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recent service to either re-listen to a sermon at a service you were at,
or to hear one from a service that you missed.
Includes prayers, and readings.
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To hear one of our 2016 services, covering up to Christmas Day 2016 click HERE
|2017||Topic and Theme|
|Revelation, baffling or encouragement? - 23 July|
last week’s sermon, taken from the first book of the Bible,
Genesis, Hugh took the last book, Revelation, as the theme for his
sermon this Sunday.
From the puzzles of Genesis, the Adam and
Eve story, Kane and Abel, Noah and the flood, etc, it does not come
close to the ‘weirdness’ of the Revelation of John.
most readers the book of Revelation is somewhat baffling and
impenetrable. Hugh explores the book, as written by the prophet John,
on an island of the west coast of Turkey at a time when God's will was
not being done, a disappointing world. The book is in fact a letter,
addressed to seven churches on the Turkish mainland, and designed to be
read aloud in these churches.
We hear of John’s vision
of the regal throne room, the four priests that praise God day and
night, the divine council of 24 ‘elders’, or rulers, the
‘government’ of heaven.
Hear the full story as Hugh unlocks the book, and how we too are encouraged to follow God’s will.
|What is the point in being here? - 16 July|
the reading from Genesis, Hugh took us through the history of origins,
addressing the questions asked throughout the ages, 'Why am I here?'
and 'Who will remember me when I am gone?' 'Whats the point in being
here?' This of course leads on to 'Why is anybody here? Why is anything
Genesis explains why everything is here, namely that God
has put us here, and the purpose for His creation. We are an important
part of that. Ours is to understand why God put us here, even though it
sometimes appears a challenging task. Could creation have been so much
simpler? Why do we speak so many different languages? Would it not have
been easier if we could all talk to each other in the same tongue?
the story of Abraham, and the children of Israel, Hugh walked us
through some of the old testament stories, explaining the thinking of
the authors of the books of Genesis, and Kings, showing how our
weaknesses and frailties, similar to Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and
Jacob, lying and cheating, which challenge us even today, every
Like the potter in Jeremiah who does not discard the failed
pot, he returns the clay to start again until he achieves success. So
too God, despite our weak and wayward traits, continues to remake us
through the generations, to follow Him and become His faithful servant.
|Chaos, Greed, and Sin - 9 July|
started his sermon by plunging us into chaos theory, causing a few
startled looks, but cetainly grabbing everyone's attention. Something
to do with random behaviour within systems governed by well known laws
with known and predicatble consequences. So how does this fit in with
todays scripture readings?
Gently easing us into the sermon Hugh
took the example of weather forecasting, and just how difficult it is
to predict when the climate is governed by well known laws of physics.
Yet the weather seems to be a law unto itself, with a minor change in
one part of the world creating a major upset somewhere else in the
world. This led to exploring the root cause of the US mortgage crisis
some 10 years ago, and the economic tornado that ensued. What really
caused this? Was it the complex financial mechanisms created by smart
young financiers, to boost their own commission and bonuses, without a
care for the consequence? In other words good old fashioned greed!
are we not told that morally greed is a sin, often followed by
unintended and unwelcome consequences? Now we can see where Hugh is
Does the Bible give us any guidance? Hugh explained how
God assures us that while chaos is around us, it will not overtake the
world. Order will be maintained, chaos will not engulf creation. We
have been given the role to subdue unruly elements intent on creating
The story builds on the readings of Adam, Eve, and the
snake, from Genesis and Matthew where Jesus preaches 'Come to me and
|Expectations of God - 2 July|
took the story of Abraham from Genesis and his despair at his God who
kept changing His mind. Surely God is supposed to be reliable, but how
can you rely on anybody who says one thing yesterday, and the complete
opposite today! God had raised Abrahams' hopes, providing a child for
Abraham and Sarah, when they thought Sarah was well past child bearing
age. When Isaac was born both were filled with a new hope.
God then asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, plunging Abraham
into the blackest hopelessness. Why was God so heartless? God often
does seem inconsistent. He loves the world, but it is a loveless place.
He urges us to pray to Him, but seems to often ignore them.
tells us that faith can move mountains, but seems weak compared to the
world powers. Is there a disconnect between God and His creation? Hugh
explores how Abraham came to terms with his bewiderment, and how he
maintained his faith in God. We can all have our faith shaken in time
of grief and trauma?
