Bennochy Church
Jacqueline Thomson D.C.S. - Moderator of Kirkcaldy Presbytery

Updated: 20 Sep 2020


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Messages from Jacqueline Thomson D.C.S., Moderator of Kirkcaldy Presbytery

Prayers around the Presbytery #7, 20th September

Stob Cross, Markinch
Stob Cross, Markinch

Lord God we give thanks for all who have led us into the ways of holiness, for all who have shared their vision and their love. Amen.

Prayers around the Presbytery #6, 14th September

Flowers, Leslie Roundabout, Glenrothes
Flowers, Leslie Roundabout, Glenrothes

Living God in our journeying may we draw close to you so that our feet may tread in your footsteps and yours be the glory wherever we may go. Amen.

Prayers around the Presbytery #5, 7th September

Beveridge Park Boating Lake
Beveridge Park Boating Lake

Lord Jesus Christ, as you took time to be still to withdraw from the crowds, so may we use our moments to refresh, renew and inspire us for your service. Amen.

Prayers around the Presbytery #4, 31st August

Turbine viewed from Buckhaven foreshore
Turbine viewed from Buckhaven foreshore

Lord God, Creator of all, we thank you for the air that we breathe and for the ever-changing skies. The rhythm of changing seasons, the warmth of the Summer sun and the sharpness of Autumn days, each remind us that you have given us a world full of beauty and wonder. Teach us to respect your creation and give all glory to you. Amen.

Prayers around the Presbytery #3, 24th August

Links Street Clock, Kirkcaldy
Links Street Clock, Kirkcaldy
Gracious God, You bless us beyond our imagining and use us beyond our hoping, to You be all honour and praise, Amen.

Prayers around the Presbytery #2, 7th August

Dysart from Ravenscraig Castle
Dysart from Ravenscraig Castle

Living God,
God of past, present and future, out of your love you have made all things.

As we journey with you each day, help us to be aware of your constant presence working within and around us, equipping us for your service.

Lord guide us wherever we may travel and in all our serving, may Yours be the glory forever.

Amen

Prayers around the Presbytery #1, 1st August

Our travels may be long or short, to distant lands or just around the corner. In the months ahead all of us will be journeying in some way or the other. Our way of being Church, our way of meeting as a Presbytery, family life, Parish life all moving forward on new paths. Within all these times there is always room for prayer. It is my prayer that in the weeks ahead the images and short prayer I post on the Presbytery website will be a comfort and strength to you, as you reflect on your journey and the way God has planned for you.

West Wemyss Harbour
West Wemyss Harbour

God of the journey may you be our companion and guide.
Directing us to the destination that we long to see.
Amen.

Reflections for Sunday 12th July

Next week I am on ‘Staycation’. Staycation is the new buzz word for a time of rest and relaxation at home.

Rest and relaxation is something that everyone needs. Many folk have their own activities and coping mechanisms that provide a break from the daily pressures of life and I trust you have yours.

Take the computer game for example. Playing the game is absorbing and transports the player into an imaginary world. In the same way a good book, or an absorbing television programme, or captivating film provides an escape from reality and a much needed breather.

We all need rest and relaxation. We all need to set aside time for refreshment and renewal. The wear and tear and challenges of everyday living inevitably take their toll. You need to take ‘time-out’, Jesus did.

The gospels tell us that Jesus regularly withdrew from the demands of his mission and ministry to be alone, to pause and pray, reflect and be renewed.

Whether Jesus walked in the wilderness, or water’s edge, whether he got into a boat or rested at Bethany, Jesus made it a priority to take time out from the demands and pressures of helping and healing, preaching and teaching.

The silence and solitude, the friendship and fellowship helped Jesus to stay focused and prepare for what lay ahead.

Best-selling spiritual director and author, Henri Nouwen wrote, ‘In solitude we discover that our life is not a possession to be defended but a gift to be shared.’

Staycation or vacation, I hope and pray you will benefit from your time-out and be a blessing to others when you return to the fray and share your gift of life.

Prayer for Sunday 12th July

Sovereign Lord, you are the Creator of the ends of the earth, and yet you call us your children. You are greater than we can ever begin to imagine and yet you call us to call you ‘our Father’. You do not keep us at arms length remote n your holiness, but you reach out your hands in love, wanting us to relate to you one to one.

Father forgive us when we fail to follow as you guide us preferring to follow our own inclinations. We live at such a hectic pace, our lives so busy preoccupied with problems, pursuits, plans and responsibilities. In the rush and bustle of each day we too often lose sight of you.

Loving Father, acknowledging these failings we ask that you will remind us of the importance of taking time to rest a while, and not to allow all the needs and necessities of life to overwhelm us.

Gentle and gracious God calm our minds where they are troubled, ease our bodies where they are weary and as many people plan vacations or staycations, help us to rest in your love and in the quietness away from our daily routine find time for you.

