As you will be aware, following guidance from the Church of Scotland, Sunday worship has been cancelled until further notice. We have set up this web page with the intention of offering a place where those connected with the Church (and indeed the wider public) can continue to receive spiritual guidance, and information about Church and community activities during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Offerings and Donations:
Please be aware that in the absence of services, anyone wishing to support Fisherton Church financially can send donation cheques payable to “Fisherton Church of Scotland” to the treasurer:
Mr M Duncan
33 Kennedy Drive
It is understood that this is a difficult time for some financially but any support will be gratefully appreciated.
28th March 2020 – Reflection from Andy Muir for Sunday 29th March
A thought from your trainee minister, Andy Muir.
As I write this, I am aware that most of us will be finding these times quite difficult. Last Sunday in particular, felt really odd to me as I’m sure it did toeveryone else, because it was the first Sunday morning in many years that I have not been to a church to worship. However, I would like to try and share some encouragement during these strange times.
As much as we all feel very attached to our Church, and we hopefully find it a place where we can feel the presence of God, let’s remember that Church is not just a building. It is not an organisation or a belief system; Church is made up of you and me; The family of believers who are all united in Jesus Christ. We are all united in spirit, and wherever we are on a Sunday morning or any other day of the week for that matter, we can still come together into God’s presence and worship Him.
I would encourage everyone to keep in contact, using whatever safe means are available, with not only your friends but also with anyone else you feel may be lonely at this time. What has encouraged me most, even in these early days is the way that people are coming together and caring in ways that are beyond allexpectation. I am pleased to say that the Coronavirus is not the only contagious thing at the moment. I have also been pleasantly surprised by the contagious outworking of goodwill, love and charitable spirit that seems to be spreading even faster among people than the virus!
I hope that during this time, we will all find the time to take stock of our lives, find out the things that are truly important to us, and come closer to God each day as we place our trust in Him and not in wealth or worldly possessions.
Prayer and Lords Prayer
Let us take a moment to come before God in prayer.
You are above all earthly powers, and you are in control of all things.
Help us to know this assurance in our hearts as well as our minds,
giving us an awareness of the blessings you pour out on us.
Help us today, and in the weeks to come, to draw ever closer to you,
knowing the certainty of your love, care and compassion in these very uncertain times.
Lord, we pray that you impart your wisdom upon the world leaders, the scientists and decision-makers at this time,
enabling them to find practical solutions to the pandemic that is sweeping this world.
Please help the scientists in their understanding of this virus, and to develop both a vaccine and a cure.
We thank you for the courage and commitment of frontline workers throughout the world,
and we ask your protection upon them.
We also ask for your peace to be in the world, easing peoples fears of going without, and allowing a fairer distribution of food and other household items.
Lord, help us to understand that you will supply us with our daily bread,
both physically and spiritually, as you have always promised.
During this time of social isolation and distancing,
help us to be able to reach out and help the most vulnerable in our community.
We may need to find new and intuitive ways to do this,
so we ask you to lead us forward and inspire us with the necessary ideas.
Help us to share your love and care to those who need it most.
Father, we also pray that you to share your love and your peace with our minster Ian and that you bring him back to full health.
We are all looking forward to his speedy recovery, and we ask that your presence is felt by Ian, Mandy and all the family.
Lord, we ask for your help to stay strong during these times and to be able to put our fears and our cares before you
These things we ask in Jesus name,
Who taught us to pray, saying,
Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
John 11 verses 1 to 45
The Death of Lazarus
11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”
9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Jesus Comforts the Sisters of Lazarus
17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days.”
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
The Plot to Kill Jesus
45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.
If anyone has a mortgage or has borrowed a significant amount of money for something, the sensible thing to do would be to take out life insurance for at least the amount borrowed, naming your partner or your children as the beneficiary just in case something goes wrong. I think it would be quite a selfish act not to, because, on the event of your death, your loved ones could face financial ruin. Thankfully, life insurance is readily available and very easy to set up. We just choose the amount and pay the monthly premiums.
Both 2000 years ago in this passage, and today, Jesus is offering us not life insurance, but rather life assurance. He is offering us the assurance of eternal life, and there isn’t any premium to pay! The only thing we must do is believe. Jesus makes this fact clear numerous times throughout the passage, and in many different ways. In verse 9, Jesus says, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they will see by this world’s light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light”. We will not stumble if we walk in the light of Christ.
In verse 25, Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”. Eternal life is ours when we confess that we believe.
In verse 40, He says, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” In eternity we will be able to see the true glory of God.
In John chapter 1, verse 4, we are told that Jesus is the light of the world. In chapter 3, verse 15, Jesus tells us “that everyone who believes may have eternal life in Him”.
He cannot make things any clearer. Jesus is the light. If we walk in His light, we will not stumble, and we will see His glory. If we believe in Him, we shall have eternal life after earthly death, and He has shown proof of this by raising Lazarus from the dead!
Jesus has not just given proof to those who believed, but many of those who saw also believed and this has given glory both to God and to the Son of God.
This life assurance is not a cash pay-out, but the assurance of eternal life after our death. The terms of this policy are simple and cost nothing. Whoever believes in Jesus, shall have eternal life!
Another verse I want to bring to your attention to is verse 37, where some of the Jews ask, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”. That is a question we still constantly ask in many ways, even today. We often ask in light of a tragedy; why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? Why did God allow this or that to happen? Perhaps we ask this when we lose a loved one, or even maybe right now as we face the threat of thisCoronavirus. It seems perfectly normal to ask why, just as some of the Jews did in this passage, but let us think about that for a moment.
God is not a game player, who made us so that he could watch us follow a pre-set route like a train set, sheltering us and not allowing us choices. If he did that, we would be nothing short of robots. Can you imagine what life would be like if we couldn’t decide anything for ourselves? If we couldn’t decide what to say or what to wear? If we couldn’t decide where to live or who to marry or whether to have children? Certainly, nothing would go wrong, but what a dull life it would be.
Thankfully we do have free will, and we are also granted dominion over everything in this world. We can decide anything and everything we choose. The downside of freewill is that some things will not be decided in the right way, though. We may not see the rise of tyrants until its too late, or know if someone will be capable of the worst crimes imaginable.Nor will we know when things like this virus will break out, and we will notimmediately know best how to deal with it. It is in times like these, we just have to believe, and with faith, the answers will be revealed to us. Just as in the case of the blind man, or in the case of Lazarus, if we believe, then God will provide the cure, and in doing so, He will be glorified.
I hope and pray we have found the best way to deal with this virus just now and I pray that we will have a complete cure before long. Until we do, though, we must come before God, praise him and believe he will show us the way.
You will all be in my thoughts and my prayers until we meet again,
Until then, please take care and stay safe.
Stay positive and be aware of all the blessings in our lives, whether large and small. Protect yourself and think how to help others,
And may the blessing of the one true God,
Father Son and Holy Spirit,
Be with you all,
Now and forever.