St Andrew’s Day 2010

St Andrew’s Day 2010 was celebrated twice in St Peter’s, Partick this year as the parish was joined by guests from Glasgow Churches Together on Sunday 28th for an Evening Prayer anticipating the feastday. Great plans were laid – the St Mungo Singers were being joined by members of 6 other choirs, plus St Andrew’s Secondary Brass Ensemble, by Harpist and Piper, Violinist and Whistler as well as the organists! However, the weather (and copious amounts of snow) reminded us quite unambiguously of how much we depend on its sometimes capricious favours!

St Andrew's Secondary Brass Ensemble

As it turned out, only a quorum of singers were able to make it and were accompanied by St Andrew’s Secondary Brass Ensemble, with Jane McKenna and Des McLean on the organ, and Noel Donnelly on the Clarsach. In the circumstances they all did very well. Some parishioners, the local City Councillor, Aileen Colleran, and the Rev Alan Anderson attended. There was much sympathy for the Piper stranded in Balmaha, for others stranded all over the city, and even as far away as Edinburgh, Cumbernauld and Troon!

The local Councillor Aileen Colleran. and some of the choir

The Brass Ensemble started us off and set the tone with a very moving rendition of Bruckner’s Locus Iste (This place, made by God . . .)
and they were succeeded by the choir’s singing of what was clearly a well liked anthem.
The presiding priest, Fr Willy Slavin, lit the Advent candle as we sang the short 7th century hymn ‘Creator of the Stars of Night’ – to a 19th century translation. There is something very special about singing that evening hymn, steeped in centuries of usage, with its confidence that God will listen to us, and ending with praise of the Holy Trinity.

Let us pray

Yours is the day and yours the night, Lord God:
Let the Sun of Justice shine so steadily in our hearts,
that we, who gather to honour Andrew, your servant and friend,
may come at length to that light where you dwell eternally.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit.
God for ever and ever.

Fr Slavin then welcomed us to St Peter’s before beginning the Evening Prayer proper singing ‘O God, come to our aid: O Lord, make haste to help us. Glory to the Father . . . . .

The organ and Brass then led us in the Vaughan-William’s powerful setting of the Old 100th psalm: All people that on earth do dwell…’ – always an enjoyable as well as a prayerful experience. We sat for the psalms: Firstly Psalm 115 with the antiphon ‘The Lord saw Peter and Andrew and he called them to follow him,’ and then joined in the psalm-prayer:

Let us pray

Lord, with the psalmist we trust in your care for us.
As we walk together in your presence
We praise you through Christ our Lord.

The 2nd psalm was Ps 125 with the antiphon: ‘Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men,’ and the psalm-prayer:

Lord, throughout the history of your people
You sent them leaders to minister to their needs.
Send ministers for your people in our time,
And give each of us the grace to answer the call to service.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

A Canticle from Philippians 2:6-11 seemed particularly suitable for the feastday of an apostle and martyr:

Though Jesus Christ was in the form of God,
he did not count such equality to be grasped.
Instead, he freely emptied out himself,
and took the form of a servant, was born like us.

In human form he chose humility,
and gave himself up to dying upon a cross.
Because of this our God exalted him, and raised him
gave him a name above every name.

At Jesus’ name now every knee should bow
be they in heav’n or on earth or creation’s depths.
All glory be to God the Three in One,
the Father, Son, Holy Spirit for ever more.

The Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:11-13 was read by the Rev Alan Anderson of the Methodist Church who was also representing Glasgow Churches Together of which he is the Vice-Chair.

The Rev Alan Anderson and some of the choir

The reflection was given by Fr Willy Slavin, parish priest of St Peter’s:

“One of the abiding memories of the Papal Mass at Bellahouston was the sea of Scottish Saltires fluttering in the breeze. It’s startling to think how recent and now almost complete is the use of the cross of St Andrew to “brand” Scotland (as distinct from the Lion Rampant – or the Union Flag which includes the cross). It’s also interesting that it owes nothing to the churches. Least of all the Catholic Church which two years ago, when the First Sunday of Advent fell on 30 November was one of the few institutions to postpone the feast of our national patron.

However St Andrew’s story came to be washed up on the shores of Scotland we must be grateful for his patronage, albeit we share it with other countries. According to the Gospel he was the one who took Peter to Jesus. And when the crowd had nothing to eat he was the one who noticed the boy who had five loaves and two fish. So he was a key player among the Twelve.