Lord of all, draw us closer to you each day so that when we return to our daily routine we may be filled with a new perspective, an inner tranquillity so that we may use all our time more effectively in the service of your Kingdom through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

Reflections for Sunday 5th July

Recently, our weekly services at Buckhaven and Wemyss have been recorded and distributed on Facebook and DVD.

Telephoning the DVD recipients, I received mixed comments.

One gave a withering critique objecting to hymn choice and location. The other offered a generous and cheerful description of the service. The lesson I learned from both calls is this, our attitudes shape us and colour everything.

Each moment of our lives is an opportunity for moral formation and spiritual development. Slowly and surely, we grow into the people that our choices and decisions determine. Our character leaks out through attitudes and is revealed in our behaviour. You cannot hide the real you.

This week, School Chaplains have been saying goodbye to the children moving forward in their school life. The school has helped to mould and make them.

What influence will the next school exert on them? How will the new teacher and new class shape their attitudes and personalities? What will be their priorities?

Like every Jewish boy Jesus spent his formative years studying the Hebrew Scriptures, the Law and the Prophets. He amazed the senior teachers of his day with his insight and understanding.

A lawyer asked Jesus a test question, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

Jesus answered him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Here is a lesson for living.

May God bless pupils, teachers, and support staff as they now officially start their school holidays and enjoy and benefit from rest and renewal in these unprecedented times.

Prayer for Sunday 5th July

Blessed are you Lord our God, for you love us with an everlasting love.
You have given us a world full of beauty and wonder to enjoy and care for.
Father we thank you for all your good gifts to us and for the possibilities each new day brings.
Trusting in your care for all you have created, we put ourselves into Your hands and pray that You will bless us and your people during the wonderful months of summer.
Lord by your grace working within and around us, may we strive to make our homes and villages places of relaxation, joy, love, peace and safety.
Father encourage us to be generous to others with our time and talents always as ready to love our neighbour, as we are to address our own needs this Summer.
May all people catch a glimpse of your glory this year. Amen

Reflections for Sunday 21st June

In the past few weeks the wildlife visiting my garden has increased. A family of hedgehogs and 2 woodpeckers have joined us. These new visitors have scared the resident sparrows and our neighbours cat who disappear quickly out of sight whenever either one appears!

Watching this activity made me consider how do we react when we are faced with something new that scares us? Some people find it easier to run away, while others stand their ground and confront whatever frightens them. Fight or flight which would you choose?

Presently all our fears are increased. Consider a shopping trip and the realisation that everyone around you is ignoring the government rules of social distancing. Or when emails arrive describing return to work rituals in finer detail test our capabilities. Fear and uncertainty is growing. Yet at the same time hope is growing too. Since the pandemic started, I have maintained weekly contact with members of our Church family. Nearly every conversation has ended with them saying ‘Hope to see you soon’ or ‘Hope we can get back to normality soon’.

In the language of the New Testament, the meaning of hope suggests a much more and confident expectation than a fleeting expression as this. Hope in the Bible is a rock solid confidence that God is as good as his word and we can be comforted by this. It is with this meaning of hope that Christians equip themselves and journey on in the knowledge that God cares for us in all our changing circumstances as he cares for all the gifts of his creating. Matthew 10:24-39 The poet Emily Dickinson puts it well “Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.”

God Bless,

Jacqueline

Prayer for Sunday 21st June

Blessed are you Lord our God, for you call us to know you and to love you. Father you created this world out of your goodness and pour your love upon it. All things are precious in your sight and all are valued.

Sovereign God we cannot always make sense of life. We feel frustrated when things don’t work out as we hope, we become frightened when the way we thought you were leading us no longer feels right. Our hearts are troubled when doors that once had beckoned suddenly seem closed firmly in our face. We cannot be sure whether such moments are meant to happen or whether they run counter to your purpose, but what we know for certain is that where one door closes you are able to open another.

Loving God in these unprecedented times, help us as your Church to be ready to serve the needs of our community and the world. Help us to trust in you to guide us as we journey on looking forward in hope to what is to come and to be ready to grasp the future, responding to each opportunity you give us as it comes. In the name of Christ we ask it. Amen

Messages from Jacqueline Thomson D.C.S., Moderator of Kirkcaldy Presbytery

Reflections for Sunday 14th June

I recently came across a wonderful quotation it was from Corrie Ten Boom ‘Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.’ In these past months I guess most of us have had times when we have endured a time of worry, even although we know worry is futile. When our loved ones are in any kind of danger or our welfare is threatened, we would be less than human not to worry about it.

In this time of lockdown I have been encouraged by stories of individuals who in their unique ways have made a positive difference in the lives of others in the face of this adversity. A neighbour has used her skill to create beautiful facemasks and sold them to raise £1500 pounds for a children’s cancer charity. Several local Church groups have been providing knitted hearts to patients who are critically ill, with family members then given matching versions. These thoughtful and kind acts happening in all our communities say much about how people are responding to demonstrate care and concern. The Church in the midst of this is continuing to proclaim it’s message of love and support to whoever requires it.

