Happy are the people the Lord has chosen as his own



Grace and peace to you from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen


Almighty God
to whom all hearts be open
all desires known
and from whom no secrets are hidden;
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you
and worthily magnify your holy name
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. Amen. Lord, have mercy.


God is love and we are God’s children.
There is no room for fear in love.
We love because God loved us first.
Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

God our Father, we confess to you
and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ
that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,
and in what we have failed to do.
We are truly sorry.
Forgive us our sins,
and deliver us from the power of evil,
for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.


May the God of love and power
forgive you and free you from your sins,
heal and strengthen you by his Spirit
and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

sung by Sue Turner


Open your merciful ears, O Lord,
to the prayers of your humble servants:
and, that you would graciously grant what we ask,
make us desire what is pleasing in your sight;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end. Amen

Isaiah 1: 1, 10-20
read by Robyn Brotherston

Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Sodom!

Listen to the teaching of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!

What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls
or of lambs or of goats.

When you come to appear before me,
who asked this from your hand?
Trample my courts no more!
Bringing offerings is futile;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and calling of convocation—
I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity.
Your new moons and your appointed festivals
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
When you stretch out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.

Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove your evil deeds
from before my eyes;
cease to do evil;
learn to do good;
seek justice;
rescue the oppressed;
defend the orphan;
plead for the widow.

Come now, let us argue it out,
says the Lord:

If your sins are like scarlet,
will they become like snow?
If they are red like crimson,
will they become like wool?
If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land,
but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be devoured by the sword,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Hebrews 11: 1-3, 8-16
read by Annabelle Guthrie

The Meaning of Faith

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

The Faith of Abraham

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance, and he set out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith, with Sarah’s involvement, he received power of procreation, even though he was too old, because he considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore, from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.”

All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better homeland, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.


Luke 12:32-40
read by Rev James Clark Maxwell

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Luke chapter 12 beginning at verse 32

Glory to Christ our Saviour.

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Watchful Slaves

“Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night or near dawn and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

“But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious gospel

Praise to Christ our Lord


Our thoughts turn today to the book of Hebrews and to chapter 11 that is often referred to as the hall of fame. This hall of fame is loved by Christians but is held by suspicion and scepticism by our current secular age. Many see no point in going to church, even some believers question why should they attend church, what difference does it make to their faith, can they not worship God just as well up in the hills or on the beach? A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday.  “I’ve gone for 30 years now,” he wrote, “and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons.  But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them.  So, I think I’m wasting my time and the Rectors are wasting their time by giving sermons at all.” This started a real controversy in the “Letters to the Editor” column, much to the delight of the editor. 

It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher: “I’ve been married for 30 years now.  In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals.  But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals.  But I do know this… They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work.  If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today.  Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!” Nourishment helps our faith to grow. Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible! As the writer of the letter to the Hebrews said- Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Trusting in God and relying on him are not without their challenges! Faith is not something that people today give a lot of credit too. Faith is often dismissed as our own thoughts, images and ideas but for the initiated it is about a deep and personal trust in the God who holds us lovingly in his hand, in the God who leads and directs us in kingdom living and in the God who wants the best for us and for others. Indeed, God wants us to place wholeheartedly our faith in him.

Placing our wholehearted faith in God is challenging as one young man discovered after his Wednesday night bible study. The Rector had spoken about faith, about listening to God and about obeying the Lord’s voice. The young man couldn’t help but wonder, “Do I have the faith to believe in a God who still speaks to people today? After the service he went out with some friends for coffee and cake and they continued to discuss the message of the evening’s bible study.

Several different ones talked about their faith and how God had led them in different ways. It was about ten o’clock when the young man started driving home. Sitting in his car, he just began to pray, Increase my faith! God, if you do still speak to people, speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to obey.” As he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought to stop and buy 2 litres of milk. He shook his head and said out loud, “God is that you?” He didn’t get a reply, so he started on toward home. But again, the thought came to him… buy 2 litres of milk.

