Jesus said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “ You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” - St. Peter's ChurchSt.  Peter's Church

OPENING SENTENCE
Our help is in the name of the Lord

HYMN

GREETING

Grace and peace to you from God our Father

and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

COLLECT FOR PURITY

Almighty God

to whom all hearts be open

all desires known

and from whom no secrets are hidden;

Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

that we may perfectly love you

and worthily magnify your holy name

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

SUMMARY OF THE LAW

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. Amen. Lord, have mercy.

CONFESSION

God is love and we are God’s children.

There is no room for fear in love.

We love because God loved us first.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

God our Father, we confess to you

and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ

that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,

and in what we have failed to do.

We are truly sorry.

Forgive us our sins,

and deliver us from the power of evil,

for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

ABSOLUTION

May the God of love and power

forgive you and free you from your sins,

heal and strengthen you by his Spirit

and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

GLORIA
sung by Sue St Joseph

COLLECT

Almighty and eternal God,

make us grow in faith, hope and charity:

and that we may be worthy of your promises,

cause us to love what you command;

through Jesus Christ, our Lord

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, world without end. Amen

FIRST READING
Exodus: 1.8-2:10
read by Gill Swales

The Israelites Are Oppressed

Now a new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” Therefore, they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labour. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. The Egyptians subjected the Israelites to hard servitude and made their lives bitter with hard servitude in mortar and bricks and in every kind of field labor. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them.

The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. So, the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this and allowed the boys to live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” So God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied and became very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.”

Birth and Youth of Moses

Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.

Superbook" The Birth of Moses (TV Episode 2019) - IMDb

The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,” she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes.” So, the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

SECOND READING
Romans 12:1-8
read by David Kerr

The New Life in Christ

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, on the basis of God’s mercy, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable act of worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body, we have many members and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the encourager, in encouragement; the giver, in sincerity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.

HYMN

GOSPEL READING
Matthew 16: 13-20
read by Reverend James Clark Maxwell

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Matthew chapter 16 beginning at verse 13

Glory to Christ our Saviour.

Peter’s Declaration about Jesus

August 23, 2020 – Exodus 1:8-2:10 and Matthew 16:13-20 | Presbyterian  Foundation

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist but others Elijah and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious gospel

Praise to Christ our Lord

SERMON

Jesus said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “ You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” - St. Peter's ChurchSt. Peter's Church


Our lives are filled with questions. Some of the questions we are faced with are very mundane and routine. For instance, “What shall I wear today?”, “What do you want to eat for dinner?”, and “What do you want to watch on television?” are not questions that have long term importance in our lives.

Some of life’s questions are just plain unanswerable. For instance, “Why do women open their mouths when they put on eye makeup?”, “Why do men refuse to stop and ask for directions?”, “If nothing ever sticks to Teflon, how do they make Teflon stick to the pan?”, and “What came first the chicken or the egg? are questions that really do not matter in the least.

But, some of life’s questions are terribly important. Consider the following questions for instance, “Will you marry me?” “What shall we name the baby”, and “Doctor, what is my prognosis? are all questions that have lifelong implications.

Who Do You Say I Am? Mark 8: 27-35 - Caritas

In our Gospel passage, Jesus asks his disciples two questions that are terribly important and have a lifelong implication. The first question has to do with what people say about Jesus. ‘Who do people say I am?’ The second has to do with our personal opinion of who Jesus is. Who do you say I am? These two questions continue to be of the utmost importance in your life and mine.

In response to Jesus’ first question the disciples replied. Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets. In our own culture many people have huge and varying opinions on -who Jesus is. Not all people, nor all religions see Jesus the same way. If you are an atheist, you will probably see Jesus as an historical figure whose followers made wild claims. Wild claims that he was a good teacher, had good morals, but that is as far as it goes!

Jesus was just a good teacher” – Onward in the Faith

If you were Jewish, you would say that Jesus was a good teacher, but he was not the Messiah! He was not the Messiah because the time was not right according to the Hebrew Bible, and he did not fulfil the messianic prophecies.

Muslims will say that Jesus was one of the highest ranked and esteemed of prophets, but he was not God. As a Muslim you would also believe that Jesus was not killed, not crucified, nor did he rise on the third day!

The Buddhists see Jesus as a man- a wise and enlightened man who taught similar things to the Buddha.

Mormonism believes in the writings of Joseph Smith which deny the eternal divinity of Jesus.