Sometimes however we may still worry about the people in our Church and our World. Yet as Mark records in the parable of the mustard seed, in these anxious times as God encouraged his first disciples to be patient, God speaks to us today. The Kingdom of God is still growing around us and we can prepare for its growth in us and in others, by keeping the faith and sharing faith in whatever way we feel called to do. As it is written in 1 Peter 5:7 When challenging times come ‘ cast all your anxiety on God because he cares for you’.

Holding you all in my thoughts and prayers,

Jacqueline

Prayer for Sunday 14th June

Blessed are you, Lord our God, You created us each uniquely in your image and likeness, in all shapes and sizes and complexions. Loving Father You have given us a wonderful world to live in and given us life and all that we need and much to enjoy.

Good and gracious God you have called us to share in the inheritance of your saints and You equip us for our journey and yet sometimes we become distracted in our service by the temptations of the world around us. Father forgive us and help us to keep our eyes fixed on you. Make us worthy of our calling that we may be the people you want us to be. Give us grace as we reach out to people who do not know you yet and those who do know you and want to love you more.

We pray for our government and all governments of the world and ask that all who are in positions of power use their office to the benefit of others and the good of all. Lord we put our trust in you at all times and in this time of pandemic we give thanks for all who are involved in medical research and those who work for the health and well-being of our world. Gracious God, give skill, sympathy and resilience to all who are caring for the sick, and grant wisdom to those searching for a cure. Strengthen them with your Spirit, that through their work many will be restored to good health.

Lord hear us and help us as we give thanks for the gift of eternal life. We rejoice in the fellowship of all your saints and ask your blessing upon our loved ones and friends departed and pray that they may rejoice in the fullness of your love and their presence in your kingdom.

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

Reflections for Sunday 7th June

“Talent, you either have it or you don’t!” Dancers say it, singers say it, golfers say it and they are wrong. According to Michael Jordan the greatest basketball player of all time, “Talent wins games but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”

Those of us involved in filming Church Services know that this venture takes teamwork, intelligence, and developing new skills. Aristotle was right, ‘ Habit is what keeps you going and developing. Skill emerges through the rigours of disciplined and persistent practice’.The same principles apply to character building, spiritual development and faithful discipleship.

Writing to the Philippians Paul makes the point, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mind set as Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross!”

This Sunday is Trinity Sunday the day when we reflect on, God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Bible never uses the word ‘Trinity’. It tells of the power and presence of God and the experience of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Catherine of Siena put it this way, “You, Eternal Trinity, are my Creator, and I am the work of Your hands, and I know through the new creation which You have given me in the blood of Your Son, that You are enamoured of the beauty of Your workmanship.”

God Bless

Jacqueline

Reflection and Prayer for Pentecost (31st May 2020)

Birthdays should be happy events when we celebrate the continuity of life. That certainly is the case today in our family in two very different, though uniquely special ways. Owen my only grandson becomes a teenager and it is Pentecost the Churches birthday. The birthday party for Owen will be one restricted in number by the barriers set upon us by government lockdown rules. The Churches birthday this year however, will be celebrated by many faith organisations quite differently and I suggest probably even more widely than ever before.

The doors of our local churches are locked, but many people will break this barrier down by celebrating Pentecost using the computer resources available to them, reaching a much wider audience than any usual Church congregation. The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland Reverend Dr. Martin Fair leading the way on the Worldwide web and Facebook at 10am.

At Pentecost we celebrate that all barriers are stripped away, old divisions are challenged, old ways of living and dare I say it worshipping are questioned and put to the side. The reason for all of this is the impact Jesus’ lifestyle made on the first disciples and how by the power of the Spirit they were equipped and enable to go out and proclaim the good news of the gospel.

In the past weeks many people have felt the strain of physical barriers being held upon us. For most people it has been felt most strongly in the way that friendships have ceased to be face to face. However, now as the r number is lowering we can see all our efforts making a positive difference. Perhaps this news will encourage us this Pentecost to continue to obey the government rules, and celebrate remembering that it is the same Spirit that filled the room of the disciples, equipping and enabling them to move forward in their own faith journey that fill’s our lives too.

God Bless,

Jacqueline

Prayer for Pentecost

God of wonder and mystery we tend to associate the gift of the Spirit with the day of Pentecost. That day when you changed the thoughts and lives of the first disciples, the day known now as the birthday of the Church.

Yet as wonderful as that day was we ask that you will help us to remember that your Spirit is working within and around us now. Father, you want to transform our lives, to open the door to new horizons of work and worship, but often we close our hearts and try to tie you down to our own rules. Forgive us take away our stumbling discipleship, energise our lives and by the breath of your Spirit, give us power for our daily living. Equip us to strive to break barriers down that restrict the serving of your people, open our hearts to your presence flowing within and build us up so that we may live and work more faithfully for you.

Amen.

Reflection & Prayer (Sunday 24th May)

How are you all? In the past few weeks my technological skills have improved greatly. I am finding the Zoom computer software experience really uplifting and look forward to sharing in this way with you at our next Presbytery meeting.