In the story of John the Baptist we heard
how God sacrificed His own son Jesus to save the world, in the same as
Abraham was asked of Isaac.
|Adventurous Faith - 25 June|
new testament gospel reading was taken by Hugh as his theme, explaining
the structure of Matthews gospel, from Jesus's birth to death. Focusing
on chapters 24 and 25 when Jesus talked to his disciples about the
future, after he had gone. The trials and tribulations the world would
encounter, and to 'Be Ready'.
Exploring one of the criteria for
admission to the kingdom of heaven, whether we are fit or unfit. Have
we been adventurous with our faith? The story of the rich man entusting
his wealth to three servants. Two invested wisely and grew the wealth,
while the third buried his share in the ground. The two who took the
risk were welcomed back into their masters home, the other thrown out.
are blessed with the treasure of Christian faith, and not to bury it.
We must take our faith out into the community, exposing our faith to
other faiths, or those with none. Take risks; that way you will see it
He brought the message into our time, reflecting
how our nation stands up to scrutiny, using the Grenfell Tower tragedy
to illustrate his point.
|Love, faith, hope, and endurance - 18 June|
took the subject of Love as covered by Paul in his letter to the
Corinthians which we had just heard, describing love as patient and
kind, not jealous boastful arrogant or selfish, or gloating. There is
no limit to its faith hope and endurance.
In these four verses
from Paul, he lists 15 characteristics of love. Hugh went on to
describe some of theses attributes using President Abraham Lincoln and
his political rival, Edwin Stanton who treated Lincoln with contempt.
How Lincoln reacted to this onslaught unfolds, displaying love as
patient and kind.
Hugh continued about love and religious
people, describing some terrible sermons he had sat through, and a few
that he had given, which raised light laughter. Hugh referred to
Lorimers Auld Scots translation, which we have heard before, to further
illustrate the characteristics of love.
The sermon was followed by the baptism of Brodie Henderson.
|Trinity Sunday - 11 June|
Interim moderator, the Rev Yvonne Atkins, opened with a 'haunting
question' - Who dreads Trinity Sunday More? The preachers who
have to explain it to the congregations, or the congregations who have
to listen to those sermons?
Yvonne continued with several amusing scenarios, which raised a few laughs from the congregation.
we had settled down Yvonne delved into the explanation of the Holy
Trinity contained in the creed of St. Athanasius, which has been
used by Christian churches since the sixth century. It is the first
creed in which the equality of the three persons of the Trinity is
explicitly stated. Expanding the incomprehensibility of this trinity
where there are not three, Father, Son and Holy Ghost but one eternal
and incomprehensible. 'Clear, as mud'? Asked Yvonne.
further analogies, taking the three states of water, ice, liquid and
vapour, where all states are still water. Similarly the three petal
shamrock is another example, three petals one plant. The sermon builds
on these examples in an intriguing tale, that displays the enormity of
the 'Trinity', and why we should praise this everlasting
|Pentecost - Sunday 4 June|
is the day the Spirit descended upon the apostles, and on which, under
Peter's preaching, so many thousands were converted in Jerusalem.
theme took the role of Banks, where money from those with surplus money
on deposit is loaned to those requiring money for immediate needs, with
the Bank gaining interest on the transaction. He then looked back some
500 years to medieval times, where a serious shortage of 'goodness'
worried the populace. The medieval church taught members that being
'very good' you went straight to heaven, but if you were 'very bad' you
went straight to Hell.
However if you were neither very good,
or very bad you would be sent to 'purgatory' after death. Only when you
paid off your lack of 'goodness' would you be raised to heaven. The
medieval church came up with the idea of a 'Goodness' Bank, or
'Treasury of Merits'. Heaven was full of saints with an abundance of
'goodness', so why not allow people to 'borrow' some, through an act of
piety or a 'monetary gift' to the church to ensure they would have
enough 'goodness' to be raised directly to heaven after death.
monk called Martin Luther in 1517 was very unhappy about this 'pay for
goodness' system, which eventually started the major reform in the
church that followed.
|Ascension - Sunday 28 May|
opened his sermon with ceilings of gothic cathedrals and the decorated
bosses on the arches holding up the roof. The designs can be
sometime surprising, such as York Minster, where the bosses are
decorated as simply two feet, viewed from below. This represents the
ascension of our Lord, as witnessed by the disciples, where the soles
of his feet would be all that they would see of Him as He dissappeared
into the great blue yonder. It is of course somewhat comic, and strange
to our ears. But back then the blue sky we looked up to was literally
seen as the underside of the floor of heaven, so being lifted through
it to Gods heaven seemed logical.
