Hey everyone. With this being Sunday I did as I always do and made the short or perhaps I should say very short journey to the kirk on the corner that is Baillieston St Andrew’s.
On arriving about one minute before the service was due to commence, I noticed that someone was sitting in my usual place. However not being the type who has ever been bothered by such things I sat in the pew opposite from where I would normally sit and found that It made no real difference to my enjoyment of the service. Well if I’m being honest, that’s not quite true, this change of position actually increased my access to the service. You see sitting in the middle section of the church meant that depending on who was standing in front of me it meant I could look in any of two directions to the see the hymns on overhead projectors. Another benefit was the fact I could read my bible properly as I had a clearer view and better lighting in which to see it the passage.
This is one of life’s sweetest ironies because the passage Malcolm explored today was on the very same thing that I had broken, habits and traditions. You see two of the key things which can hold people back from belief are rules and regulations.
As Malcolm explained one of the difficulties Jesus faced in his ministry was the fact that the religious leaders of the time were so wedded to rules and regulations that they couldn’t believe anything or anyone who called them in to question.
This was the problem Jesus faced and in many respects it is still facing the same problems now. For example Malcolm told the story of a young girl who wishes a church baptism for her baby but who was told probably by a well meaning friend who doesn’t attend church that she couldn’t have a service unless she attended for six weeks before the christening.
Fortunately a skilled and caring minister was able to put her mind at rest and tell her that was not the case just as he was able to inform a woman who had lost her husband that you don’t need to be a member of the church to get your nearest and dearest a church service to start their final journey.
As he stated in a sermon delivered with passion and conviction the church should be a place for everyone which is inclusive and accessible to all who need it. He said it was important to realise that the old religion of rules and restrictions was exactly what Jesus came to earth to end and we need to face this fact no matter how difficult it may be for some of us to do so. Being on what I like to call the liberal wing of the church I can say with certainty that I do not see this being a challenge to me.
You know during the service Malcolm told the story of a man who wanted a hot line to heaven in New York and he was prepared to go to New York to get it. However on arrival at the church he was told it would cost him a cool million pounds to get the use of it. When the man said he couldn’t afford it. The Minister to go India as knew there was another church with a hotline to god in Bombay. So ever the traveller the man set off to India. On getting to his destination he was told that the use of the hotline to God would cost him 20 Million Rupees. When the man protested that he couldn’t afford that kind of money the Minister offered him one last hope. There was one last church he could try St Andrew’s church in Baillieston. Desperate the man decided he had nothing left to lose so he made his way to Baillieston.
On arrival at Baillieston he was greeted by one of our elders and asked the price of using this hotline to God and was delighted when our elder told him it was a fiver. A fiver the man exclaimed in relief, yes the elder replied you see it’s a local call.
Now personally I think a fiver is a wee bit expensive but you see I know the true price of using a hotline to God and that price is nothing. It’s completely free and you can get always get through straight away. You see we can all make that call on the hotline to heaven and that we can do it by saying our prayers because the ultimate access to the kingdom of God is neither wealth nor riches it is only one thing and it costs nothing except belief it is called the power of faith.
Love And Best Wishes