Weekly Update - 19th February
Dear sisters and brothers
I am writing this letter the day after Valentine’s Day. Unless you have a diary open before you, however, you may not realise that I’m writing on the day before Shrove Tuesday and therefore two days before Ash Wednesday – the traditional beginning of Lent. The fact that these things are all happening so close together is a fairly rare event. Lent and Valentine’s day have little to do with each other: except perhaps that one has become about eating too much chocolate and the other about giving it up!
Lent is traditionally a time of fasting. In recent years, people have chosen to ‘give up’ a whole range of things as they think that it will be good for them (for example: chocolate, alcohol, social media, and television). This year I wonder if we haven’t given up enough already! Lent is also closely associated with the story of Jesus spending 40 days in the desert (Matthew chapter 4). In that story Jesus is tempted by the devil who is trying to cause him to doubt his identity as the Son of God and cause Jesus to put his trust in something other than his heavenly Father. Jesus, of course, resists the temptations. The significance of fasting during Lent is that it is meant to help us consider the extent to which we trust God. In what, or whom, do we put our hope? I wonder if you have been tempted over this last year to lose trust in God? I wonder if you have considered how much you truly hope in God and how much, perhaps without knowing it, you put your hope in other things? Now is a good time to reflect on those questions and to reaffirm your faith in God alone.
For Jesus, his ability to trust in his Father was rooted in the words he had heard at his baptism just days earlier: “This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased”. Knowing that he was the beloved Son of God allowed him to trust in his Father even at the most difficult times (such as in the Garden of Gethsemane). Do you know that you are loved? You may or may not have received any Valentine’s cards – and that may even have been a source of sorrow to you – but you are deeply loved by God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 8:39 reminds us that there is nothing that can separate us from that love because we have become children of God in and through Jesus. Whatever you have to face in these days, be reassured by these truths and put your trust in God.
As always I have included the weekly notices and the words for Sunday’s service. And as always I want to offer whatever help or support that I can. With the amount of snow last week I hope that no-one was left stranded in anyway. If you ever find yourself in need, please do pick up the phone to me as there are plenty of people in the church who would be more than willing to run the simplest errand or do the smallest job for you.
May you know the presence and peace of the love of God. With love from
Rev. Ian Aitken
52 Ashgrove Road West
Tel. 01224 686929
Aberdeen: Stockethill Church of Scotland
Scottish Charity Number - SC030587