The young man thought about Samuel, and how he didn’t recognize the voice of God, and how little Samuel ran to Eli. “Okay, God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk.” It didn’t seem like too hard a test of obedience. He could always use the milk. So, he stopped and purchased the 2 litres of milk and started toward home. As he passed a narrow street, he again felt the urge, “Turn down that street.” This is crazy, he thought, and drove on past the narrow street. Again, he felt that he should turn down the narrow street. At the next junction, he turned back and headed down the narrow street. Half- jokingly, he said out loud, “Okay, God, I will”. He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop. He pulled over to the curb and looked around. He was in a semi-commercial area of town. It wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst of neighbourhoods either. The businesses were closed and most of the houses looked dark, like people were already in bed. Again, he sensed something, “Go and give the milk to the people in the house across the street.” The young man looked at the house. It was dark and it looked like the people were either gone or they were already asleep. He started to open the door and then sat back in the car seat. “Lord, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they are going to be mad and I will look stupid.” Again, he felt like he should go and give the milk. Finally, he opened the door and said, “Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I will give them the milk. If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want to be obedient. I guess that will count for something but, if they don’t answer right away, I am out of here. ”

He walked across the street and rang the bell. He could hear some noise inside. A man’s voice yelled out, “Who is it? What do you want?” Then the door opened before the young man could get away. The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he just got out of bed. He had a strange look on his face and he didn’t seem too happy to have some stranger standing on his doorstep. The man asked, “What is it?” The young man thrust out the 2 litres of milk and said, “Here, I brought this to you,” he said. The man took the milk and rushed down a hallway speaking loudly in Spanish. Then from down the hall came a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen. The man was following her holding a baby. The baby was crying. The man had tears streaming down his face. The man began speaking and half crying, “We were just praying. We had some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We didn’t have any milk for our baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk.” His wife in the kitchen yelled out, “I ask him to send an angel with some. Are you an Angel?” The young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him and put it in the man’s hand. Then he turned and walked back toward his car and tears were streaming down his face. He knew then that God does still speak to people… and answer prayers. His faith grew that night and he realised that his faith in God produces results – results that we may see and others that we may not see!

God calls us to live by faith and not by sight- something that Abraham was commended for- he lived by faith and not by sight- well almost all of the time- he was human after all!

Despite a few lapses here and there his great faith won him the title “the father of the faithful.” At the word of God, he uprooted himself, leaving his home and people and set out for a land God promised to show him, where he would be the father of a great nation. Leaving all behind was hard and uncertain- how would you find it, if God said I want you to leave Dumfries and I want you to go to a land that I have in mind for you. It is not an easy thing to do – indeed it is very hard to make the journey into the unknown. It is especially hard when the only compass you have is your faith in GOD. It takes courage to step out, to risk everything and walk into the unknown- but Abraham did that because he had faith in God and in his promises. What the writer in Hebrews wants us to understand here is that faith is not a general religious attitude to life. Faith does not just believe difficult or impossible things for the sake of it, rather faith hears and believes the promises of God. God’s promises to Abraham of becoming an heir – came true, even in his old age! God’s promise to Abraham of having many descendants like the stars in the sky, or like the sand on the sea-shore- came true! God fulfilled all his promises to Abraham.

God’s promises are there for us too- do we have faith in them? Do these promises enable us to trust and to step out in faith and do great things for God? God promises to be with us- I will be with you to the end of the age. God promises to equip and help us-I will help you, strengthen you and uphold you in my righteous right hand. God promises to prepare a place for us in heaven and come back to get us. God promises to give us peace- my peace I give to you, it is not as the world gives. My peace I give to you. God promises that those who keep their hope in God will know His peace. God promises to those who are weary and heavy laden that he will give them rest. God promises to strengthen us- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

God’s promises are there for us, and he invites us to trust in them. There is this story about a lady who was gifted with her mother’s Bible when she died. One day she decided to open it and found the letters T & P in the margins at parts of scripture that were underlined. She was puzzled by the letters T & P. She asked lots of people but they could not explain it to her. Eventually one day a dear old friend was able to provide an answer. She said the T is for tested and the P for proven. These words are written in the margin alongside the promises she has tested and proven to be true.

