From the Manse

A message from Rev. Dan Harper, April 2017

Dear friends,

Snow lies on the ground, the wind is fierce and the sun is occasionally warm. In addition, the Stated Annual Meeting has been and gone and Palm Sunday and Holy Week and Easter are most visible on the horizon.

In all of this, in winter giving way to spring, in cold giving way to warmth, and in the personal piety of Lent giving way to the celebration of life that is Easter we have so much to be thankful for. Travelling through Lent, the triumphal entry on Palm Sunday and the empty hopelessness of Good Friday is a roller coaster of emotions and spiritual reflection. Even though we know the end of that part of the story, the glorious resurrection of Jesus that we celebrate on Easter morning, we still hurt and doubt and question, and these are good things.

The journey of doubt, questioning and hopelessness that we can personally make in Holy Week echoes the wider pattern of our lives. If we do not doubt, then have we really tried to engage with the ineffable mystery and majesty that is God; if we do not question our beliefs, it is difficult to say they are anything more than a simple parroting of what we have been told; if, at the very least, we do not feel in our darkest moments that all hope is gone, are we really taking seriously the notion that hope exists at all?

As we wrestle with the questions and the doubt that naturally arise at this time we must seek answers and engage with our doubts. The days of winter are behind us and the new life of spring is viscerally emerging all around us and that new life can point us to the new life evidenced in the resurrection of Jesus. As sure as the year moves from winter to spring, wherever there is death or hopelessness these things will move towards life and new hope.

The Spirt of God breathes new life into all things, and that breath might be through us. We have to be ready to engage with our questions and our doubts, and we have to be ready to hold them in tension with being an agent of God brining new life and hope into situations we find ourselves in.
God bless

We have received two letters of thanks from SICJG for donations we sent from the Social Team and Sunday School, totalling £1,072.91.

Dan our minister writes…
Upon hearing the news come out of Westminster last month it is natural for our hearts to sink and our stomachs to knot. Upon hearing the news the victims and their families become the focus of our thoughts and prayers.

It is difficult to find words to articulate our feelings in response to atrocities such as these, it is easy to allow anger to rise within us and seek a violent and unjust response. Wherever and whenever we see violence and terror and fear and hate, it is easy to think that the answer lies in responding in kind. However, our response has to be one guided by the guiding principles of God.

If we try to follow Christ then we are called actively work for peace, not just stop war. In the face of acts that are intended to kill and maim and cause terror, we are called to build peace. We are called to try to build understanding, to enact mercy, seeking that everyone has their needs addressed.

It is easy to focus on the violent acts of the few, but we should turn our attention to the medical and service personnel who ran towards danger to bring healing, and the acts of compassion and mercy within the fear. That is where the truth lies, that is where the love can be seen. That is where God is found.

Upon hearing the news we must pray in word and deed for the victims, we must focus on the acts of mercy and compassion in the face of fear, we must remember that love will ultimately win.