This coming Sunday (28th November) is the annual Kirking of the Trades at St Andrew’s, this being the closest Sunday to St Andrew’s Day.
In the sanctuary, on the wall which faces the Terrace, there are two large stained glass windows often referred to as the “Trades’ windows” as they were given by the Nine Incorporated Trades (Ruth) and the Three United Trades (Jesus).
Most people attending the church will have a good view of these two windows but I wonder how often they look at them.
I’ve always liked to think that the subject matter had been chosen in order to represent some of the trades: Ruth in the farmer’s field makes us think, perhaps, of the hammermen and the bakers, while the young Jesus in Joseph’s workshop might suggest that a carpenter would also work with the wright and the mason.
It was only recently, when the Book of Ruth appeared in the lectionary readings, that I saw a biblical connection and, as with many revelations, I wondered why it had never struck me before. And it’s this: the son born to Ruth and the Israelite Boaz, her second husband, would become the grandfather of King David. Because of this Ruth, a Gentile, features in the family tree of our Lord Jesus himself.
Seen in that light, perhaps it is less surprising that God chose Mary, a young Jewish woman from the undistinguished town of Nazareth, to give birth to his Son.
God moves in mysterious ways!
Let us pray
You led Ruth from her homeland of Moab to the land of your chosen people
You brought her from the grief of widowhood to the joy of a new marriage
In Naomi she found someone who loved her unconditionally
In Boaz she found happiness second time around
In Obed she was blessed with a son
And in you, Lord, she recognised the God and Father of us all
Today we thank you for the blessing of friends and family
Above all, we thank you for your presence with us
both in the dark days and the times of greatest happiness and fulfilment
To you, dear God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
be the glory for ever
For more information on the stained glass windows: Stained Glass Windows | St Andrews Parish Church