Weekly Update - 12th June
Dear sisters and brothers,
The First Minister’s daily broadcast last Monday was a classic, good news/bad news scenario. She spoke optimistically about further easing of the lockdown at the end of next week (although of course that might have changed by the time you read this), but she went on to explain that those who are “shielding” will have to continue to do so until, possibly, the end of July. For many of you who are shielding, that must have been extremely disappointing and difficult to hear. I want to, once again, assure you of my prayers and reiterate the offer of whatever support we can give. For example, as well as helping in practical ways, we can now help you to get connected ‘online’ if that is something you would like to try. This would enable you to be in touch with family and friends by video, watch church services, and access many other things on the internet. If you would like to find out more, please contact me or mention it to one of the Church elders or pastoral team.
The truth is that we often find it hard to put ourselves in other people’s shoes and fully appreciate what they are experiencing. It can, for example, be difficult for us to understand why some people would put themselves and others at risk by demonstrating on the streets against racism. It can be easy to dismiss such a thing as foolishness. Yet for those of us who have not experienced racism, it is hard for us to fully understand it. The gospel of Matthew tells us that as Jesus looked around he had compassion on people because “they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). He told his disciples to go and pray, and it would seem that he wanted them to pray until they saw things from his perspective. Only then were they ready to be sent out with the transforming message of the Kingdom of God.
When we pray it is right that we should pray for other people. But perhaps we should first pray that God would help us to see people as he sees them: to understand them and empathise with them. Such a prayer might bring about a significant change in us and make us ready to be part of God’s work of bringing help, healing and peace into the world.
Our world is certainly in need of help, healing and peace at the moment. So are many people around us. We can all pray: it remains the most important thing we can do for others and for ourselves at this time. May our prayers transform our hearts and move us to action.
As always I have attached details of events taking place in the church this coming week, as well as the Bible passages for the daily prayers and the songs for Sunday. If you have not tried either watching the services or ‘listening in’ on the phone either on Sunday morning or at 12 noon every day, I would really encourage you to do so.
With love from Sarah and myself,