Members of our congregation participate in Sunday services in various ways, including lighting our chalice and contributing thought-provoking words.
Earlier this year, the theme of JOAN COOK’S was ‘Music’. RACHAEL KING’S chalice lighting words that day reflected the importance of music in our daily lives, and there were also chalice lighting words by HILARY DAVIES and JANE AARONSON.
On 22 April, LESLEY HARTLEY led worship. The service included readings, which were chosen and read by members of the congregation to celebrate the season of Spring. Our Convener, MARY McKENNA contributed her own closing words, which looked forward to the future.
We are lighting today's peace candle for music; its ability to inspire and comfort us from the very beginnings of life, to the very end.
My daughter, Isabel, would like to give thanks to those who are brave enough to perform on stage for the enjoyment of others, and my son, Noah, would like to offer gratitude for the 'rabbit song from the movie Sing'.
Like many families, music has become integral to our domestic rituals; from the soundtracks that distract from the boredom and car-sickness of long journeys, to the songs that we sing to settle the children off to sleep, to the songs that we play to get moving in the morning. Playing Dolly Parton's Nine to Five in our house means one thing: it's time to get your shoes on, lunches packed, teeth brushed and get out of the door in a (vaguely) neat and timely fashion!
I would like to offer my gratitude to the music of St Mark's, our beautiful piano which is played so beautifully by Ailsa and those who have gone before her, and the expert and sensitive choices of music which are made week in, week out. We have our wonderful Chalice Singers offering thoughtful, soulful and fun additions to our services and giving the opportunity for friends to sing together,
Personally, I shall never forget the first time I set foot in to St Mark's. It was to attend a concert in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2005, a performance of Benjamin Britten's canticle, Abraham and Isaac, which is a duet illustrating what must be one the most cruel and troubling of all the Old Testament sto-ries. The anguish and pain of the story is powerfully captured by the brevity of the music. It touched me more than words could. On that very wet and busy Edinburgh evening, I'm so glad I stumbled across this special city-centre sanctuary.
Today I am wondering if I dare hope that we are definitely experiencing the end of our long and difficult winter. But I know I have thought this before in the last month.
As I light our Chalice Candle, I want to hold in the light of the Candle those in our local community, and further afield, who have been unable to be warm in their homes and those with-out safe homes. Also, those who have not had enough food to avoid acute hunger and be healthy this winter.
Next time we have a harsh winter I need these people to be hopeful life will be better for them. If we are to create a fairer and more equal society, I must ask myself, our community and all of us as citizens, ‘what we can do to help make this happen’?
As I get older, like many people, I am trying to de-clutter material possessions. I am not being very successful, but I have noticed a shift in my life expectations. In this over busy world, I’m more interested in the experience than the material.
Being among people is important to me; the interaction of sharing time with friends and acquaintances. I attended my first interfaith meal on Monday and I relished the opportunity to engage with new people from different faith traditions, as well as the bonus of hearing Margery MacKay's excellent talk featuring three outstanding Unitarian women.
A few months ago, I came across a quotation attributed to Pastor Rick Warren from America. It expresses how I am feeling at present ‘You spell love T-I-M-E.
I light the chalice to encourage us to engage in conversation, to actively listen and to make time to process what others are saying.
We at St Mark’s have had our long winter.
We have not died, we have not even been hibernating, merely quietly sustaining ourselves, waiting for better days.
We are deeply rooted, strong yet able to flex in the wind.
We are a caring community, glad to see the sun again, to appreciate the longer days and the milder evenings.
We are anticipating a new period of growth, new shoots appearing, blossoming in new ways.
We welcome this new season.