The Hindus believe that Jesus is just one of many gods.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus was once the Archangel Michael before He came to the earth. In their view Jesus is not God in the flesh.

HD jesus name wallpapers | Peakpx

So, the name and person of Jesus brings different images and beliefs to mind. Saying Jesus is a prophet, teacher, or a good example are all nice things to say about Him. They are all positive remarks, but they are inadequate. The people of Jesus time held wrong opinions about him. The people of our day also hold wrong views about him. They do not understand, nor do they confess who Jesus really is. So, what is the correct view and understanding? Who is this man Jesus? We find the answer in today’s text. Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say I am?” Peter speaks up, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God!” In a moment of divine revelation Peter identifies Jesus correctly but he still has much to learn about his image of Jesus. Jesus mentions the path of suffering he must take, and Peter holds a different view and understanding and rebukes Jesus. He is trying to make Jesus into his own image!

Making Jesus or God in our own image is something we are all guilty of. A little boy was drawing a picture on a piece of paper. His mother came up to him and asked him what he was drawing. The little boy responded, “I am drawing a picture of God.” The mother informed him that no one knows what God looks like. The little boy retorted, “They will when I get through drawing this picture.” What kind of mental picture do we have of God? The danger we all face in our thoughts about God is that we tend to recreate God in our own image of him rather than seeing God as he has revealed himself in Scripture. Too often our thoughts about God are adjusted to our own desires rather than adjusting our thinking to see God as He is. When we adjust our concept of God to conform to our own thinking we end up with a distorted inaccurate view of God. We may end up believing in the kind of god that we wish to believe in, while disliking and rejecting the God we refuse to know and understand. We may end up creating God into whatever we want him to be. As Pascal said, “God made man in his own image, and man returned the compliment.” The old saying goes that “In the beginning God created human beings in his image, and we have been returning the favour ever since.” We keep creating God in our image.

“Are we allowing God to create us in God’s image, or are we too busy creating God in our image?” It is a powerful and significant question and one that shapes our understanding of “who do you say that I am?” The writers of the scripture were a people trying to make sense of their experiences in relationship to God. And like the Israelites our concept of God comes from both our fears and our affections. Unfortunately, the result is that we see God in our image instead of seeing ourselves in God’s image. We see God as judge because we judge. We see God as controlling because of our need to control. We see God as angry because we are angry. We see God as vengeful because we seek revenge. We see God as a jealous God because we are jealous. We see God as all powerful because we seek power. And the list goes on and on. It is true, we make God in our image and, in doing so we lose a part of what it means for us to be created in the image of God.

We read stories in the Bible especially in the Old Testament and we wonder, “What kind of God would do that?” Maybe the answer is simple, “The kind of God that we have created in our own image.” If that is so, then how do we know how to begin to separate who God really is from what we need God to be?

Who is God? | GotQuestions.org

To answer that question, we may need to risk reading a different interpretation into the texts, based solely on a loving and gracious God and not a God who looks just like us. If we took that risk-if we acknowledged that how the Israelites interpreted God’s activity in many Old Testament stories as merely their projection of who they needed God to be-then what are we left with in terms of who God is and how God is present in our world and in our lives? In other words, how do we begin to conceive God as something greater than our projections of who we need God to be?
 
We are living in a time when people of all religions are attributing all kinds of craziness onto God. The Israelites are not the only people afflicted with the problem of projection. People of faith fly planes into tall buildings killings thousands of people because of whom they believe God to be. Other people of faith initiate what they call just wars because of who they believe God to be. Some people of faith withhold medical care for their sick and dying children because of who they believe God to be. And still, other people of faith deny others their unique worth as children of God all in the name of a God who they crafted in their image, out of their fears and affections. We all do this.

We take our projections, and we layer them one by one onto God until we no longer see God as God is. In essence, we put God in a box and make God so small, so as to manage what we cannot imagine or understand or define. The truth is that God is greater and bigger than any of us can conceive and that scares most of us to death.

So how do we begin to conceive something greater than our limited understanding of God? How do we step outside of our projections-our need to create God in our image-and free God to be God; and free ourselves to live more fully as people created in God’s image? And what difference would it make in our world if we resisted fashioning God in our image and truly believe that God is so much bigger than the box we have tried to put God in?
 
When I think about the God of the Israelites- the God who was at times full of anger and revenge I think: our God is too small. When I think of how early religious societies treated women, I think: our God is too small. When I think about how the church has said you can’t be faithful if you dance, drink wine or enjoy physical pleasure for the sake of pleasure or love whom you choose, I think: our God is too small.

