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from St Margaret's Episcopal Church in Newlands, Glasgow, with the Rev Scott Robertson and Glasgow Chamber Choir directed by Michael Bawtree.

Release date:

38 minutes

Last on

Sun 13 Oct 2013 08:10

SCRIPT St Margaret's, Newlands, 13/10/13

Please note:

This script cannot exactly reflect the transmission, as it was prepared before the service was broadcast. It may include editorial notes prepared by the producer, and minor spelling and other errors that were corrected before the radio broadcast.

It may contain gaps to be filled in at the time so that prayers may reflect the needs of the world, and changes may also be made at the last minute for timing reasons, or to reflect current events. 

Opening announcement from R4 Continuity:<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Now it’s time for Sunday Worship which comes live from St Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Glasgow, and is introduced by the Rector, the Reverend Scott Robertson. 






Good morning and welcome to St Margaret’s on the south side of Glasgow.

I, along with my clergy colleague, the Reverend Maggie McTernan and the congregation,  greet you in the healing name of Jesus Christ.

We are also delighted to be joined today by the Glasgow Chamber Choir, who celebrate their 20th anniversary this year.



Our beautiful church is, of course, dedicated to St Margaret, the 11th century Queen of Scotland, whose life of godly devotion and service of her people is illustrated in many of the stained-glass windows around us this morning. Margaret’s internationalism and her deep personal devotion not only testify to her enduring legacy but also serve as a reminder to us of the wider dimensions of the healing power of God. In that spirit, we begin by approaching God in the singing of the hymn: For the Healing of the Nations.



MUSIC   Hymn:   For the Healing of the Nations (Tune: Alleluia Dulce Carmen)







The original motto of this city is based on a sermon preached by Mungo, Glasgow’s patron saint. It runs: Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of the word and the praising of thy name. This morning as we reflect on what it means to flourish, what it means to be whole, we come before our Creator and Sustainer and seek his healing and forgiveness.





Let us pray

Almighty God,

to whom all hearts are 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 Christ our Lord.  Amen.


God is love and we are his children.

There is no room for fear in love.

We love because he 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.


God, who is both power and love,

forgive us and free us from our sins,

heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,

and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord.



OLD TESTAMENT READING  2 Kings 5: 1-15c:     Adrian Osmond                     

A reading from the Second Book of Kings Chapter 5 beginning at the first verse.


1 Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favour with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. 2 Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman's wife. 3 She said to her mistress, "If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy." 


4 So Naaman went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said. 5 And the king of Aram said, "Go then, and I will send along a letter to the king of Israel." He went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of garments. 6 He brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, "When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his leprosy." 


7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, "Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me." 8 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, "Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel." 9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha's house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, "Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean." 


11 But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, "I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! 12 Are not the rivers of Damascus better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?" He turned and went away in a rage. 


13 But his servants approached and said to him, "Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, "Wash, and be clean'?" 14 So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean. 15 Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, "Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel."





We dwell in a world that so often appears shadowed by pain and sorrow. So much so that we can find it difficult in such darkness and gloom to discern the specks of light that remind us of the fragile healing which forever endures beyond the clouds of despair. James Agee captures something of this powerful, gossamer hope in his beautiful poem Sure on this shining night, which was set to music by Samuel Barber.



MUSIC    CHOIR ONLY:     Sure on this shining light

Words: Agee / Music: Barber




SERMON 1:      Maggie


I heard on the news recently that the accent in Glasgow is changing – apparently Glaswegian fans of Eastenders are picking up the cockney dialect of their favourite soap stars!  But if you go into schools in Glasgow, you will find another change to the accent, with dozens of different languages spoken from all over the world – children whose families come from many countries, for many reasons, who find their home now in Glasgow.


Amongst the children that Glasgow has welcomed from other parts of the world are hundreds of children who are refugees – children who have been forced out of their homes due to conflict or persecution, finding a home in our city.  Our Old Testament story starts with a girl who has been forced out of her own country, Israel, because of conflict.  She has been taken to Aram – a land which roughly equates with modern Syria – and given as a slave to the wife of a military commander, Naaman.  This was a man who had invaded her country, was quite possibly responsible for her captivity.  She has no reason to have any compassion for him, and yet she does.  This little girl seems able to look beyond the hurts of her own situation.  When she looks at Naaman, she sees not her enemy, but a man who is also suffering, and she has compassion for him.


The girl speaks peace to her enemy, a brave act, and he listens.  And Naaman crosses the border again, not to make war this time, but to ask for help.


Elisha, the prophet of Israel, gives him a simple instruction – wash in the river Jordan and you will be clean.  But it's too much for Naaman.  He's listened to the Israelite slave girl, he's come begging to the Israelite prophet, and now he has to bathe in an Israelite river?  This is demeaning!  He is ready to walk away.  Fortunately Naaman is blessed with good servants, as well as the sense to listen to them.  'You can do the big thing if it's asked of you,' his servant says, 'yet you are not willing to do this simple thing?' 


So Naaman bathes in the river.  With the help of foreigners and servants, Naaman is healed of his illness.  He comes back to the prophet in thankfulness.  He has been humbled, but he has not been put down, rather he has been lifted up.  Like the little girl, he has looked beyond national borders to see the God who has healed him – a God not limited by human boundaries, but who is there for all who call on him in faith.




MUSIC  Hymn:      Lord, we come to ask your healing (Tune: Ar hyd y nos)



GOSPEL READING   Luke 17: 11-19:    Jenny            


A reading from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 17.


11 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee.12 As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13 they called out, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" 14 When he saw them, he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were made clean. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16 He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18 Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" 19 Then he said to him, "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well."



SERMON 2       Scott


The notion of return does not have a good press. Any movie that begins “The return of…” rarely gets the critics’ hearts racing. Return can imply old hat, second rate or, worse, worthy of utter rejection. What jilted lover can endure that final passionate letter offered in forlorn hope but ultimately rebounding to them with the dreaded line emblazoned on the envelope: “Return to sender”? Someone once said that we should never return to places where we have known great happiness. The tacit implication from that cheery philosopher is that we are bound to be disappointed.

Today, though, we encounter someone who gives the lie to that image of return. The Samaritan leper returns in gratitude to the one who has effectively brought him back to life. This particular return is a return from the dead. We have no idea what prompted such improvised gratitude, but we do know that, as a Samaritan, whose history and culture made him feel like an outsider, it must have cost something. The Samaritan leper’s real journey began not when his leprosy was healed, but at the point when he turned on his heel and returned to the healer. The theologian, Ulrich Simon, has said that all meetings have an inevitably transitory nature, but this meeting between Jesus and the leper is intensified because the Samaritan chooses to return.

His return moved him beyond the other nine who simply perform their religious duty which qualified them to go back to society. This ‘foreigner’, as Jesus describes him, goes beyond his religious duty. He returns to the source of his healing. And it is in his return that his soul as well as his skin is healed. It would be to miss the point of this story to concentrate simply on the miracle itself. The real focus is in the thankful return, for it is that moment when mercy is glimpsed. It is in that moment that eyes and hearts are opened. Jesus isn’t looking for praise in this story. We shouldn’t read Jesus’s response as self-regarding or petulant. He is asking the question of the nine: ‘Did they not recognise the true gift that has been offered? Have they only looked skin deep?’

What does it mean, then, for us to return? What heel-turning moments have we experienced, only for us to stubbornly carry on walking? How many times have we perhaps regretted those missed opportunities of returning to the source of our well-being? To return means that I acknowledge that I do not live in a world of one. To return is to acknowledge the other. In a world where, despite the ever present advance of a myriad forms of communication, we encounter so much loneliness and the fracturing of relationships. The isolation that the lepers experienced in the gospel story is sadly replicated in a multitude of ways in our towns and cities today. To choose to return is to face our own often self-inflicted isolation and to seek after reconciliation and wholeness. We are not meant to be alone. Our wholeness, our healing is found in community.

In many ways we find this difficult. Pride or the distractions of life can get in the way. We are, too often, too thick-skinned to feel the need of another’s touch. But, mercifully, God’s healing revolution is not over. Our return is always possible, because God’s healing is always available. And to return is to regenerate, to reinvigorate our hitherto hardened hearts. To return is truly to live in the light of grace and mercy. To return is perpetually but gently to tend to the healing heart of all who would choose to follow the path of redemptive love. To return provides the moment to meet with God.


We are, each of us, called on a pilgrimage - a pilgrimage that involves a perpetual return to the source of our healing.  This hopeful journey is aptly described in a prayer by Canon Derrick Walters as the Secret of Christ, and this morning we reflect upon this secret as it is set to music by Richard Shephard. 



MUSIC  CHOIR ONLY -  ANTHEM:   The Secret of Christ - Richard Shephard



Text:  For a long time I have held my peace, but now will I speak. I will lead the blind in a way they know not, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn their darkness into light, and I will not forsake them. (Isaiah 42: 14-16)

And he showed me a pure river of the water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God; and on either side of the river was there a tree of life, and the leaves of the trees were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22: 1-3)

Help us, Lord, to persevere in prayer with minds awake and thankful hearts, that we may share the secret of Christ with those we meet on our earthly pilgrimage, following in the steps of Jesus, our master and our friend. Amen. (Colossians 4: 2-4)




The 10 were healed but only one came back to offer praise, in his own unique way, for what God had done. Someone once said that praise is love improvising its answer to love. Each of us brings our own unique response to God. Many of us would, ideally, wish to identify with the one leper who returned to give thanks to the one who healed him. The reality often is that we find ourselves in all our ordinariness and necessary busyness, more associated with the nine. This poem by Genaro Jesse Perez captures the beauty and simplicity of a life transformed and lived in understated gratitude.



Adrian Osmond - Poem: Ten Lepers   


Forgive me, dearest God,

for not being the one ...



MUSIC   CHOIR ONLY  Be still and know that I am God (1 verse)






Healing God,

Lover of the unloved,

Advocate of the alienated,

Friend to all who are in need,

Hear these prayers we bring to You.


May those caught up in extreme circumstances around the world such as war, famine and persecution know Your restoring love. Turn their eyes to You, Lord, that they may experience the kind of peace & calm that can only come from You.

This morning we specially remember to you people on the East Coast of India, as they face the devastation of cyclone Phailin. 

Lord in Your mercy,

hear our prayer.


In our own country, kindle in each person an overwhelming desire to help those who are struggling due to unemployment, poverty or prejudice.  May those who govern over us make responsible decisions on our behalf and be led by their consciences rather than political aspirations.


Lord in Your mercy,

hear our prayer.


For the Christian community throughout the world, we pray for steadfast belief and unflinching faith. May the Church be a beacon to those who seek a better way to live, a more responsible way to live. Bless all those who have committed their lives to You and to Your service - breathe new life into their work as they strive for You.


Lord in Your mercy,

hear our prayer.


In our communities, Lord, show us how to reflect the comfort and peace that we find in You.  May our satisfaction and pleasure come, not just from doing great things for others, but from doing small things with great love. Lay Your healing hands on all those who are sick, in pain or in turmoil - soothe and settle their distressed hearts and minds. We pray for all those we love and cherish – bless each of them and hold them close to You. 



MUSIC   CHOIR ONLY  Be still and know that I am God (1 verse)



And we bring all our prayers together in the words that Jesus taught us when we say:



Our Father in heaven,

hallowed he 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.




Healing God,

Lover of the unloved,

Advocate of the alienated,

Friend to all who are in need,

Accept these prayers for the sake of Your Son, Our Saviour Jesus Christ,




Naaman the Syrian and the Samaritan leper found themselves culturally and physically alienated from others in their world.  We have been reminded today of the God who breaks down those barriers, who provides the opportunity for return and restoration, and who seeks us out to be people prepared to take that revolutionary, healing message to the world.  So we conclude by singing the hymn The Kingdom of God is Justice and Joy.



MUSIC   Hymn:       The kingdom of God  (Tune: Hanover)

Choir / Congregation / Organ



Blessing        Scott


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 almighty,

the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and

remain with you always.     Amen.




MUSIC    Organ voluntary:  John Ireland's 'Alla Marcia' pub. Novello