Weekly Update - 15th January
Dear sisters and brothers
I’m writing this having just finished broadcasting the daily prayers that we do every day at 12 noon on YouTube and on the phones. For those of you who have never watched a YouTube broadcast, it is a lot like watching the television except that those who are watching can, if they want, write a comment which appears ‘live’ during the broadcast. Many of those watching our daily prayers therefore take the opportunity to say ‘hello’ to everyone else watching and I can see their names pop up along with their greeting. Today, on a wet lunchtime in January while we are all locked down, I was quite moved to see the names appearing alongside warm greetings and know that we are sharing together in these difficult times. I know many of you cannot watch these broadcasts, but I hope that my weekly letter serves something of a similar purpose. The letter goes out to over 50 people with another 50 receiving it by email. As you read it, I wonder if you would stop and think of those others reading these same words and perhaps ask that God would draw close to them and give them peace. And as you do that, be aware that many, many people are similarly thinking about and praying for you: I know that I am even as I type these words.
Being separated from one another is hard: we all know that. Not being able to see family and friends; not being able to gather as a church or in our social activities – we’re all finding that difficult. The Gospel reading that we have just read in our daily prayers was Matthew 20:20-28: the story of James and John, along with their mother, asking Jesus for special favours. This causes consternation in the rest of the group of disciples and an argument follows. The story reminded me of how easy it is for relationships to be put under strain and for people to fall out. We’ve all at times shown the selfishness of James and John, and like the rest of the disciples we’ve all quickly become indignant at the behaviour of others. Jesus points out that the reason for both the selfishness and the indignation is because we are too focussed on our own lives. Rather we must focus on becoming a servant of all, in the way that Jesus himself was. One of the things that we’ve undoubtedly learnt from this difficult time is the value of our relationships and of such things as being able to meet together as a church. But I wonder if we have also learnt the importance of truly valuing these things. Will we be careful in the future about how we act – being keen not to damage those relationships? And will we be slow to become indignant – willing to forgive and accept others for the sake of the common good?
In the meantime, of course, it is important that we keep caring for one another, and so I make my usual offer of any help or support that I can give. Next week (from the 18th to the 23rd January) Sarah and I will be taking a few days off for some much needed rest. If during that time you need to speak to anyone from the Church please contact one of the elders whose phone numbers are listed in the enclosed notice sheet. As always I’ve also enclosed the words for this Sunday’s online service if you are able to join us. If not, please know that you are missed and you are remembered in prayer
Rev. Ian Aitken
52 Ashgrove Road West
Tel. 01224 686929
Aberdeen: Stockethill Church of Scotland
Scottish Charity Number - SC030587