Understanding Gospel Culture and Heritage

So what of the Order of the Thistle? This was a very interesting Service to attend. The Dean of the Thistle  in his short address  reminded His Royal Highness Prince William to devote his life to the honour of God, to the maintenance of Christ's most holy Evangel,( in other words the gospel), and to the Service of Her Majesty the Queen.  All this is a highlights that at the heart of our Monarchy is a wonderful Christian heritage. Gospel values  can continue  to have a relevance and significance for  a culture even though somehow in many issues we have lost our  way. The challenge facing  the Christian Community is how we commend the Gospel to those who are searching for a philosophy and a polity that will direct public life and have an inclusive agenda for all. There is a marvellous section in the book of Ephesians where Paul argues that the day will come " When all things will be under one head, even Christ." Eph. 1. 9-10 I find this a fascinating picture of the inclusive nature of Christ and his Gospel. There are hidden depths to the Gospel that none of us have plumbed.  Paul continues with  this theme writing  to the Corinthians. In 1Cor. 2.9 he suggests that "eyes has not seen nor ear heard." This is a great lesson for all of us to walk humbly as Christian people, because we don't know everything. Yet we can know enough to give us a confidence  that all things will work out for the good of those who love God. It was a great privilege to have  been able to choose the scripture readings that were broadcast across the nation last Wednesday.  It was important to pick scripture that would sound inspirational for such an occasion. Could anything beat Psalm 46 ?  This was read by the First Minister , it has so many memorable phrases . Just think of them: 1. God is our refuge and strength an ever present help in trouble 2.Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way etc. 3 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God. 4 The Lord Almighty is with us the  God of jacob is our refuge 5 Come and see the works of the Lord 6 Be still and know that I am God ; I will be exalted among the nations The Bible is full of these amazingly affirming words of hope. I believe we need to be a lot more hopeful as Christians. It's time to ditch the pessimism that we all have allowed to settle over many parts of the church.  Over the past few days I've been greatly hearted to know that the providence and purposes of God continue to be fulfilled. We need to be men and women looking for the City of God and while we look, we need to be  creating outposts of the city wherever we find ourselves. I guess that is why I made the effort to go to T in the Park last Friday in order to support the work of Street Pastors.  I'm glad I made the visit on Friday. Although I went prepared, the rain, it  stayed away, but unfortunely the heavens opened on Saturday. II was  welcomed by Sandy Scrimgeour  and Sandy Gunn. There was a team of around 20 pastors  contributing to the  much larger team of welfare  workers  all  seeking to  look after  the well being of  the 75,000 people who attend the event over the weekend.  Geoff Ellis the Director of the event explained how he took seriously as did his Company DF Concerts the ever increasing role that T in the Park plays in the life of young people in Scotland. It was an interesting conversation because there is no doubt that events like these are wrought with much danger, recognising the part alcohol plays in the event. However there is no doubt   T in the Park also provide for a deeper community spirit that is lacking in many  areas of  all our cities. I look forward to seeing how during this year I  might be able to begin to stimulate a conversation around the place of the arts and the role they play in creating community and social cohesion. I was further made welcome by one of Geoff's staff Gail Mackenzie who took the time and effort to show me around the hospitality area of the event. The question is how can the Christian Community be of service to the 75,000 revellers who attend the event. Let's hear what you think. After a very early morning return, it was up bright and early on Saturday  to get a train to attend the General Assembly of the URC . I was glad if my coat. The rain seemed to be falling out of the sky in bucket loads.      

Posted By: Julia Ann   On: 11 Jul 2012   At: 9:09pm

You are having a busy time and it is wonderful to be following it.  T in the park and meeting the street pastors would be good, and every event u have attended - hope you have a wonderful year and return with many interesting stories   All the best


Posted By: Helmut   On: 11 Jul 2012   At: 9:14am

Albert, I am deeply impressed with your musings and doings. It is good to see things happen and hear of it, or rather read. Churches out in the streets, we must be seen to be there.  People of all walks of life need to know: Where you are, wherever, we are too, we are with you. We are not hiding in offices, behind writing desks, immersed in paperwork. As we can also see, it pays for clerics to be noticeable: the clerical collar is a surprising thing, wearing it should be a commandment wink

I am also noting the inconspicuous moderator’s ring wink

How old is it, and is it refitted every time, or do you just have to bear with it?


Posted By: Sandy Gunn   On: 11 Jul 2012   At: 9:08am

In the mud of TinthePark Street Pastors do what we do every week on the streets of 16 Scottish towns/cities : listen care and help.  Most punters are out for a good time, but underneath many are hurting or questionning.  They talk to SPs because they sense that SPs are there for their sake, and as it is their turf they can walk away.  SPs never raise the question of the Christian faith, but often we are asked questions, usually by young men.  Now these are the same tradesmen, professionals, neighbours, family members we all meet 24x7 who have the same questions 24x7 as they have on the street.  Does this raise two questions :

i.  whether the perception of Christians is of people who are there for others, really caring, ready to listen (or of an inward looking ghetto?!)

ii.  whether Christians have learned from 1 Pet 3.15f to live lives that are attractively distinctive and when asked to explain the Christian faith in a sensitive and gracious way (for in spite of Eph 4.12 many of our SPs say that they have had no training in simple apologetics in their congregations)?


Posted By: Helen   On: 11 Jul 2012   At: 8:40am

“The question is how can the Christian Community be of service to the 75,000 revellers who attend the event” I am interested to see that this question arrives in the same week as the story about your encounter with the bride and her hen party on the train at Newcastle.  And I think ithat the two are closely connected if we see the link.  As the Church we are so very close to our families, neighbours, communities etc. Events like T in the Park are not separate from that. We do not drop aliens from outer space into those events….they are regular members of our community. Guys we work with, kids we teach, commuters on a train plugged into their devices.  The Moderator on the train was in exactly the right place at the right time to touch the deepest desire of the young bride’s heart…a blessing for her wedding!  Service is pretty simple really. Find someone to help and help them.  We don’t have to look far!  But we DO need to talk to people. Dialogue is the way that men name their world (Freire). I don’t think we are losing the art of conversation but I do think we in the Church often need to learn a new language. I have learned a number of languages and the best way is to talk with those who speak that language. For the simple reason you don’t only learn the words but the whole essence of the people who speak the language.  I have no idea why you would want to wade about in deep mud, lashing rain and, well, let’s not talk about toilets.  Or why you would want to spend a celebration weekend and remember nothing about it, as in stags and hens often.  However it is great fun…if you speak the language of that fun.  Time to learn a new language. Speaking the language doesn’t implicate you in the bad stuff. After all speaking Swedish doesn’t make me Swedish. But talking to Swedes helps me know how they tick.  Then I will know how best to serve.


Posted By: Martin   On: 10 Jul 2012   At: 11:46pm

Albert, I am much interested by what you write re: T in the Park. My eldest son, just turned 16, was there for the first time and described it as the best time of his life.

I was watching the footage of the youngsters enjoying the music and couldn’t help but compare their passion and enthusiasm with our congregations as they engage in worship. Sad to say, the kids look like they’re having a much better time - show them clips of the average congregation in worship and they’d have their perceptions confirmed; boring!! Why do these youngsters get so excited about being together around music? And why don’t we get MORE excited about being together to worship?

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