Glasgow Churches Together (GCT) marked St. Andrew’s Day with a sung Vespers at St. Andrew’s Cathedral on the vigil of the feast. The congregation was welcomed by piper Jacqueline Riley, and as they waited for the service to begin, the St. Mungo Singers and harpist Carissa Bovill provided prayerful, reflective music.
The church representatives processed through the cathedral to the sanctuary to light the candles for the beginning of the service, to the singing of “O Light from Light, our Footsteps Guide” – the words of the late Fr. James Quinn to the tune known as “Dream Angus”.
Archbishop Tartaglia led the congregation in the opening prayer before welcoming everyone to the celebration of the feast of St. Andrew, patron of the country and of the Cathedral. He offered a particular welcome to the church representatives: Major Bruce Smith of the Salvation Army, Rev. Alan Anderson of the Methodist Church, Rev. Howard Hudson Moderator of the Glasgow Presbytery of the Church of Scotland and Dr. Lawrence Whitley of St. Mungo’s Cathedral.
After the opening hymn – the appropriate “Lord, you have come to the seashore” which reminds us both of St. Andrew’s trade and his calling by the Lord – the choir led the singing of Psalms 115 and 125 and the Canticle from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians (“Though Jesus Christ was in the form of God”).
Rev. Alan Anderson proclaimed the scripture reading from Ephesians before the Moderator gave the reflection. He confessed to a great liking for St. Andrew – an example for everyone in Scotland. Andrew is not mentioned much in the Synoptic Gospels but in the Gospel of St. John, Andrew appears as one who leads people to Jesus. He does not keep his knowledge of the Lord to himself.
Firstly he brings his brother Peter to Jesus and doesn’t seem to mind that Peter gets the “starring role”. How different things would have been if he had not made that introduction but Andrew is happy to work in the background. He finds and brings the little boy with the loaves and fishes – he was keen to bring anyone who could be of use and never underestimated what could happen. Finally he introduces the Greek visitors. Philip went to Andrew for advice on their request to meet Jesus, seeing Andrew as the one who would know what to do, the man to go to. Are we, Rev. Hudson asked, like Andrew, anxious to share the Good News and to serve Jesus in whatever way we can?
As the congregation reflected on this challenge, Carissa played quietly. The service then continued with the singing of the Responsory “Christ was humbler yet”and the Magnificat. The intercessions were read by representatives of the churches, praying for Glasgow and its people, the Scottish nation and the congregation present.
The Lord’s Prayer was sung and the celebration ended with a blessing by the church leaders, the singing of “God to Enfold You” and, for the Recessional, the Canticle from Colossians “Let’s Give Thanks to God” to the joyful tune “Alleluia, Sing to Jesus”.
The evening finished with a lovely buffet in the Eyre Hall and an opportunity to talk – a fitting ending to the marking of the Feast.