It’s interesting to say the least in a time of increasing secularisation our country has opted to be branded with the cross of an Apostle. It offers a specific challenge as we seek to assert the distinctiveness of Scottish culture in the currently fraught political climate where there is the temptation to let dog eat dog and in the old Scottish phrase “let the de-il tak the hindmost”!

On this now national occasion perhaps today we could spare a thought for our politicians since they are represented among us tonight. Perhaps the churches could do more to support them and not always be critical. Most of them put themselves in front of the voters to help bear their burdens. Let us pray that they are able to point people in a better direction and encourage a fairer distribution of resources, as we believe St Andrew did in the gospel stories.”

Noel Donnelly’s resonant Clarsach piece somehow seemed very appropriate for the occasion and gave us to time for reflection.

The choir led us in the Responsory:
We praise you, O Christ, and we bless you
because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
Glory to the Father, glory to the Son,
glory to the Holy Spirit now and for ever. Amen

The Magnificat, the Song of Mary, which has been sung at the Church’s Evening Prayer since time immemorial, was sung to a recent setting by Mary Dickie:

The Intercessions
from Glasgow Churches Together were read by four members of the congregation:

All powerful and ever present God, you looked in love on Andrew, the ordinary fisherman, and called him to be a disciple and friend of Jesus your Son.
We honour Andrew for the witness of his life and martyrdom and are honoured to call him our national patron.
Today, with Andrew, we come before you in prayer:

We think of Andrew our patron saint, who caught a vision, followed it and enabled others to see it. May we be women and men who follow our vision and enable the dreams of others. Aware of our many different traditions and understandings and aware also of our common faith and baptism, may we grow fuller in respect and love one another. May the cross become an ever clearer sign of our unity in Jesus. May Jesus’ resurrection become an ever greater source of common hope in the full coming of your Kingdom.
Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us.

We are grateful for those in the past who have invested their strength and wisdom, their energy and commitment in the welfare of the people of Scotland and beyond – those who gave of themselves in working for freedom and justice for all: those who cared and sacrificed for the good of everyone; those who enabled our dreams and visions. We pray for our Scottish nation today in all its wonderful diversity of history, culture, creed , philosophy and race. May we come to recognise your image and likeness more fully in every one of our sisters and brothers. May we be more attentive to your message of love, so as to bring about justice and peace for all, particularly in these difficult economic times.
Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us.

We pray for our world in this time of crisis. We pray particularly for political and religious leaders that they may listen to Your voice so as to work for the good of all people, attend to the needs of all Your children and play their part in helping Your Kingdom to come in our day. By your Spirit end all crying and mourning and lead us to the New Jerusalem where we may truly rejoice with Christ.
Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us.

We pray that we may be given the grace both as individuals and as a nation to show gratitude for what has been good in our past, goodwill in the present and hope with determination for the days ahead. May we follow in the footsteps of Andrew as he followed the vision of the Jesus whose advent we celebrate. May God take us forward from where we are, to where we should be.
Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us.

The Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray:
God of majesty,
you called the blessed apostle Andrew
To preach the Gospel
and serve your Church.
Hear our devoted prayers,
and grant that your people may always be faithful
to the Gospel he preached.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
The congregation joined together in saying the St Andrew’s Day prayer and then
the choir led us in ‘God to enfold you.’

God, our loving Father,
St Andrew introduced Peter,
the Greek visitors,
& the little boy with loaves & fishes,
to your Son, Jesus Christ.
May we be like him in sharing
friendship and hospitality,
and in faithfulness to Jesus
and his Kingdom of justice,
love & peace.
May our country be a community
in which everyone matters,
everyone has an honoured place,
and the dignity of each
is assured by our faith in you
as Father of all.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. AMEN

May almighty God bless you,
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

The service concluded with the hymn: When Christ our Lord to Andrew…
and then people went through to the parish hall for tea, coffee, cake and biscuits – then home through the snow.

Enjoying tea and biscuits in the parish hall

Jane at the organ

Des McLean at the organ

Noel Donnelly on the Clarsach

Copyrights: The Canticle from Phil 2:6-11 (c) Stephen E Smyth and Mary Dickie’s setting of the Magnificat are available in Psalms and Songs of the Bible Book 1 published by St Mungo Music. St Andrew graphic © Netta Ewing.