Weekly Update - 3rd September
Dear sisters and brothers
One of my favourite quotes comes from Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice. Lady Catherine De Bourgh, the overbearing and snobbish aunt of Mr Darcy, is listening to a piano recital when she remarks, “I never learned to play, but if I had I would have been a great proficient”. There are so many things that I would like to have learnt, and perhaps I might have been a ‘great proficient’ in some – but judging by the things I did learn, I suspect that the odd “tries his best” might be as good as I could hope for.
In the Gospels Jesus is often referred to as Teacher. It is both a title of respect and it reveals what he spent a lot of his time doing. Jesus taught his followers many things: how to understand the Bible; how to pray; how to treat others and so much more. Often his teaching did happen in what might be called a classroom type setting - such as when he sat them down on the side of a hill and gave the so-called “Sermon on the Mount”. Other times he taught them through conversation and observation; answering their questions and pointing out the things that he saw (remember the widow putting all she had into the offering plate, for example). But surely some of their greatest lessons came simply by being with him – not only watching how he lived, but living their own lives in his company.
Sometimes we can think that if only we had been able to be in that company of disciples with Jesus, learning alongside them, we would have become “a great proficient” in the things of the faith. The truth is, though, that not only did the apostles seem to struggle to learn (and we can admit we wouldn’t have done much better) but we now have everything that we need to learn from the Teacher. We have his words and we have one another, but most of all we have his Spirit so that we can still live our lives in his company and let his presence shape how we live. A teacher needs students, and we must be those students. We must read his words and learn from them. We must help one another to learn. We must ask questions and look for the answers. We must reflect on our lives in the light of his. If you want to become a great proficient, or even a stumbling disciple, it’s no good being like Lady Catherine and simply talking about it.
As the new term is beginning for the schools, colleges and Universities, so it is beginning for us. I’m pleased to say that we are going to be joined for the next few months by Katrina Blackwood who is training to become an Ordained Local Minister in the Church of Scotland. Some of our own members are also undertaking some training. Vanda and Sarah are both taking part in a Worship Leaders course at the University this term and will be joined by Morag for a course on Preaching in the new year. Angie is continuing her training as a Deacon: having finished her first attachment at Dyce she is spending time back with us before her next one in October (look out for her preaching this coming Sunday). And Sharron is not only going on to the second year of her DNA course, but will be working for the church as she does so.
May the Teacher be our ever present guide. 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