If you were to open your bible what would people find down the margins of your Bible or if you keep a journal what promises would you say you have underlined and have proven to be true in your own life? I suspect that you can all testify to God’s help and strength. I am sure you can all say that you have felt God’s presence and touch at some point in your life be it through his word, or through the silence, or through creation or through people sent to you as his gift.

God longs that we might all develop and grow in our faith, that we might place more and more our confidence in him and in his promises. God longs that we might celebrate in our lives the outworking of his presence and of his touch in our lives, and that just as Abraham inspired others by his faith that we might do likewise. May we trust in God and not lean on our own understanding, and may we indeed walk by faith and not by sight! Increase O Lord our faith in you! Amen


We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one substance with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven;
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father.
With the Father and the Son,
he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism
for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Faithful God, we delight in your word
that teaches and inspires us.
We are encouraged by the hall of fame,
in our Hebrews reading,
where ordinary men and women
stepped out in faith,
trusting in your promises
and rejoicing in your loving kindness.
Kindle in us that flame of faith
that we might do great things for you
as your holy spirit works in and through us.

God our joy and strength

hear your prayer.

Faithful God, our gospel reading
asks us to perceive the signs of your kingdom,
and to be vigilant and expectant.
Help us to be watchful,
and keep us alive in our faith and worship.

God our joy and strength

hear your prayer.

Faithful God, set our hearts on things above,
and keep us from the complacency
that is blind to injustice and poverty.
Stir within us a longing to do
all that is noble and just
and strengthen us
to be advocates for those in need.

God our joy and strength

hear your prayer.

Faithful God, we pray for all you share our ancestry
especially Muslims and Jews,
fellow daughters and sons of Abraham.
We pray for a greater understanding between our faiths
and desire all that builds and sustains cohesive living.

God our joy and strength

hear your prayer.

Faithful God we pray for all
who are living with the complexities of climate change,
and are finding drought, famine, forest fires, and flooding
damaging to their lives and livelihoods.
Help us all to work hard
to reduce greatly our carbon emissions,
and care for our environment.

God our joy and strength

hear your prayer.

Faithful God, you invite us
to share the good news of the gospel with one another.
We thank you for the privilege of sharing
in the holiday club this past week.
We are grateful for the excitement,
and enthusiasm of the children,
and for the various ways
in which seeds of faith were sown.
Lord, we ask you to water and nourish these seeds
and in your time to bring forth a deep and rich faith
We remember Amie Byers and all that are at
Glenalmond Scottish Episcopal Camp this week.
We pray for seeds of faith to be sown there,
for new friendships to be made
and your abiding presence and love
to be experienced and enjoyed.

God our joy and strength

hear your prayer.

Faithful God, strengthen all who fear the future,
thinking of the people of Ukraine and Taiwan.
Be with all who negotiate for peace
that their diplomatic efforts
be rewarded with the cessation of hostilities,
and with peace and stability.

God our joy and strength

hear your prayer.

Faithful God, be with all
who are struggling with their health and well-being.
Strengthen the faint hearted, support the weak,
and raise up the broken hearted.
We pray in the quiet of our hearts
for people known to us,
and ask for your healing touch and strength.

God our joy and strength

hear your prayer.

Faithful God prepare us for the day
when we will come to share in our eternal banquet.
We commend to you those who have died in the hope of the gospel,
and ask that they may be welcomed into your heavenly city.

God our joy and strength

hear your prayer.

Faithful God, we rejoice
that the ordinary things of this world are saturated
with your extraordinary love.
Open our hearts to receive your promises
and our eyes to behold your glory,

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together,

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those
who sin against us.
Do not bring us to the time of trial
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.



The peace of God,
which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord:
and the blessing of God the Father,
the Son and Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen


Go or stay in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ.