Weekly Update - 22nd October
Dear sisters and brothers,
Have you ever had “one of those days”? The sort of day when you lose your car keys, get caught in the rain without a jacket and find that the heating is broken when you eventually stumble in your front door. “It’s been one of those days!” you sigh – hoping for a better tomorrow. Of course we can laugh at that, but we’ve all experienced times in our lives when, not just for a day but perhaps for a long season, a number of challenging circumstances have come together to make life very difficult indeed. At those times we appreciate the practical help, kindness and prayers of friends and strangers alike.
For some in our world they are facing an unprecedented time of challenge. At our service in the Community Centre on Sunday we heard about the work of Open Doors: an organisation that supports Christians who are persecuted for their faith. As their website says, “Every day, millions of Christians risk their lives to follow Jesus. In more than 60 countries, Open Doors supports them by supplying Bibles, providing emergency relief and helping persecuted believers stand strong for the long-term.”
Many of these Christians live in the poorest parts of the world, and many are amongst the poorest in their societies. We heard how, for some, the pandemic has been especially hard as they have been at the end of the queue for help – if they’ve been in the queue at all. In other places churches have been at the frontline of supporting those around them – including those who have discriminated against them in the past.
It is the poorest in our world who have been worst affected by the pandemic, just as it is the poorest in the world who are worst affected by devastating climate changes. We all need the upcoming conference of world leaders, COP26, to be a success – but none more so than the world’s poorest. Climate disaster, Covid 19, poverty and persecution. For some it’s been one of those days that seems to have no end.
Such massive challenges might seem too big for us to face, but throughout the New Testament we read of churches and Christians being urged to help each other through prayer and practical support. We continue to have the opportunity to do the same. At our service we were reminded of Paul’s second letter to the Church in Corinth when he tells them of a dreadful time that he didn’t think he would survive, but he says “You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation” (2Cor 1:11). Don’t underestimate the difference that your prayers can make and don’t underestimate the difference that is made by the little we can do.
If you would like to find out more about Open Doors, I can send you more information. I intend to separately send some some information about COP26 produced by the Church of Scotland’s magazine Life and Work.
Finally, you may be having “one of those days” - or weeks, or years. If so, please know that I am praying for you and that if I can help I will, even if it is only a little. Let us offer such prayer and help to one another and let us extend that prayer and support to the world around us in Jesus name.
With love from Sarah and myself,
Rev. Ian Aitken
52 Ashgrove Road West
Tel. 01224 686929
Aberdeen: Stockethill Church of Scotland
Scottish Charity Number - SC030587