In order not to create God in our image but to let him create us in his image we need to choose forgiveness over anger and revenge; instead of persistence, silence; instead of remorse, gratitude and acceptance?” I wonder, how much more our world would reflect God’s peace and justice if we stopped creating God in our image and risked living as people created in the image of God? Who do you say that I am? What will be your answer? My answer is that Jesus is the one true God, the Messiah. His life was a correct image of the Father and that image is one of infinite love and generosity. Amen

Christ The Savior Lutheran Church

NICENE CREED

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one substance with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory

to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father.

With the Father and the Son,

he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism

for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Jesus, the Messiah, you are the Word of Eternal Life.

Strengthen and encourage your church in discipleship.

Keep us faithful in proclaiming the gospel

no matter how difficult it is in our increasingly secular age.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Ephesians 6:10 Be Strong in the Lord - Free Bible Verse Art Downloads -  Bible Verses To Go

Jesus, the Messiah, surround with your spiritual armour

all who defend the vulnerable and powerless.

Give courage to leaders to advance the cause of all

for equality, respect and dignity.

Sustain the integrity of those under pressure

where conflict or selfishness would threaten to destroy.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Jesus, the Messiah, you knew the companionship of friends

and the pain of people turning away.

Be with the lonely

and those who have been abandoned.

strengthen them in you,

and draw significant others around them.

Deepen their security and identity in you,

and assure them of your presence and power.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Jesus the Messiah, speak your word of peace

to any whose mind is troubled.

Where there is despair bring hope,

where there is hated bring love,

where there is worry bring your calm.

Be our strength whatever our distress

and may our ears be ever open to our cry.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Jesus the Messiah, we bring to you the heartache

that we are witnessing on our screens in Ukraine.

We pray for wisdom in negotiations

and ask that peace and stability would come

We pray that hostilities in different countries would cease

and that diplomacy would triumph.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Jesus the Messiah, enfold in your love

those struggling with sickness at this time.

In the quiet we lift to you people known to us

in this church and in the wider community.

Be their strength and shield,

healer and Guide.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Jesus the Messiah, be near to the broken hearted.

Raise up those who have died in faith

and grant that they may dwell in your house forever.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Abide in Me (AM) on Vimeo

Jesus the Messiah, abide with us on our journey of discipleship,

and strengthen us by your Holy Spirit,

that we might complete the race with perseverance and joy.

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Do not bring us to the time of trial

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

HYMN

A blue text on water Description automatically generated

BLESSING

The peace of God,

which passes all understanding,

keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,

and of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord:

and the blessing of God the Father,

the Son and Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always. Amen

DISMISSAL

Go or stay in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ.

Welcome

St John the Evangelist, Dumfries, is a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church also serving Methodist parishioners locally.

Donations

You can donate to St John’s by credit or debit card by following these links.

Notices

And, as always, if you need us, you can contact  

Annual General Meeting:

The Annual General Meeting will take place on the 1st October. As usual it will be held within the context of the 11am service. There will be a bring and share lunch and the formal meeting will follow. Forms for nominations to the elected vacancies are at the back of the church.  The AGM papers are at the back of the church.  If they run out, please ask the Church Office.    If you prefer to receive them by email, please sign the sheet at the back of the church.  You only need to give your name, assuming we have your up to date email address.  If you will NOT be able to attend the AGM, and would like your apologies noted, there is a sheet to sign for this as well.  If you wish to raise a matter under Any Other Business please let Margaret Morton have the details of that by 12 noon on Friday 29th September. memorton@mypostoffice.co.uk or 01387 262734

Outings:

If there is sufficient demand, we hope to run a trip (destination not decided on, yet, but suggestions welcome) in mid-October (possibly 14th or 21st, date still to be decided);  we may also run something in mid-November, and there has been a suggestion we might go to the Christmas Market in Hawkshead (near Ambleside/Windermere) on or about 2 December.  Watch this space!

Other Dates for your Diary:

  • Friday, 06/10/2023:                                           Beetle Drive*
  • Friday, 19/01/2024:                                           Burns Supper
  • Thursday,  14/03/2024                                      Pamper Session
  • Saturday, 16/03/2024                                        Men’s Breakfast

* See notice below….

