By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

  • Welcome to this child of grace

    At Hallfold this Sunday we shall include within the service a Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child. I am finding that more parents are opting for this service in preference to Baptism as they realise that they are unlikely to fulfill the promises of Baptism. In looking to pick a suitable hymn I became increasingly frustrated with the selection offered by Rejoice & Sing which despite the United Reformed Church's supposed commitment to offering both forms of baptism slants all suitable hymns towards infant baptism.

    I had pondered writing a new hymn for some time and when in June 2005 I was preparing a Thanksgiving for a child called Emma, and remembered that we had a tune called Emma, I decided the time had come. Folk seemed to appreciate it's first airing and so on Sunday we will welcome Millie in word, prayer and song. Please hold Millie and her parents Andy and Nicola in your prayers.

    Metre 7777
    Tune: Emma (R&S 99)

    Welcome to this child of grace,
    Stepping out on holy ground.
    May she know her time and place,
    Ever walk where love is found.

    Take the love that's yours to share,
    Learn together all God's ways.
    Welcome her into your care,
    Let this love enrich her days.

    May God's Spirit give her voice;
    welcome her, give hope, inspire.
    Help her grow to make her choice,
    Speak with wisdom, soul afire

    May God bless where you belong.
    May you glimpse and know God's face,
    Trust God's peace to keep you strong;
    Welcome, Millie, child of grace.

    The name 'Millie' should be replaced by the child's name where appropriate. Where the name is more than two Syllables the final line should be:-

    Welcome now, this child of grace

    Where the name is one syllable :-

    Welcome, name, a child of grace

    © Craig Muir June 2005

    permission is given to copy this text for worship on a non-commercial basis using this acknowledgement and putting a Comment on here to let me know when it has been used.
  • Saint Andrew’s - 16 October 2005

    Isaiah 45:1-7

    1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

    Matthew 22:15-22

    To what do you belong? To whom do you belong?-Different answers, different levels? -To what extent do you belong to Caesar and to God?

    Pharisees are caught in their own trap – issue of loyalty – defy Rome or alienate people? -Who carries a denarius into the Temple? – the questioners.Jesus distances himself, whose head? What inscription?- Pharisees/Herodians owe position to Rome they are collaborators, idolators.

    Render – take back – take this coin and the system it represents give it back to him – you enjoy the fruits of collaboration, power, position, prestige, wealth – so pay Caesar for all you enjoy. But remember you have failed to pay God what you owe God.[Source]

    What belongs to God? Implication for Jesus is everything – what is it for you?

    It is our AGM today -looking back a year it has been a good year, a lot happening, new people, new iniatives – our own good work? Or do we owe it to God? -We belong to God and all that we do is God’s – recognise gifts, thank people for work well done – give glory to God.

    Thessalonians -  “in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it” in giving everything to God, the gospel is lived out, it bears fruit, -  in declaring Jesus is Lord – nothing else gets to make the same claim – when worldy powers – nation, employer, ambition, respectability, achievement claim your allegiance – ask them to show you the coin – to declare their loyalty – and give back to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar and to God whatever belongs to God.[Source]

  • Hallfold 9 October 2005 (with evening repeat at Spotland)

    Psalm 23
    Phillipians 4:1-9
    Matthew 22:1-14

    In the Psalm and Matthew we have two King images

    1. The Shepherd - leading , providing, protecting etc, (Sheep wandering all over Whitworth Road this morning could have done with one!) - Yet also uncomfortable images - dark valley, table laid in the presence of enemies.
    2. King who puts down rebellion with great force - drags in new followers - throws out those who don't dress properly. -Is this God? - Most commentators say yes - but gloss over the goury bits and focus on the wedding feast as an example of grace - all are welcome, the good and the bad all they have to do is dress properly - show respect. Hints of second half of Psalm 23 -dark valleys, table spread before enemies.
    3. Alternative (very minority) reading - contrasts God's kingship with the violent ways of earthly kings - the God of mercy and forgiveness does not treat people in this way. One (and only one) suggestion is that the Jesus figure in this story is the man thrown out of the wedding feast - speechless, naked, rejected. It is a reading worthy of further reflection - but not for this moment.

    Assuming that the King is to be identified with God then this is a story about authority - story of political rebellion - implications of which are known - God demands loyalty, obedience - feast is open to all - but response is required - response includes clothing - garments of salvation, robe of righteousness, (Is 61:10) - putting on Christlikeness.

    We wear different clothing for different circumstances - it can change the way we feel - present ourselves - our image, our confidence - What is appropriate clothing for the Kingdom? Col 3:12- "clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness (gentleness), patience ... Above all clothe yourselves with love" From the vineyard - justice, righteousness - from the wedding feast - obedience, radical hospitality,

    Jesus demands a response - chief priests rejected, plotted to kill - the invitation for you is to follow, to put on garments of praise, to worship joyfully, to clothe yourselves in Christlikeness and live out lives through which the good news of the Jesus Christ is proclaimed -

    If that sounds daunting be reminded of Paul's encouragement to the church in Philippi "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and your minds in Christ Jesus"