Something I reflect upon after participating in a zoom meeting, is not only what has been discussed and the joy of seeing people face to face, but how the host has an opportunity to mute or unmute people’s voices! Something we cannot normally do in regular meeting times. There is also a special time at the close of each meeting when everyone says goodbye. Perhaps you have noticed this already? It is wonderful to hear the different voices saying goodbye, goodbye, see you soon, catch up with you later, endless goodbyes!

In normal times of our daily living I would suggest before the lockdown, people gave less thought to the words they said in parting from one another either at a meeting or otherwise. However, the social distancing rules we follow now make us reconsider just how valuable these moments really were.

Earlier this week the Ascension of our Lord was celebrated, the moment when Jesus left this mortal world and returned to heaven it was a time of goodbye. However, Jesus was not saying goodbye forever. Jesus was taking his rightful position, as Paul tells us and the Ephesians, ‘Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, as ruler of everything. He is the head of the church, and we as the church are his body. Ephesians 1;20-23. Before the Ascension Jesus charged the Apostles to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. Those who had seen Jesus were to proclaim the good news that Jesus had proclaimed, they were to live and act as Jesus had, they were to be Christ-like in the world and today the baton has passed to us. The Ascension is a reminder of God’s faithfulness to us.

During these unprecedented times we journey through, with all the fears and uncertainties we are facing at home and at our workplace, not to mention how we will progress economically. Let us keep mindful that despite the darkness being present around us, that Christ by His triumph over evil and death, and by His glorious Ascension into heaven has shown us the path forward. In our union with Him we can journey on a path of light and hope, free from darkness and despair. Let us all bear this same hope, and the same light of Christ in our own lives, by sharing them through our words, actions and deeds.

The Prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi guides us -

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.

Prayer (Sunday 17th May)

Blessed are you Lord God, for in your son Jesus Christ you have triumphed over darkness and death and opened to us the way to eternal life. Through Christ our saviour you have given us new hope and joy, as we rejoice in your presence may we give all glory to you.

Father, we give thanks for Jesus the good shepherd and we pray for all who are called in his ministry as shepherds and guides of your flock.

We pray for all church leaders, remembering especially Right Reverend Colin Sinclair and his wife Ruth who through their personal witness this year, visiting many places at home and overseas have brought comfort and joy to so many of your people.

Father as a new Moderator of the General Assembly has been installed we offer you our prayers for Right Reverend Dr Martin Fair and his wife Elaine as they embark on a journey of unknown territory to them. Bless them in their daily duties and remind them that you have promised that whatever you ask anyone to do, you will enable them to fulfil it.

Inspire us then too in our own discipleship, to respond in faith, confident that in your strength no task is too hard to take on, and no challenge so daunting that we cannot meet it.

Lord forgive us that we sometimes lose sight of the great things you have done and the wonders you have yet to reveal. Draw near in love, and open our hearts to all the ways you are at work, so we may grasp each day a little more of your greatness while marvelling at your love and rejoicing in your many blessings to us.

Loving Father in our care and concern for others, we pray for the people we know who are in hospital, hospice and care home, we seek your blessing of comfort and healing to rest upon them. And in these difficult times of lockdown we ask your blessing of healing on all who are ill with the coronavirus, and with deep sadness we offer our prayers for the families of those who have tragically died.

Gracious God ever mindful of your presence among us, help us to follow you faithfully and bless us as we offer our prayers for our loved ones departed, may they share with your saints in glory. To you and your unfailing love we commit ourselves and the whole world in time and for eternity. Amen.

Reflection (Sunday 17th May)

Today our world is filled with technology which is equipped to respond to most of our needs through voice recognition programmes. Watches, tv’s, lights, heating and vacuuming can be activated by your voice!

Some voices now in respect of this advance in technology we may miss and when we hear them again they are like old friends. The voice we remember stirs our memory and takes us back to earlier times filling our minds with pleasure.

This occurred while I was in a queue at the village shop. Ben age 2 years old, decided that he had long enough time sitting in his buggy as his mum followed the social distancing rules and waited to enter the shop.

Ben’s screams of dismay reminded me of the times when I spent time visiting the local schools. At school gates there can be an opportunity to chat with parents with children similar age to Ben and older. I miss that interaction.

In ‘Simply Christian’ the scholar N.T. Wright states that human yearning for things such as this are echoes of a voice, a voice we have known from the beginning of time. These spiritual yearnings point to their author our Creator God and Jesus as God’s son fulfils the yearnings of his people as their shepherd. The shepherd is close at hand, within voice distance calling to his sheep.

Tomorrow, through the use of technology, we shall have an opportunity to hear on the web the voices of two followers of Jesus, who have responded to Christ’s call in a very special way. There shall be thanks being given for the Modetorial year of the Right Reverend Colin Sinclair, who has so compassionately used his unique gifts to get alongside people nationally and internationally as the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland’s representative. We will also have an opportunity to offer our prayers for the newly installed Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Right Reverend Dr Martin Fair. Both moderators are unique living examples of people who have followed Jesus, listened to his voice and trusted in Jesus to shape their lives.

Colin stepped out on his Modetorial year following an established pattern. Martin however steps into his role into new terrority, as he has said himself ‘Without a map’. With God Martin shall journey onwards into an unknown future with Jesus as his refuge, guide and strength.

In these unprecedented times where many human voices are being stifled through illness and self-isolation, it seems important to continue to let Christ’s voice be heard in our prayers for these vulnerable people. And let us at the same time pray for the people who each day journey on trusting in Jesus to guide their own life journey, including those we meet in queues and those whose voice we miss.

As the bible encourages us in the days ahead ‘ Listen for God’s voice in everything you do; and everywhere you go He’s the one who will keep you on track ‘ Proverbs 3:6

Prayer (Sunday 10th May)

Blessed are you the God and Father of us all. Through Jesus Christ you have broken the power of sin and death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

Father, You freely offer us your love and you call us to follow you all the days of our lives. We thank you for your action in our lives and seek your forgiveness for the times when we have chosen to ignore you and wandered on our own pathways.

We ask your blessing on all who share your pastoral ministry on earth, remembering to you all carers, doctors and nurses as they care for your people of every age at this difficult time, journeying through a pandemic due to the coronavirus. Lord work within and around us and help us to be instruments of your peace, bringing love and comfort where that is needed.

With thanksgiving and in a week when VE Day has been commemorated, we ask that as we remember the selfless and courageous service of others, that you will guide us to serve you and all human kind in the cause of peace.

Gracious God for the assurance that in you we will find the meaning we seek for our own lives, we ask that you will keep us mindful of the people in situations all around the world that need our support and teach us how to address them. Bless all who work for Christian Aid and other charities who reach out to all who are in need.

Loving God, Lord of life and life eternal, You are the God who takes our weakness and makes us strong, and in your presence we ask that you will bless our loved ones departed that in fellowship with all your saints, they may rejoice in the fullness of your presence and glory. In Jesus name we pray. Amen

Reflection (Sunday 10th May)

Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary. Along the way, during these 37 years, much has happened to us. We have been much blessed by the gift of children and the support of a loving family and good friends.

There have been tough times too, looking back over these times throughout it all, God has journeyed with us. His presence of comfort felt particularly during the hardest times.

With the news of another three- week lockdown due to the Coronavirus this in all our time together challenges us. We miss the face to face encounters with family, friends and colleagues. We share the pain of families whose loved ones are ill or have died. How I ponder will we look back on these days in the years to come?

If anything can help to console us during these difficult times are the words that our society have made familiar to us such as ‘We are in this together or We’ll meet again’ But more than these words are the numerous Bible passages that confirm God holds us in his loving care at every stage of our lives. Whoever we are, whether we feel at peace or restless and anxious. A favourite of mine is to be found in Isaiah 41 where we read of God’s assurance to Israel which is applicable to us today.

Just the other day a card arrived at our home, another way of letting people know that you are thinking of them. As I opened the card another smaller card fell to the ground, it was the modern Footprints poem. We see this poem on mugs, tea towels and all manner of other places. Some people regard it as a cute way of spreading God’s word and yet it can be such a strength and support to others.

In the days ahead I pray that whatever way you express a message of comfort amongst your friends that in return you can be comforted with the words shared with you. I am holding you all in my thoughts and prayers.

God Bless you all, Jacqueline

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."

He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you

Reflection (Sunday 3rd May)

Today our world is filled with technology which is equipped to respond to most of our needs through voice recognition programmes. Watches, tv’s, lights, heating and vacuuming can be activated by your voice!

Some voices now in respect of this advance in technology we may miss and when we hear them again they are like old friends. The voice we remember stirs our memory and takes us back to earlier times filling our minds with pleasure.

This occurred while I was in a queue at the shop. Ben age 2 years old, decided that he had long enough time sitting in his buggy as his mum followed the social distancing rules and waited to enter the shop.

Ben’s screams of dismay reminded me of the times when I spent time visiting the local schools. At school gates there can be an opportunity to chat with parents with children similar age to Ben. I miss that interaction.

In ‘Simply Christian’ the scholar N.T. Wright states that human yearning for things such as this are echoes of a voice, a voice we have known from the beginning of time. These spiritual yearnings point to their author our Creator God and Jesus as God’s son fulfils the yearnings of his people as their shepherd. The shepherd is close at hand, within voice distance calling to his sheep.

This Sunday is the 4th Sunday of Easter, a time when in many churches Christians reflect on John’s gospel as he records that Christ as the Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. It is an opportunity perhaps to reflect upon the difficulties Jesus faced in his ministry where some people wanted to follow him and others ignored his voice.

