8th May – Andrea’s Letter: Easter 4

8th May 2022

4th Sunday of Easter 2022 St Andrew’s Milngavie

Dear All
Today we were a good number as we gathered to celebrate the 4th Sunday of Easter.  Everyone was in excellent voice!
Don’t forget! – this afternoon 3pm – Milngavie Choir Spring Concert – St Joseph’s Church – please do support, tickets available on door

Notices for this week:
Tuesday 10am Prayer Group in the Garden Room.
Thursday 10am   Said Eucharist followed by coffee in Friendship House
Saturday 14th May    Bluebell Walk – Meet 11am Balmaha. Walk on Inchcailloch. Sail from boatyard at Balmaha c 11.am. Picnic on island. Walk 1 mile easy or 2 miles including climb to summit. Toilet on island. Return whenever you want. Tea rooms etc in Balmaha and Drymen.  Boat fare £7.50 and day ticket in car-park £3.20. Try to car share. No booking required but try to inform Jane or Tim by next Sunday May 7th if you intend to come.

Looking ahead…Queen’s Jubilee   Saturday 4th June we hope to run a Flower Show in Church 10am – 4pm.  We will need 6 volunteers to be welcomers in the church for an hour each.  Friendship House will also be open. If anyone is able to help with the flower arranging, please let me know.

Saturday 18th June 2pm -4pm Summer Tea Party and Stalls in the hall and garden – volunteers also required to cover stalls and provide tea and service.

Readings for next Sunday – 5th Sunday of Easter – Acts 11:1-18     Revelation 21:1-6      John 13:31-35

Further news from the diocese and church can be found on the St Andrews website. Click on the link below.


Acts 9:36-end

Revelation 7:9-end

John 10:22-30

During the season of Easter our Sunday scripture includes a reading from the book of the Acts of the Apostles. This is significant as it reminds us how important and essential those early apostles were in proclaiming The Gospel and beginning the early church. It never ceases to amaze me what they actually manged to achieve.  After all, if they hadn’t achieved this, we wouldn’t be sitting here today.  Through what can only be the power of the Holy Spirit, they transformed themselves from those fearful first days after the resurrection, to courageous faithful and inspired apostles.

Today we hear the wonderful story of the healing of Tabitha by Peter now a mature confident apostle. Last week we heard the moving account of the risen Christ appearing to a faltering Peter by the lake oif Tiberius where three times Jesus asks Peter if he loves him. Three times Peter confirms he does and in doing so reconciles the three denials before the crucifixion. Jesus then charges Peter to feed his lambs – to begin his ministry. And so here he is at the bedside of Tabitha restoring her to health, acting in faith and trust, inspired by the spirit. Once again, the courageous confident Peter that we first knew in the gospels.

This morning St John tells us that events in the Gospel today occurred in winter. Apparently, there are only two references to seasons in all of Scripture. There is one in the OT – In the Song of Solomon we hear of springtime: “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for lo the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come.” Song of Solomon 2: 12 a passage very commonly read at weddings.

The only New Testament reference to the time of year is found in our Gospel today “It was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon” John 10: 22.

This is John’s gospel, so we know there are hidden depths. It is likely by using the word winter he was referring to the spiritual climate expressed by those who were opposed to Jesus and his message. Jesus received endless criticism from the religious leaders in Jerusalem, but into this cold atmosphere Jesus spoke the beautiful words that compared his followers love and trust for him to the wonderful relationship between sheep and their shepherd. “My sheep hear my voice”, Jesus said. “I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10: 27-28 You can trust me Jesus seems to say.

This image of the Good Shepherd also reminds us that we need to be part of the flock, we can’t really flourish on our own. We may have the assurance of a love that will pursue us if we go astray, but the intention is for us to be connected, a part of the flock. So, we are urged today to remain in the fellowship because it is here with others that we have the best chance to know the joy of God who loves us plus it gives us the ability to remain calm in those moments when maybe we cannot hear the Shepherd’s voice as clearly as we might like.

Peter confidently heals Tabitha but with a confidence which comes from God and not by his own merits alone. Before Peter speaks to Tabitha – he prays. It was not his own power on which Peter called, it was the power of Jesus Christ. Sometimes we can be in danger of thinking too much of what we can do on our own and too little of what Christ can do through us. The extraordinary success of the early church was down to one thing.

At Pentecost, as Christ promised, God sent the Holy Spirit upon the disciples. This Holy Spirit  worked amongst them inspiring them, transforming them into confident and courageous disciples keen to spread the Good News of Christ and the hope of salvation to all people.  Against all the odds the News spread worldwide!

Today we may think we are up against the odds: with increasing secularisation, diminishing churches, and the world generally in a state of angst. The people of Ukraine central to our thoughts. Like the apostles immediately after Christ’s crucifixion we may well feel despair, hopeless and uncertainty But they didn’t give up – through the power of the Holy Spirit  they achieved the unachievable.

That is huge inspiration for us!

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd” John 10:11 What ever situation and odds we face, we do not face alone, the spirit is still alive today if we allow it.  Jesus is still our guide. So, let us be assured by these great words of Jesus about his sheep – us
“And I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, And no one will snatch them from my hand” John 10:28