Weekly Update - 16th July

Dear sisters and brothers

It’s good to be back in Aberdeen after 3 weeks spending time with family – celebrating some birthdays and catching up with those we haven’t seen in too long.  I’ve also appreciated having time to relax and enjoy one of my favourite past-times: watching tennis.   Watching the Wimbledon finals over last weekend reminded me of a match I saw a number of years ago involving the then world number one, Simona Halep.  She was playing dreadfully and the camera panned to her coach who had a look of thunder on his face.  Just then another man came and sat beside him and the commentator remarked that he was one of Simona’s biggest supporters.  “He must have got a message”, said the commentator, “Simona’s in trouble – she needs you!”.  Simona suddenly started playing like the champion she is and eventually won.  Just how much difference the arrival of this particular supporter made is hard to say, but it is true that when we have someone on our side – in our corner – cheering us on: it can make all the difference in the world.

In Philippians chapter 4 Paul writes, “the Lord is near”.  It is in the middle of a famous passage in which he assures his readers that the “peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”   When we are at peace we are able to be the people we want to be; but when we lose our peace – which can so easily happen – all sorts of things can go wrong.   The peace which Paul talks about is not based on our circumstances but comes directly from God.  And one of things that brings us that peace is knowing that God is near – even when our circumstances are not great.  When there’s someone firing tennis balls at you at 100 miles an hour; and your racket feels like it weighs a ton; and you’ve forgotten the simplest of tennis strokes; and your coach has a face like thunder - just knowing that someone is in your box and is on your side can turn the game around. When life takes its unexpected turns; weakness creeps up on you in all its forms; people let you down; things change – still and forever, the Lord is near.  May that unchanging truth help bring you peace today and may you live from that peace.

Having said all of that, I know that it doesn’t always feel as if the Lord is near.  No doubt that is one of the reasons that Paul had to write it down.  It is also one of the important reasons that we are told in the Bible to meet together as Christians in order that we might encourage each other and remind each other of these important truths.  It is part of the reason why I have been writing these letters over these last months, and why we have been trying to provide as many ways for people to connect together as possible.  But nothing beats actually meeting together to sing songs of worship and truth, to read the Bible together and to pray together.

As I’m sure you are aware by now, this coming Sunday we will be returning to Cairncry Community Centre for our service at 11am.  Whilst we will still broadcast the service on YouTube and over the phone, I do want to encourage you to come if you possibly can.  Numbers remain limited for now, so please do ‘book a place’ by contacting Fiona whose details are enclosed.  We continue to pray that we will soon be able to meet in Woodhill Court and Stocket Grange as well.

As always, if I can be of any help, please do ask.  With love from Sarah and myself,


Rev. Ian Aitken

52 Ashgrove Road West
AB16 5EE
Tel. 01224 686929


Aberdeen: Stockethill Church of Scotland
Scottish Charity Number - SC030587


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