Our modern knowledge of the
heavens puts a different understanding to this explanation. Hugh then
explained the doctrine of the ascension, with the method being
The act of Holy Communion, the sacrament of the last supper followed the sermon.
|Christian Aid - Sunday 21 May|
celebrated the end of Christian Aid Week by looking at the breadth of
outreach the charity has achieved in over 60 years, and continues to
achieve. In the service, led by the Elders, as our minister Hugh was
still on 'sick leave', and our Sesion clerk, Sandy Robertson, who would
normally lead, was also incapacitated.
We heard about, and watched a series of videos. These included '60 years of Christian Aid', 'Theodor - the refugee who never forgot',
a moving and touching story. Praise and scripture form the book of
Acts, and the story of Nejebar and Noor, refugees from Syria, opened
our eyes to the trauma and difficulties refugee's face in a foreign
land unable to understand the language of these strangers, who are
depsperately trying to help. A video 'The Refugee Crisis - The way forward' offered some ideas on how to resolve this problem. Our final video ' The song of Kingdom Come' allowed us to sing along to a song of uplifting hope.
click on the video links above to see the full story on YouTube.
Eric Marchant closed our service with a superb review of the mornings service, leaving us with much to think about.
|I am the Way - Sunday 14 May|
Roberston took the service on Sunday 14th as Hugh, who was suffering a
bad cold the previous Sunday, was none the better. Only Hugh would send
apologies for being unwell, so Sandy would send our best wishes for a
speedy recovery back.
Sandy took the theme of Jesus
telling his disciples that 'I am th eWay to the Father'. His address to
the children was all about questions questions, and how we need to be
clear and concise to avoid imparting the wrong meaning which can
ellicit an answer that is unexpected. He used this theme when talking
about the morning reading from St.John, where Peter, Thomas, and Philip
had difficulty in undertanding Jesus telling his disciples that He is
the Way to the Father.
|The Parable of the Shepherd - Sunday 7 May|
theme for Sunday 7 May followed the parable of the Shepherd, where
Jesus tells us the difference between the Shepherd and the thief. Hugh
took this parable relating it to the events of 40 years ago when the
world went mad about 'markets'. If we reorganise the market then
things will only get better! If only. The raft of changes rose to a
status not short of 'divine', at least to those devotees of change.
of the Lords memorable soundbites 'The sabbath was made for man not man
for the sabbath', could be translated to 'The market was made for man,
not man for the market'.
Financial markets and the uninhibited
flow of capital became an absolute article of faith. Governments were
convinced by Merchant Bankers, financiers, currency dealers, and the
like to deregulate the market and trust the financiers to make the
world a better place. We all know that some 10 years ago we arrived at
the precipice of disaster. Why did it happen?
Hugh relates the
need for man to be regulated, to prevent human irresponsibility and
guarding against our own excesses. We need to be shepherded, otherwise
the sheep run amok.
|New Minister voted a success - Sunday 30 April|
The Rev John
Urquhart used the readings from Peter and Luke, taking the role of Cleopas on the journey from
Jerusalem to Emmaus with a friend, after the crucifixion and
resurrection. He started as Jesus walked up to and spoke to them.
Neither recognised Jesus and were baffled that this stranger knew
nothing of what had happened in Jerusalem.
The story unfolds as
the conversation continued, and how the deliverer everyone hoped for
was also God's servant who suffered for our wrong doing. John continued
with a story of Justin, the pagan. Following his search to be a
philosopher, and his discovery of
|Doubting Thomas - Weakness or Stength - 23 April |
Rev Hugh Davidson's theme for this first Sunday following the Easter
resurrection of Jesus was 'Doubting Thomas'. Was he weak in daring to
doubt that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead, or strong, in that he
dared to question the Lord and see for himself the holes in His hands
and wound in His side?
He developed the morning readings with
a story of how young children never seem to end their questioning,
using a visit to the zoo to illustrate his point. Questioning is how we
learn, and is a sign of strength, not taking for granted the prescribed
wisdom of the day. Listen how the sermon develops doubt and faith, and
how Thomas uses both, to spread the word of God far from the Holy
|Easter Week Services at St. Mungo's|
Easter Sunday 16 April
Easter Sunday morning service, led by Rev Hugh Davidson, started
with the reasons for our Easter celebration, life over death,
good over evil, love over hate, hope over despair, rejoicing in the
resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. Christ is risen,
risen indeed. Alleluia!
