Weekly Update - 23rd January
Dear sisters and brothers
(Forgive me for being a day later than usual. Sarah and I have been enjoying a few days off this week.)
As many of you know, I have a dog who is not the most obedient. It may be my fault for not training her well enough, but the truth is that if I did not keep her on the lead when we are out for a walk she would be a danger both to herself and to others. Whilst she is used to it now and enjoys going out for a walk, I sometimes feel sorry for her that she cannot run free and play as I know she would love to do. The great irony is that if only she were more obedient she would have so much more freedom.
I’ve been thinking a lot about obedience and freedom recently. We are all struggling with the restrictions that have been placed upon us and longing for the day when we might be free from them. The hope is that the more we all obey the restrictions just now, the sooner they will be lifted and we will be free. I think that a lot of people understand obedience in those terms, especially when it comes to religion. They think that if they stick to the rules now, behave properly and are ‘good’, then God will be pleased with them and they will be rewarded in the future: gaining the joy and freedom of heaven at some future date. But I think the reality is more like that of my dog. The more that we obey the will of God now, submitting to God as our loving Master, the more we will experience the freedom and joy of God’s Kingdom now.
As with my dog, obedience is something we have to learn – we need training. Unlike my dog, who really cannot be blamed for her disobedience, we have a personal responsibility to learn to be obedient to God’s will. But in grace and love our Master has given us three things to help us: the Bible, where we discover God’s will and see what obedience looks like; the Church, a community of people who are helping each other follow the will of God; and the Holy Spirit who “works in you to will and to act according to God’s good purpose” (Philippians 2:13). And of course we have the hope that comes from knowing that our future with God is not dependent on how obedient we are, but upon Jesus Christ who became “obedient to death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). Through his obedient death we are saved. Now, as Paul urges us, let us “work out our salvation” by becoming obedient to the will of God and experiencing the freedom and joy that comes with it.
As always I have enclosed the words for this coming Sunday’s online service and the notice sheet with what is going on in the church at the moment and some prayer materials. Please do make use of them as we continue to pray together and for each other. You’ll see that we are soon to start an Alpha Course online. Many in the congregation have found the course to be interesting, fun, helpful and even life changing. I would encourage you to sign up here.
Rev. Ian Aitken
52 Ashgrove Road West
Tel. 01224 686929
Aberdeen: Stockethill Church of Scotland
Scottish Charity Number - SC030587