The Corona virus Covid-19 is giving me a mandatory rest. Church services throughout the nation are now suspended!
Please let me explain, normally on a Sunday I attend church but because of the Coronavirus church meetings have been suspended for an indefinite period. Therefore, in a similar way to thousands if not millions of others I cannot be there. For this reason, as a small compensation, I have put together this mini service based on some of the resources from the Church of Scotland. That is for today – I am sharing It here. The musical bits in this case is a link to an online resource
As a result, I am not going to physically attend but share part of a virtual service written by the Church of Scotland on the resources section of their website and I hope you enjoy.
This is basically 5 minutes of gems for Sunday 22nd March 2020 by Rev Jock Stein. He is a retired Church of Scotland Minister, formerly of Tulliallan and Kincardine Church.
Psalm 23 – The Lord is my Shepherd.see the story from the Bible here http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=442991419
This bit may be obvious to most people but to be clear the Bible has two main sections the Old Testament (OT) written about the times before the birth of Jesus Christ. On the other hand, the second section, that is the New Testament (NT) refers to the time from that is immediately prior to the birth of Christ, his life and many events afterwards. Each section has many books that make up the Word of God (The Holy Bible). Therefore you will see mention of Psalm and 2 Chronicles in the text below. These are two books in the old testament. The numbers after the book name refer to the chapter and then (if present) the verse or verses to read.
Here I have produced thoughts about three verses, 3, 4 and 6 for the Sunday 22nd March 2020. These are those that have been written by Rev Jock Stein. He is a retired Church of Scotland Minister. Content is via… Church of Scotland Resources for worship for services on Sunday 22nd March 2020 for reference see https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/62986/22-March-4-Sunday-of-Lent.pdf
The Old Testament (OT) has no separate word for ‘soul’ as we do in English so that verse 3 “he restores my soul” is well translated as “he restores my life”. But by the same token, the Hebrew ‘life’ means inner life and outer life together, just as the greeting ‘Shalom’ wishes a person peace in family, community, work and in spirit.
So “the darkest valley” in verse 4 includes death but is not only about that, and the “rod and staff” (think of Moses and Aaron) are both literal supports and symbols of help.
Until the 19th century, it was assumed that David wrote the psalms attributed to him. We now know that the headings were added later on when the psalms were combined into what we would call a ‘hymn-book’, and in any case, the Hebrew heading can mean “for David” or “thinking of David” as well as “by David” – which is why some modern versions just put “David’s”. But whether or not he actually wrote the Psalm, it makes very good sense to think of David – he was a shepherd boy, he had enemies, he was often in danger of death, and he loved to be close to the Lord his God. The headings were added for a reason, so we should not hesitate to make connections.
John Goldingay (Editorial note: Born 20 June 1942 in Birmingham, United Kingdom, is a British Old Testament scholar and translator and Anglican clergyman) translates verse 6 as “Good and commitment will certainly chase me all the days of my life” – worth pondering when we are urging (pestering?) people to be good and be committed.
“I shall dwell in the house of the Lord” is much more than a desire to ‘go to church’, just as Psalm 27:4 is not just about being in church and asking the minister questions. For one thing, the ‘house’ or ‘temple of the Lord’ is also in the heavens (Psalm 78:69 http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=451574732). When Solomon built the temple (2 Chronicles 3:5 http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=451574652 ), the word translated as ‘nave’ is literally ‘the big room,’ which was the expression ancient peoples used for ‘God’s heavenly palace’. So it’s about living in God’s presence, which is everywhere in the universe.
I have written the text below until the prayers at the end. The first prayer is by Rev Jock Stein.
Therefore, it is now time to sing a hymn (Song)
Hymn (That you may sing along to)
The Lord’s my Shepherd to the tune Crimond https://youtu.be/P4TKvnYafes.
At some point I need to rearrange this tune, and when I do I will post the arrangement here.
As you can see the words in the Bible have been put in verse and set to music. Below for the record are the words to the hymn (song) ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’.
1 The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want;
he makes me down to lie
in pastures green; he leadeth me
the quiet waters by.
2 My soul he doth restore again,
and me to walk doth make
within the paths of righteousness,
e’en for his own name’s sake.
3 Yea, though I walk through death’s dark vale,
yet will I fear none ill,
for thou art with me; and thy rod
and staff me comfort still.
4 My table thou hast furnished
in presence of my foes;
my head thou dost with oil anoint,
and my cup overflows.
5 Goodness and mercy all my life
shall surely follow me;
and in God’s house forevermore
my dwelling place shall be.
Prayer – by Rev Jock Stein. – I have suggested a change in brackets in the second line as we are not gathered, that is because of the Coronavirus Covid 19 guidelines. Therefore please feel free to use here instead of gathered.
You can either read this quietly or aloud – either way God will hear it.
Dear God, Saviour and Shepherd of Your people,
we are gathered (here) to praise You,
to encourage one another,
and to seek Your will for our lives,
for our church, and for our world.
Open our eyes to the traffic between heaven and earth,
and to the wonder of Your call to live in the light,
through Him who is the light of the world,
even Jesus Christ,
Standard closing prayer for the end of any service…
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all,
now and evermore. Amen.