Our praise refected this resurrection day, supported by the readings from Corinthians and St. John.
Webster read from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 15:
verses 35-50, where Paul talks of the difference between earthly bodies
and heavenly bodies, mortality and immortality, weakness and strength,
using Adam to ilustrate the difference between our earthly and heavenly
Margaret Webster continued with St.John chapter 20
verses 1-18, where John relates Mary Magdalene discovering the stone
rolled back, and the Lord taken from the tomb, the disciples
investigation, and Mary later meeting the angels, and seeing her Lord.
explored the readings starting with Paul's letter to the Corinthians
where Paul describes the resurrection and Jesus as a new creation, and
as the last Adam. How a crucified carpenter became a life giving spirit
with a capacity to create us anew, and how to undersand it. He then
related the early Christian behaviour, faced with persecution, and
being thrown to the lions by their persecutors. How the Christians won,
by praying for their persecutors, so defeating Caesar. The freedom to
defy death itself is the freedom held out to each of us by the Easter
We continued with the celebration of Holy Communion, before closing with Hymn 419 - 'Thine be the Glory'.
Good Friday 14 April
Good Friday service tooked at St. Luke's account of our Lord's
crucifixion. Through sermon reflection and song we reflected on that
God commends His love to us, that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
sermon compared the Rev Sydney Chambers, the fictional vicar of
Granchester in Cambridgeshire, an ameteur sleuth, penned by author
James Runcie, the son of Robert Runcie the late Archbishop of
Canterbury in the 1980's, and how his 'who done it' stories
are supposed to improve our memories, to solve the mystery.
of the mysteries of God? Can they ever be solved? Why did Jesus die the
death that He did? This is the mystery that confronts us every Good
Friday. Hugh explored the variety of solutions put forward over
time, before drawing his conclusion. Listen to his sermon to find out
how this 'mystery' unfolds.
Monday 10 April
Palm Sunday, we continued the Easter Week on Monday 10th with the Rev
Ian Cathcart leading the congregation at St. Mungo's. With members from
all the other churches in Penicuik joining our own members Ian explored
'What type of Christian am I?' in his sermon. With each member of the
congregation equipped with a piece of 'silver', and with support
from Rev Ruth Halley, Rev Lynsay Downs and Rev Hugh Davidson, Ian used
the extremes of Judas and Mary, both Christians, but at opposite ends
of the spectrum, to show how we can journey toward the adoration that
Listen again to the key elements of the service.
|Celebration of Gifts Praise Service - 9 April|
Palm Sunday service took the theme 'Celebration of Gifts'. Led by Joan
Cape with music provided by Graham McDonald on piano, Caroline Toms on
Guitar and vocals, and Neil Cape on bass guitar. The service covered
the use of our gifts from God and how we can use them. Joan interviewed
a number of members to find out how they used their 'gifts'. The
readings reflected how God wants us to use our gifts and talents in His
name. A great selection of hymns were sung, and you can listen again to
each part of the service.
|Genesis and God's grace - 12 March|
took the reading from Genesis chapter 12, and the introduction of
Abraham, marking a significant point in the Old Testament, the change
from pre-history to history. The first 11 chapters are known as the
primeveal history, where we find the stories of creation, Adam and Eve,
Kane and Able, Noah and the flood, the tower of Babel etc.
many include places recognisable, still on the map, with people just
like us, there are others, e.g. Methusala, who lived many hundreds of
years. Whilst the period is one of sin and moving further away from
God, with the well deserved punishments forthcoming, the biblical
writers did however record God's continual mercy, never
giving up on His created people. For God so loved the world, he
gave His only son, not to pass judgement on the world, but that the
world may be saved through Him.
|The meaning of Lent - 5 March|
welcomed back the
Rev Hugh Davidson on Sunday 3rd March. Hugh explained in his talk
with the children, the origins of Lent, why and when it
occurs, what it means and what we should think about and do. His
sermon took the Lord's prayer and the origins of 'trespass' an
'debtors', and the rise in credit, which is just debt by another
|If you love me, show me|
Rev Andrew Don theme took the first 10 chapters of Genesis to present
every soap opera situation and story line, all the ills of the world,
lies and deceit, murder etc. How you can find these chapters echoed
across families in Penicuik, broken homes and families, hunger and
poverty. Yet at the end of those chapters there is hope, as the rainbow
appears. From the childrens talk to the closing prayer, the theme
haunts us with tales of those fighting personal demons and what we can
do, by taking the word and love of God to those crying out for help.
