Summary: Being a preacher in the town where I was brought up is hard. Yes I was no angel, but my bad reputation still stands as I am constantly reminded. We have all moved on, even Jesus, who had this problem as well.
This sermon was delivered to St Oswald’s, Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland on the 8th July 2016; St Oswald’s is a Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries.
Prayer: In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit let these words speak for you, to bless each and every one of us, in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Before we start, I would like to read of Gospel message again as it is so important to this sermon. Our text as I said earlier is Mark 6:1-13:
“Jesus came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him. Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honour, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.
Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics.
He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
Today’s readings are very close to my heart. I did not pick them but they are very coincidental, and a direct parallel in them with them is happening in my life and ministry here in Maybole. Obviously not to the same extent as Jesus, but there is a parallel just the same which I really need to explain.
Mark 6 verse 2 again says: Jesus came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him?
As many of you know, I was brought up in Maybole since birth, I am a 500 hundred generation McCulloch, and no matter where I go, I am still a Maybole man, which kind of bothers me at times.
As some of you know, my parents forced me to go to the West Parish Church, (the Church of Scotland), here in Maybole from a very early age, and sort of remained there for about 25 years, I became a member of another Church of Scotland, St Andrews church in Ayr, and although I got on well with the minister a Mr Neil, something was not right.
In fact I had a bad feeling in the church one day which suggested that I “leave right now”, in the middle of the service, and never return to the Church of Scotland again. Well I waited until the end, but I left and never returned. That was a horrible feeling, and I was worried about it, but at that time I was engaged to Christine, and Christine being Episcopal, somehow encouraged me to attend Holy Trinity in Ayr, where I remained for many years.
But again, that same feeling came back one day, that “this place is not where I should be” and after long deliberation I left Holy Trinity, in fact I gave up the church completely for about 8 or 9 months, knowing deep down I was to move on in faith, but I did not know where.
I did not know what to do until Christine said one day that as I hadn’t fallen out with anyone; and that as I spent every weekend at the village of Maidens, (5 miles away), why not come back to Maybole. She also said, sit up the back, speak to no one and disappear as soon as the service finishes. In fact don’t get involved in anything.