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Sunday Service 28th January

Time to share, time to be open



Call to worship

Hymn 160(JP): Majesty, worship his majesty 


Time for all


Hymn 128(JP): Jesus bids us shine


Reading:    Luke 8: 1-8 & 16-18 Elaine



Hymn 448:Shine Jesus shine



Prayer of Dedication


Hymn 112: God, whose almighty word




Welcome to our meditation for 28th January 2024.

What do we do with our good news?

If we have hope that there is a God out there that cares for us, and loves us, what should we do with that insight?

That was a question that was facing those first followers of Jesus, and it faces us now as well.

But we will think about that after our reading and prayer from Elaine.














‘No one lights a lamp and covers it with a bowl or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a lamp stand, so that people will see the light as they come in.’


Let’s give some background to this passage.

Jesus has just started his ministry with his disciples.

John the Baptist, who had a similar mission in a similar area had been arrested by Herod and that was putting question marks on what Jesus should say and do.

Also it was obvious that women were following Jesus as well and supporting the cause as greatly as the men were, and that was causing stresses in the movement.

Then there was the fact that they were not being rewarded with success everywhere they went, there was a lot of reaction against them.

So Jesus tells a parable to explain what is going on.

A famer sows some seed, and sure some of it fails for various reasons, but that is not an excuse for the farmer to give up,

because he knows if he keeps on sowing then some of the seed will land on good soil and that seed will produce great crops.

Likewise the disciples should not be discouraged when they find resistance, instead be faithful and keep on working for the kingdom, because some of what they do will produce good results.


Jesus presumes that there will be people who are open to his message of God’s love.

But then comes the question, ‘So what?’


Like many, my journey of faith has been sometimes accidental, and sometimes deliberate.

The accidental bit came when I fancied this girl from school and I was trying to work out how to chat her up.

I knew that she was one of those church folk and I also had heard on the news that this guy called Luis Pallau was having some concert thing in Glasgow.

I also had a friend Callum who was really into that church stuff and he was a bouncer at the Luis Pallau thing so I knew he could get me tickets.

So he got me tickets and I asked her to the event, never thinking that I would feel the presence of God’s love there and walk forward.

By the time I got back to my seat she was going out with someone else.


But now, in my mind accidentally, I had this faith thing.

But then comes the deliberate stuff.

About a week later I am in Bellahouston Park trying to answer the question, ‘So what?’

I have this faith, but what am I supposed to do with it?

At which point, for me, the idea floated by...become a minister.

And that started a journey I am still on...sometimes working accidentally, sometimes working deliberately.


And I think that is the way of it for many of us.


Often we could ask ourselves how we got into such situations.

And sometimes it feels like a strange set of coincidences and events that just happen to come together to find us at a certain place at a certain time.

And if things had deviated just slightly then that merging of events just wouldn’t have happened.

If Roseanna hadn’t needed to come north for family support after her divorce,

if the priest in her chapel hadn’t refused to give her communion because she was a divorcee,

if she then hadn’t become a BB officer and joined Castlemilk West.

At the same time as that was happening if there wasn’t a huge scandal in Aberdeen where I had been studying which made all vacancy committees wary of all single ministers,

if there wasn’t a dearth of minsters which meant I was unemployed for a year,

if I hadn’t ended up in a church that no one wanted because they were a million pound in debt,

if I hadn’t been visiting a housebound couple of that church who in turn happened to be the parents of the minister who was looking after Castlemilk West...then I wouldn’t have ended up joining Castlemilk West at the same time as Roseanna was there...


Was it accidental, was it coincidence, was it God’s planning...

We will only know when we are in heaven...

But in a sense it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that we had the opportunity to become a couple, then we deliberately had to make a choice, to answer the question, ‘So what?’


These disciples, these men and women, and now us, find ourselves for whatever reason in a place where we can know God’s love and care is around us.

It doesn’t matter if we think that is some cosmic fluke, or think it is some kind of divine planning.

What matters is what we do with it, that we answer the question, ‘So what?’


‘No one lights a lamp and covers it with a bowl or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a lamp stand, so that people will see the light as they come in.’


This is the question that Jesus is answering;

trying to help all those people who have heard the message, and believe that God is helping them, seeking the best for them, wanting to guide them.


And with that help is a blessing and a warning.

We have this light in our life, it shines in the darkness and helps guide us.

But the trouble is that it shows up everything;

not only the obstacles that are in our way, but the obstacles that we create in our own life.

And sometimes when we see them we feel it is easier to switch the light off again, because we are ashamed, or feel guilty, or are terrified that maybe the obstacles we see are bigger than we can overcome.

I have a friend just now going through therapy.

He is struggling with something bad that has happened to him.

Reacting very negatively against the pain he justifiably feels.