|Gods Love is unselfish, unending, and unconditional|
Rev Elisabeth Spence preached on Sunday 19 February taking the theme
God's Love, and usiGods Love is unselfish, unending, and unconditional
ng the childrens talk, readings, and sermon, showed
us how his love is unselfish, unending, and unconditional.
|Decisions Decisions - Moving forward |
Rev Ian Bird led our worship on Sunday 12 February and started his
title theme with the children's talk. Recounting a trip to
Lightwater Theme Park in North Yorks with his children some years ago
he was presented with a 'Dare' from his son to ride the 'Hells Slide'.
This slide started higher then the gallery in the church in a near
vertical fall to the bottom. Decisions Decisions. Keep going and
challenge the dare, or turn back to where he came from. This dichotomy
was developed from the Joshua reading, where Joshua had to cross the
River Jordan in spate, to reach the promised land. Easier to go back?
Again in the Matthew reading where Jesus told
the disciples to go everywhere and make men His disciples.
Easier to go back?
|Salt and Light|
service on Sunday 5 February was led by Sandy Robertson and the Elders.
The readings, poems, stories and sermon reflected the theme of
Salt and Light, taken from Matthews gospel.
|Why does God not answer our 'demands'|
Holocaust Memorial Day on Friday January 27th brought focus to the
theme of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, where he wrote that
'Jews call for miracles' while 'Greeks look for wisdom', while we
'preach Christ crucified'.
This can be rendered as Jews demand
action while Greeks ask for explanation. Hugh's sermon explored how we
often 'demand' God 'do something' to save us, as in the death camps of
the Nazi era. Why does God not answer our demands for help?
|Simon and Andrew - fishers of men |
The gospel reading from Matthew we heard Jesus say to Simon and Andrew to come after Him and He will make them fishers of men.
then turned to the story of 'Lord Hippo' and his overpowering need to
gamble, with the inevitable consequences. Approaching his son, the
'Earl of Pottamus' to be bailed out merely served to fuel his gambling
addiction. The increase in gambling is closely linked to poverty, as a
quick way to riches, always hopeful of that 'windfall'. Being 'hooked'
on gambling, or 'hooked' on Christ was explored, with the gift of hope
Isaiah 9: 2-7 - (Janis Hogg)
Matthew 4: 12-23 - (Fiona hutcheson)
Fishers of men - (Rev Hugh Davidson)
|The baptism of Jesus|
sermon took the gospel story from todays Matthew reading, where Jesus
asked John the Baptist to baptise Him. Such was John the Baptist
surprise, saying that he, John, needed to be baptised by Jesus. John's
baptism was for repentance, but Matthew implies that Jesus was sinless,
thus he could have nothing to repent.
Listen now to hear how this puzzle unfolds.
Isaiah 42: 1-9 - (Dorothy Paterson)
Matthew 3: 13-17 - (Isabel Donachie)
Jesus baptism - (Rev Hugh Davidson)
|Do we really care about the truth?|
the 12 days of Christmas it is tempting for ministers of the church to
offer their allegedly sage reflections on the past 12 months, and to
make perceptive 'prognostications' about the year ahead. Hugh did
resist the urge to follow type, though 2016 had produced more material
ripe for comment than any year he could think of.
however one topic he did take up, that of 'post truth politics'. The
term is not just that politicians are 'economical with the truth', or
the telling of clear 'untruths', but how it gets to the stage that
nobody really cares if what we are being told is true or not! 'Brexit'
is prime example. Does this mean that truth doesn't matter? What is
'truth' was explored, going back to the time of Jesus, Pilate, and the
parables used by Jesus.
Isaiah 60: 1-6 - (Gordon MacDonald)
Matthew 2: 1-2 - (Gordon MacDonald)
Do we care about truth - (Rev Hugh Davidson)
New Years Day
|The Mystery of Christmas|
all know and love the Christmas story, the birth of Jesus. But for the
first 300 years of the Christian Church the birth of Jesus was not
acknowledged or mentioned. Easter, the crucifixion and
resurrection yes, but not His birth.
Hugh took us on journey to solve the mystery, 'Who is Jesus?' which is more intriguing than you can imagine.
Isaiah 63: 7-9 - (Ian Dickson)
Matthew 2: 13-23 - (Christine Jackson)
Mystery of Christmas - (Rev Hugh Davidson)