Weekly Update - 19th March
Dear sisters and brothers
Last week the First Minister made the announcement that, all being well, churches would be able to worship together in time for Holy Week and Easter. I will say more about our plans in light of this later in the letter. It was exactly a year ago today that some of us met together for the last time at our Sunday morning service in the Community Centre. That is one of a number of anniversaries that we are going to be marking over this period: one year from the first national lockdown. There is now cautious optimism that things will increasingly begin to ease. We are looking forward with some hope.
We are also, at this time, remembering how Jesus looked ahead with very mixed feelings as he set his face for Jerusalem and what awaited him there (Luke 9:51). He had just told his disciples that he would face rejection and death, and then he said these famous words: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
It may feel as if this last year has been our “cross to bear” – but to put it like that would be to misunderstand what Jesus said. The cross that he was talking about does not refer to those difficulties and challenges in life that we have no control over, but those sacrifices that we make for the sake of others. So if you chose to keep to the restrictions, despite the cost to your wellbeing, for the sake of the safety of others: then you denied yourself. If you chose to put yourself out for the sake of helping someone else: then you denied yourself. And as we go forward we will need to keep that same attitude and desire – to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus. We may feel that we want to rush things, or we may feel that we deserve to be ‘cut some slack’, or we may feel that we can look after ourselves first, but as followers of Jesus we should seek to do what is best for those around us. Taking up a cross is not easy – by definition it requires self-sacrifice: but it is the way of Jesus and therefore, by definition, is the way of hope, peace and joy.
Returning to our plans as a church: from Easter Sunday we will be holding afternoon services in Cairncry Community Centre, in addition to continuing our online morning services. Although it will be possible simply to turn up to the service, numbers will be limited; therefore, to guarantee a place please phone before each Sunday that you want to come. The person to phone is Fiona Douglas on 01224 723454.
During Holy Week we will be running a number of opportunities to worship together, including a communion Service on Maundy Thursday (1 April) in the Community Centre. Again, please phone Fiona to guarantee a place at the service.
More details of the Easter services and our Sunday afternoon services are attached, along with the usual bits and pieces.
As we continue our journey towards Easter may you know the grace to follow Jesus always,
Rev. Ian Aitken
52 Ashgrove Road West
Tel. 01224 686929
Aberdeen: Stockethill Church of Scotland
Scottish Charity Number - SC030587