Yesterday, again through the use of technology, we had an opportunity to hear on the web the voices of two followers of Jesus, who have responded to Christ’s call in a very special way. We heard thanks being given for the Modetorial year of the Right Reverend Colin Sinclair, who has so compassionately while displaying his unique gifts of grace and compassion got alongside people nationally and internationally as the Churches representative. We were also able to join together to offer our prayers for the newly installed Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Right Reverend Dr Martin Fair. Both moderators are unique living examples of people who have followed Jesus and trusted in Jesus to shape their lives.

Colin stepped out on his Modetorial year following an established pattern. Martin however steps into his role into new terrority, as he said himself ‘Without a map’. With God Martin shall journey onwards into an unknown future with Jesus as his refuge, guide and strength.

In these unprecedented times where human voices are being stifled through illness and self-isolation, and many people live in fear, it seems important to continue to let Christ’s voice be heard in our prayers for these people. So let us pray for all who lead in our Churches and Communities and let us remember the people who need to know that we care for them at this time, those we meet in queues and those whose voice we miss.

As the bible encourages us ‘ Listen for God’s voice in everything you do; and everywhere you go He’s the one who will keep you on track ‘ Proverbs 3:6

A Prayer for Sunday

Blessed are you Lord God, for in your son Jesus Christ you have triumphed over darkness and death and opened to us the way to eternal life. Through Christ our saviour you have given us new hope and joy, as we rejoice in your presence may we give all glory to you.

Father, we give thanks for Jesus our good shepherd the one who directs every step of our daily living and we ask that by your gift of the Holy Spirit you will help all people to hear and follow your voice.

We pray for all church leaders, called by you to help build your kingdom here on earth and seek your blessing today on the moderator of the General Assembly Right Reverend Colin Sinclair and his wife Ruth, who through their witness visiting many places at home and overseas have brought comfort and joy to your people of every age and circumstance.

As we remember them we offer our prayers for all people who follow your call serving others and ask your blessing on those who are employed as key workers in the Caring Profession, doctors, nurses, and auxiliary staff. May your loving power be a sense of comfort to them as they strive to heal and take away fear and anxiety in the lives of all who are suffering from the exposure of the Coronavirus. God of compassion remind these servants of yours that you have promised us that whatever you ask anyone to do, you will enable them to fulfil it, your Spirit is always there to encourage and your hand to guide them.

Loving Father in our own discipleship, aid us to respond to the needs we notice around us, confident that in your strength no task is too hard to take on and no challenge so daunting that we cannot meet it.

Lord forgive us that we sometimes lose sight of the great things you have done and the wonders you have yet to reveal. Draw near in love, and open our hearts to all the ways you are at work, so we may grasp each day a little more of who and what you are, proclaiming you as our shepherd, marvelling at your love and rejoicing in your many blessings to us.

In our care and concern for others in these difficult times of lockdown we pray for the people we know who are in hospital and those who are undergoing hospital treatment while still living at home. Help these people to know that you journey with them and that nothing can ever separate them from your love.

Gracious God ever mindful of your presence among us all, we give thanks that in your grace you offer us eternal life. We rejoice in the fellowship of all the saints and we pray for our loved ones who are departed from us, may we with them have a share in your eternal kingdom.

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.

Emmaus Reflection (Sunday 26th April)

An enjoyable part of living near the coast is that on fair weather days there is every chance you may meet someone out walking on your journey. In West Wemyss yesterday I met a gentleman who was in the process of examining his feet at the roadside as I got out of my car. The gentleman smiled at me and in return I asked him if he was okay and he responded by saying ‘ Yes I am thanks just a bit weary’. Intrigued by his response I continued in conversation with him and it became apparent that this traveller had lost his way!

The sign post he was following had obviously been mischievously turned around and as he had followed the road in the wrong direction, he had to double back on himself and endured an exceptionally long journey.

This Sunday many Churches through the use of technology will convey the story of two disciples who were on a journey following the crucifixion and resurrection of our Risen Lord. Two people who travelled on the road to Emmaus. What we learn in this story is that our Lord’s return was not self evident to everyone.

On the road to Emmaus we are given an insight into two people, who similar to the gentleman in West Wemyss, are a little confused about the way they should proceed. The two disciples after witnessing our Lord’s crucifixion were distraught with grief believing that they would never see their friend again and while there have been many suggestions to why the disciples did not recognise Jesus, it is not until Jesus walk alongside and engages in conversation with them on the road that they recognise Jesus.

Today many of us are on a journey which involves meeting people whose hopes and dreams have been shattered too in a number of vastly different ways. However, in acknowledgement of these difficult times we can also be encouraged that in our communities each day many people are reaching out into the heart of our communities with a genuine desire to let people of every age known that they are both loved and cared for by the Church and other organisations.

People are telephoning each other, sending letter’s, texting each other, adding posts on Facebook, leaving food gifts on doorsteps. Kindness is being expressed in so many ways to people even with the restrictions set upon us. As Mother Teresa famously said ‘It’s not about how much you do, but how much love you put into what you do that counts’.

May God Bless everyone in whatever way it is that you are involved in serving God and his people this week. We are on this journey together, we will get there, with God who guides and cares for us every step of the way.