So he went to a therapist to help him.

And the therapy went in a strange way.

The therapist agreed that what had happened to him wasn’t pleasant, that she could understand why he felt the hurt and pain he did.

But then she wanted to explore why he reacted with such anger.

He couldn’t understand the question, why shouldn’t he be angry at what had happened to him?

At which point the therapist pointed out that he had a wonderful partner, truly wonderful children, a house that was more than adequate for them all, he had recently started his dream job, they had no real money problems, he had a life that anyone in the world would be happy to have.

But his focus in stoking this anger was threatening everything else.

Why was his focus on this one thing, rather than all the other things?

Why wasn’t he, for instance, rejoicing that he only had this one thing in his life that was bad, and the rest was so good?


That was a tough question to answer?

That is what light does, it shows up everything.

And you know his temptation, his temptation is to stop going to therapy.

He doesn’t want to face or challenge those parts of his mind, he doesn’t want to walk down roads that maybe he has avoided for decades.

Sure he may find healing at the end of all this, but maybe he won’t and so maybe it is better to just stop going to the therapist and pretend that everything is ok.

And in doing so he may risk everything else that he has.


Jesus is warning us of this...

‘Whatever is hidden away will be brought out into the open, and whatever is covered up will be found and brought to light.’


Knowing that we are loved and cared for by God, knowing that God loves and cares for others, whether they know it or not, does force us to look at when we have not shared that hope to others.

When we look at the struggles in the world it is so easy to get overwhelmed.

But the trick is that the light doesn’t fix the problems, the light just shows them up.

There may be things we can do to help,

there may be things we need help with to sort them out,

maybe the best thing we can do is walk round the problem and move on.






I was watching my daughter deal with one of her daughters who was in a huff over something really petty.

But instead of just telling her to forget it.

She sat patiently down with her and told her to make her hands into a bowl.

Then to put all the things in the bowl that were bothering her.

Then to work out why were they bothering her.

Why was she reacting so passionately over something that was so small?

Why was this thing so important to her?

And then...when she realised that her reactions were actually making her life worse rather than up her hands and let it all go.

And in doing so accept a calmer, better life.


If we have something in our life as important as knowing God’s love and care for us, God’s love and care for our family and friends,

God’s love and care for everyone in the world,

then we cannot keep that to ourselves, we have to let it show.

If we don’t then that just becomes a frustration and burden in our heart.

Like a lamp under the bed that might end up destroying the bed.

Like a lamp hidden under a bowl, which will probably damage the bowl.


Instead we need to let that love of God express itself to others.

Now that probably doesn’t mean bashing people over the head with a bible and asking them if they know of God’s love.

There are so many way of showing God’s love to others.


I am a MCR volunteer, I go into the school and just share an hour of my time with a pupil in the school who is struggling.

I don’t talk to him about faith, I am not there to talk to him about faith, I am there to encourage his confidence and give him hope that by staying in school it may help him.

He may never find out that I am a minister.

But why would that matter?

Surely what matters is that he is helped?


I could give you example over example of simple things that people in this congregation do to show God’s love to others;

some of it is deliberate and planned; like helping out at the food larder,

some of it is spontaneous and unplanned, like helping some person who has just fallen in the street and waiting with them until the ambulance has arrived.


Short term, long term, planned, unplanned...all of it is a response to the same question,

now that you know God loves and cares for you, what difference is it making in your life, what difference does it make to the world?





Let us pray

Heavenly Father

Have we been hiding,

hiding in the dark corner of my heart thinking ‘What have I done?’

have we been feeling guilt over what we could have been doing,

seeing problems and then running away from them hoping that someone else will deal with them. Actually just feeling that we are tired and we can’t be bothered.


Have we been hiding from you God.

Hiding under our bed, wanting to stay in the dark where we feel safe and comfortable.


It is Your light God that frightens us

the light that not only enlightens the dark corners of our heart

but the light that truly exposes who we really are.

Not that person we show to others, not that person we pretend to be when we look in the mirror.

But instead the person in the mirror that is unwashed and without make-up, the true person that we are often scared to face.


We admit that we have been hiding,

hiding from your light God,

staying safe in the dark is easier than facing the reality of what I’ve done.


Hiding under our bed with shame, is easier than You calling us to come out,

exposing our faults and vulnerability, all those things that we are too frightened to face about ourselves.


Help us to see that when your light shines out,

it also shows your love and forgiveness.

That strangely when others see our imperfections that that is a gift...

allowing others to hope that as they see your light in us that they can hope for that light in themselves,

to see in our imperfection that they don’t need to be perfect either before they accept your love for them.


Let the light enlighten Your love and forgiveness for all


May the light of God show you the way.

May the light of Christ bring you hope.

May the light of Spirit guide your life

today and forever.



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