acceptance seem far off and out of
reach. For people who live with fear, real or imagined, and those who
know no peace of mind or spirit.

May we find ways to reach out in love to those in need, and to offer a
sign of your presence.
God in your mercy

And now we remember before you all our dear ones, wherever they may
be, trusting in your love and mercy. Watch over them, and us, we pray,
keep us in faith and on the journey of our lives.

May we know the joy of our belonging together in you who are our hope,
now and always.
God in your mercy



The final verse of our final hymn sums up our theme in these words:
“Yours the prayer, and yours the purpose, that your people should be
one.” Thank you for being with us and one with us this morning.

We sing: Son of God, eternal Saviour, source of life and truth and grace.



O God, open to us today the sea of your mercy
and water us with full streams
from the riches of your grace
and springs of your kindness.
Make us children of quietness and heirs of peace:
kindle in us the fire of your love;
strengthen our weakness by your power
and bind us close to you and to each other.

In Christ’s name, Amen

Mendelssohn Sonata in A major, op. 65, no. 3. Publisher: Breitkopf

Closing Announcement [from Continuity]

Sunday Worship came live from the Memorial Chapel, Glasgow University, and was
led by the Reverend Ian Galloway. The preacher was the Reverend Bob Fyffe.
Glasgow University Chapel Choir was directed by James Grossmith, and the
organist was Kevin Bowyer. The producer was Mo McCullough.

Next week Sunday Worship live from Bath Abbey explores the range of emotions
in the psalms. That’s Sunday Worship next week at the usual time of ten past


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