St. Andrews Church Blog
Living Stones PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Johnston   
Friday, 06 April 2012 20:39

Stones at the foot of the cross

This evening in our Good Friday Service we gathered at the foot of the cross (still adorned with the suggestions from the young people at Calderside Academy) and heard the stories of six witnesses to the events at the cross: Simon of Cyrene, John, Mary Magdalene, Roman Centurion, Mary (Jesus' mother) and Joanna. My thanks to Linda Lees and Janice Brewster for giving voice to the female stories.

We placed a stone before the cross in memory of their witness to us. We also remembered that we are called to be living stones witnessing to the continuing forgiveness, love and grace that the cross bears witness to in our own lives.

The service closed with us all saying together:

We will not go from here believing this is
all there is.
We will believe through the night,
and we will believe into the dawn.

We will not go from here believing this is
all there is.
We will believe beyond torture,
and we will believe into freedom.

We will not go from here believing this is
all there is.
We will believe beyond tombs,
and we will believe into eternity.

We will not go from here believing this is
all there is.
We will believe against the darkness,
and we will believe into the light.

We will not go from here believing this is
all there is.
We will believe beyond gravestones,
and we will believe that stones roll.

We will not go from here believing this is
all there is.
We will believe beyond the cross,
and we will believe through to

(Words from Spill the Beans)

The Kiss PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Johnston   
Thursday, 05 April 2012 21:51

Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane

We ended our time of worship this evening for Maundy Thursday, following a remembrance of the Last Supper, with these words:

And so we are left here;
the table is empty.

Let us go with Jesus
to the garden
to hide among the olive trees
and wait.

O how waiting is hard tonight.
It is like that moment before the storm
when even the universe goes silent,
and the stars shrivel
and everything knows
something is about to happen.
And so we wait
because it is all we can do.

Jesus’ betrayer,
stealing towards him.
The universe holds it’s breath,
the air stops moving,
the Saviour stands, head bowed
and soon it is begun.
The future unfolds its long shadows
and the clouds roll,
and God falls
to the sound
of a kiss.

(Words from Spill the Beans, painting by , 1901)

Nature or Grace? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Johnston   
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 18:36

Tree of Life Film Poster

Last night I finally gave up on awaiting the DVD delivery of the film "The Tree of Life" from LoveFilm - which has been on my rental list for months - and ended up purchasing a copy from the Playstation Store to watch via the PS3. I'd been wanting to watch the film since it won the Palme d'Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011, as its themes of faith, our place in the universe, the nature of God, love and grace, and some mind-bending imagery from science's current understanding of the origins both of the universe and life itself seemed extraordinary. That the film also starred Brad Pitt and Sean Penn made it even more intriguing.

Well, it certainly is quite a movie. I thought it was fabulous, but I can totally understand why some people would get utterly frustrated with it. Some have thought it to be pretentious rubbish, others have said that it provides a poignant glimpse into eternal questions, others declare it a masterpiece. I tend towards the latter camps, but the film no doubt demands some sacrifice from its audience in order to make the most of it. This is not your typical Hollywood blockbuster! [There's more...]

On the Easter Trail PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Johnston   
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 17:59

Braving the very cold turn in the weather, we took advantage of the afternoon to visit the first day of the Strathaven churches Easter Trail 2012 this afternoon. This uses various sites around the town as a kind of mini-Oberammergau allowing you to explore the events of Holy Week. This is their third time of putting on the trail, and the first time we have managed to visit it.

The organisers, drawn from all the local chuches, have put a lot of thought and energy into the various sites, and this effort really helps to make the journey a memorable one. We joined one of the guided tours, which worked very well (thanks, John!), though you can do the trail yourselves. As we are not setting up a labyrinth for Good Friday this year, I found this a good way to explore the story, though be prepared for it to take a couple of hours. [There's more...]

The legacy of John Ogilvie PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Johnston   
Saturday, 31 March 2012 13:16

St John Ogilvie by Peter Howson (cropped)

On Thursday evening Carolyn, Sophia, Katherine and I travelled into Glasgow to St Michael's Roman Catholic Church in the shadow of Celtic Park for the ninth of eleven performances of the play "The Martyrdom of Saint John Ogilvie" written and directed by Stephen Callaghan, who also played the main part, St John Ogilvie. My hat is doffed to Stephen, it was a fantastic performance, which I know he had to take on at short notice when the actor who was due to play the part could not do so.

The play is just part of Lentfest with many different arts events taking place across Glasgow during the season of Lent organised by A.G.A.P. (the Archdiocese of Glasgow Arts Project) where my sister works with Stephen as administrator for the project.

I'm not sure if I can say I really enjoyed the play, as it casts light on a time of our history that is bedevilled with fear of the other and abusive power games that turned once well-meaning, goodly and Godly people into tyrants. If it doesn't make you uncomfortable as you watch an account of events that took place just near us, then I don't know what would. But I was moved and impressed by the dedicated performances put in by all the players. [There's more...]

Flip-sides of the Cross PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Johnston   
Saturday, 31 March 2012 12:18

Cross at Calderside Academy

All of last week the chaplaincy team were leading assemblies in Calderside Academy using the cross as the symbol that directed our thoughts. The cross was swiped from the wall in the church - while at some point this will no doubt find a home high up on the sanctuary wall, it sure is handy to have a large cross to be able to use for this kind of activity!

We were thinking about the cross at the pre-eminent moment in human history where what tries to diminish us is reversed by that which can fulfil human life. [There's more...]

Culture, Faith and Mission PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Johnston   
Monday, 26 March 2012 12:12

Pastor John Chilimtsidya

A long day on Friday meant that when I got the chance at 10 p.m. having put the two younger kids to bed, I headed for the pillow myself. Stupidly, I checked facebook after plugging my phone in to charge on the bedside cabinet and saw the beginnings of a long discussion in the facebook OneKirk group from folks who had just watched the second episode in the series "Reverse Missionaries" on BBC2. The programme was recorded, but I had intended to watch it another time. The comments - one of which cheekily came to the conclusion that all the woes in Blantyre are due to me (thank you, Bryan!) - raised my curiosity level, and I ended up heading back downstairs to watch the programme.

I confess to a lot of mixed emotions having watched it. This seems to be echoed in the various comments from others either on facebook or in person. There was a wider story that it was good to tell, and raises a lot of questions and challenges for us and for the church as a whole, and then there were the very local issues that drastically oversimplified the story of church life in Blantyre for the sake of making the documentary easier to follow. [There's more...]

To have and to hold... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Johnston   
Thursday, 22 March 2012 01:20

Wedding Cake

It has been a very long day. I'm still awaiting a moment to slow down for a breather after returning from Baltimore. Nae luck so far. However, it was a fun and extremely varied day.

Worship planning for Sunday first thing, a trip to Costco as soon as they opened to pick up a wedding cake for the afternoon, a disagreement with the staff at Costco about the pricing of Cadbury's Hot Chocolate for Cosy Café (I eventually got the refund!), and then a visit with a family about a baptism before lunch.

In the afternoon, the mock wedding with the P3 class from David Livingstone Memorial Primary School was good fun (and thanks to the folks at Livingstone Memorial Church for hosting and making the afternoon special for the children and parents who attended). I was asked at the reception after the service, "So do you think that will make them more likely to get married in the future?" A good question in a culture where a formal commitment between couples is becoming ever less common. [There's more...]