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Keep safe, Keep well.

A Prayer for Strength

LOVING God, you created this beautiful world for us to share and enjoy, all things are precious in your sight and all are valued. Father we thank you for your amazing grace, your love of us as we are, despite all our faults.

Gracious Father in these times of trial help us to remember that you journey with us as we live through times when we are asked to physically distance ourselves from others and remind us that this does not mean socially, spiritually or compassionately. Help us to keep connected to others by our prayers, our use of technology, small acts of kindness and thoughtful deeds.

And caring God when we in our weakness might feel powerless to do anything to make a positive difference in this world, Lord, let us reach out to you, as you reach out to us. May your compassion shine through and may hope permeate all our fears and all our doubts.

Lord, in this time of challenge, when we feel lost and disorientated be the foundation on which we can rebuild, be the map that shows us the way and may the peace we so often pray for begin here and now with us. Amen.

A Prayer and Reflection (Sunday 19th April)

Second Sunday of Easter - Easter Prayer

Lord Jesus worthy of praise from every mouth we rejoice in the good news of your resurrection. We give thanks for the opportunity we have to consider the joy and comfort you brought to Mary in the garden and with the woman you met who were returning from the tomb that first Easter morning.

Lord with your rising you brought hope to your apostles after a time with dismay and fear they had locked themselves in a room hoping to shut out the attention of the world around them. Father on this day when we might be tempted to do the same and withdraw from the reality of dark times around us, forgive us and help us to trust in your power to see us through. Save us from doubt, remind us that your love for us is constant.

Bless your Church and each community as it strives to bring comfort to your people while responding to every need through this pandemic spiritually or practically. Grant a sense of your peace to be held within all whose work involves caring for the sick, those who are employed by the NHS and in care homes and other voluntary support groups.

Father we ask your blessing of comfort upon our families, friends and neighbours, remembering especially among them the people who are ill and the homes whether there has been a recent death.

Loving Father we rejoice in the gift of eternal life and in the fellowship of all your saints. May we share with them in the fullness of your kingdom in Glory. Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

Times of Doubt Easter Reflection

In the past days I have had an opportunity to reflect on my life story. Knowing your ‘Life Story’ helps you understand your failures and success and enables you to modify your behaviour.

For example I know that I shouldn’t watch that favourite film that is on late. But I do and then suffer the next day from exhaustion and tiredness that comes from lack of sleep. Lacking self-discipline, I end up eating far too many sugarladen goodies and thereby increase the risk of ill-health. It is only when I have an impending doctor’s appointment that I am motivated to forget the chocolate “After Eight” feast. Life’s like that. It is only when you really believe that you modify your behaviour.

Thomas, not Doubting Thomas, but honest Thomas, questioning Thomas, searching Thomas, needed to really believe and be reassured before he could modify his behaviour. Thomas wasn’t one of the inner-circle of disciples like Peter and Andrew, or James and John but he was with Jesus in Bethany when Lazarus died.

He was present in the Upper Room when Jesus talked about his approaching death, and it is to Thomas’ question that Jesus declares, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

Thomas was not present when Jesus came to the disciples Immediately after the resurrection. “We have seen the Lord” they said. Thomas replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”

When Jesus comes into their midst again, Thomas is present and without touching the wounds, declared his belief, “My Lord, and my God!” Legend has it that in later year Thomas travelled to India, where he was martyred.

Today, when so many people seek evidence of God’s presence and proof of God being there in the best of times and worst of times, Thomas’ life story and experience helps.

Jesus is present with us not only during the high days and holy days, but also during the days when the sparkle has gone and fear and doubt set in because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jesus is present with us not only when our faith is strong and positive, but also during the days when doubts gnaw at us, and fear affects our wellbeing.

The God of Resurrection is the Jesus of Thomas’ experience. He stands with us, cries with us, shares our loss, shoulders the pain and through grace enables us to declare, with Thomas, “My Lord and my God!”

A Prayer and Reflection (Tuesday 7th April)

Good afternoon, this morning it was important for me to travel to Kirkcaldy. When I arrived there a person was walking along the road wearing black trousers, jacket and a top hat. Strange attire you might well say for 9am in the morning, however, I was further challenged by the sight of this person as they turned around to notice that the person, and I could not say either if they were male or female was wearing a full face raven mask! Perhaps you also saw this person this morning. I share my sightings with you to illustrate that these are some of the extra-ordinary length’s people are going to in their aim to protect themselves from the Coronavirus. People are terrified about catching the disease.

As a Church we want to comfort these people in their anxiety and if we can help them to stay safe. In the community of Levenmouth several hundreds of leaflets were distributed offering details of local organisations who might be able to assist in such times as these the Churches included.

As a Church family we offer ourselves to the service of others in so many ways. By being a voice that will listen to numerous questions asked of us, or more practically by being able to support by delivering medicine or items of food and by being a comfort to those who have recently been bereaved. We do whatever we can.