MU

  • A gentle reminder to those who have bought tickets for Cook and Taste India – this will take place in the Hall on Saturday 30th September at 2.30 pm. Come ready to enjoy all the goodies on offer, and watch out for the raffle prizes, too.
  • Watch out for MU Prayer space which is held on the second Thursday of the month, via Zoom, at 12noon and 8pm. You’ve (probably) just missed Peace & Reconciliation this week, but forthcoming sessions include Faith in Action (12 Oct), Gender Justice (9 Nov) and God With Us (14 Dec).  Details on the poster on the lit noticeboard, and also the St J’s website.  The Church Office (pastadmin@stjohnsdumfries.,org) can provide Zoom joining details.  The invitation to join in ‘Prayer Space’ is not just for MU members…(see above)

We are hoping to have different themes in the window bays in the church at Harvest, particularly celebrating the theme of ‘Gifts’.  If you would like to contribute towards the cost of the flowers, provide some kind of gift, or would like to take on decorating a bay yourself, please speak to Carolynne or Janice.

Activities are resuming after the summer break.  Short Mat Bowling will resume, in the Hall, this Tuesday, 26/09/2023;  the Quiz Nights will resume this Friday, 29/09/2023, both at 7.30pm.

On the subject of activities, please support the Beetle Drive here at St J’s Hall on Friday, 06/10/2023.  Doors open 18.30;  eyes (however many you have) down at 19.00. There will be a refreshment break halfway through (no bush tucker involved), and a raffle.  No entry fee, but donations invited.  If you’ve never played before, don’t worry;  all will be explained, and it should be fun.

Dumfries Christian Network tells us…

African Children’s Choir on Monday 25th September at 2.00pm in St Andrew’s Church (picture of poster below…note that the time is incorrectly stated on the poster;  concert starts at 2pm, not 2.30pm)

Quartz says…

  • CLC:  This is the Quartz house group, we meet every second Monday. More info is on the website. [www.wordsmithcrafts.co.uk].  On the 05/10/2023, we are planning to meet at Tatyana’s!  Please get in touch if you need directions. 
  • Forest Church:  We will continue to meet at the Crichton on the 3rd Sunday in the Month.  
  • Magazine:  A Quartz review is being written for the Autumn/Winter St Johns Magazine. You can still read the last one in the current magazine which can be downloaded from the St John’s website or picked up in the building.
  • The Blog:  This site is maintained by Wordsmith Crafts CIC. Sometimes the content comes from people who have sent things in. There is the capacity to let other people post blogs directly too, and these will be tagged with their name. This expands the use of the site to encourage discussion, even for those who cannot physically meet in one place often. If you would like to contribute, or recommend someone, please get in touch.
  • An invitation:  Would you like to become more involved in Quartz?   We will be publishing a list of ideas for projects. If you are inspired and would like to contribute an idea have a quick search on the website for similar things to compare it with what Quartz has done in the past – then send your idea in. Once the list is published, we will be trying to find people to help make them happen! Involvement in one activity does not commit you to being involved in any others (unless you want to be). If you are willing to be more involved in the planning and selection of ideas let us know.

Dumfries Academy tell us…We would be extremely grateful if you could share details about our Fairtrade Coffee Morning with your congregation.  It is being held on Saturday, 30th of September, 10am – 12:00 pm at St George’s Church Hall.  All the money raised will help pupils to finance a life changing trip to Kenya in 2024.   Entry costs £5 for adult and children can attend for free!

There will be live musical performances by pupils throughout the morning,  a raffle and a selection of stalls selling home-baking, second-hand books and home-made jewellery.  

It promises to be a good day!

Contemporary Service

The Contemporary Service will be at 6pm on Sunday 21st September followed by refreshments in the hall.

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St John's Church

2 days 14 hours ago

Sunday 24th September is our Seventeenth Sunday Service after Pentecost. There is an Eucharistic service at 11:00 am. Do join us- be great to see you! Tonight there is a

St John's Church

6 days 18 hours ago

You are must welcome to join us for our contemporary service this Sunday in St John’s at 6pm. Be great to see you! 👍

St John's Church

1 week 4 days ago

Choral Evensong will take place at St John's Church, Newall Terrace, Dumfries, on Sunday 17th September at 6pm, sung by the Choir of St John's Church, Dumfries, in memory of

St John's Church

3 weeks 3 days ago

Sunday 3rd September is our Fourteenth Sunday Service after Pentecost. There is an Eucharistic service at 11:00 am. Do join us- be great to see you! Tonight there is evensong