On this Tuesday of Holy Week online and on Face Book our Churches will offer times of worship which will include considering again the situation of how the conspiracies to entrap Jesus escalated and Jesus was questioned by the members of the Sanhedrin. Jesus was asked who he was and where did he fit in to the city of Jerusalem. Jesus was unsettled by the many questions that were asked of him. However, despite all the questioning and the cost to himself Jesus continued his journey which led to the cross, for our sake.

In the days ahead I want you to know that I will be holding you all in my thoughts and prayers as you hold onto doing what feels right for you. Serving God, either by preparing worship services or by being a practical help to your neighbour in need or both.

These are difficult times, but in our unity and our support of one another we will get through them. In respect of the restrictions upon us I am aware many people feel isolated, in respect of this I am offering an opportunity to everyone who is a member of our Presbytery to chat with me personally for a short time on Skype. Details of how to do this are detailed below.

Till we chat or meet up again take care, and as our service to God continues, may God help us all to offer this faithfully every moment of every day to the glory of his name. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ as we remember your journey through Holy Week we are reminded that you did not take the easy way, the path of popular acclaim. Rather you took the way of truth, love and service and you followed it faithfully, undeterred by the consequences intent on serving others rather than yourself. Father we thankyou for your love and compassion and we ask for your forgiveness for our willingness to compromise even when we know the way we ought to take. Lord remind us that you refused to count the cost and give us courage to walk the way of discipleship and by your grace to stay true to you.

Lord of all the world help us to glorify your name as we give thanks for all who do medical research and all who work for the health and well-being of our world. We remember to you all who are in pain or distress, those who are ill at home or in hospital let your presence bring comfort to the suffering, may they know your love and care.

Holy and strong God we offer you our thanks for the power of the resurrection and that you offer us life eternal. We remember all who have lost loved ones this week and we pray for our loved ones departed. Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Skype Details

A Reflection (Wednesday 1st April)

I cannot begin to imagine how you are feeling today. The Corona virus pandemic affects us all and each day feels strange for all of us and different from what is the norm.

Some people choose to ignore the whole situation and others pretend that they are coping with what is going on. The fact is we can rise above it; we can live through it; but we cannot ignore it and we should not let it overwhelm us.

Matthew tells us that Jesus promised that he would never leave us or forsake us. (Matt 28:20). These are enabling words, worthy of reflection and worth sharing.

We may not know what the future holds but we know who holds the future and that makes all the difference.

When he was a small boy, Robert Louis Stevenson, was a regular visitor to Leven. The family had their own pew in what was then the Forman Church. The famous 19th century Scottish novelist had bronchial problems and the sea air no doubt helped.

R. L. Stevenson was born and brought up in Edinburgh. One evening the young Stevenson was sitting gazing out of the window of the family home. He was watching the ‘comings and goings’ as the evening shadows faded and dusk gave way to the darkness.

Fascinated by the lamplighter, coming down the street lighting the gas street lamps as he journeyed on the young R. L. Stevenson got very excited. “Look,” he shouted to his nanny, “there is a man coming down the street punching holes in the darkness!”

Here is an insightful image for the darkness of this pandemic we find ourselves in.

John reminds us that Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

So we pray, Lord help us to punch holes in the darkness. Enable us to be agents of help and healing.

Stay safe. Stay well.

Jacqueline.

A Prayer (Thursday 19th March)

God is our refuge and strength in times of trouble.

Let us pray together,

Gracious God, you are above all, beneath all, beyond all, within all. Lord you came to our world as the King of Kings and Lord of lords, yet also as the servant of all.

As your servants today, we acknowledge you as God who hurts with humanity. Father, we pour out our hearts to you in sadness, grief and disbelief as the pandemic virus which develops around us frightens us.

In every town, village and country, people’s lives are being limited and torn apart by this devastating virus and Lord we pray that very soon a cure maybe found.

We ask that you shall grant wisdom to the scientists who seek to end this devastation which we witness, and we seek protection to the professional people, doctors, nurses, and carers who are striving to care for your people in these most difficult and dangerous circumstances.

We pray for clear guidance to be given to the decision makers who serve on our government, health boards, and councils as they strive to make policys aiming to keep us safe while caring for us and our every need.

As your servants we pray, Living Lord, that in all our listening, hearing and responding to your people who feel vulnerable, that we can do so with compassion and as we wrestle now each day in these difficult circumstances, we offer you our prayers for the people who have lost loved ones, those who are overwhelmed by sorrow. We pray for them in their shock, hurt and bewilderment. Grant each one who mourns the comfort you have promised to all who mourn; encircle them in your loving arms and may the support of friends and family and the knowledge that, in Christ, nothing can finally separate them or us from your comfort bringing love.

Compassionate God fill us with your peace; remind us that whatever we fear, your love is able to see us through it. Gracious God take this broken world, and through your grace, bring healing.

Reach out to us and through us, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord in whose name we pray.

Amen.

Jacqueline Thomson D.C.S. - Moderator of Kirkcaldy Presbytery