Weekly Update - 4th September
Dear sisters and brothers
In his second letter to the church in Corinth, Paul begins by telling his readers about the “hardships we suffered in the province of Asia” (2 Cor 1:8). It seems that these were so bad that he “despaired even of life”. Clearly he and his companions were in real physical danger, but there is also a sense that the pressure they were facing was a cause of deep despair: possibly even depression. The two, of course, often go hand in hand: when we are facing physical struggles (whether that’s ill-health, physical restriction or some sort of danger) it affects us emotionally and mentally. In this time of lockdown and the threat of disease, we know only too well how easy it is to feel low or worse. When things are hard, on whom do you rely?
You would expect Paul’s answer to be “God”; and it is. The reason he is telling them of his hardships is so that he can also tell them about “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (verse 3). But he also wants his fellow Christians to know that he relies upon them and their prayers. Indeed, the two are closely linked as he writes of his hope that God will continue to deliver him “as you help us by your prayers” (verse 11). Never underestimate the importance of prayer; especially when you are in despair in any way. It is an expression of reliance upon God who is utterly reliable. And never underestimate the importance of praying for others: you are involved in God’s work of comfort and deliverance when you do.
I want you to know that I pray for you. I would like to do it more, but during these last weeks and months I have made more and more of an effort to set aside specific time to pray for each and every one of you regularly. Would you do the same? The list of congregation members that is on the attached notice sheet will contain people that you do not know, but God knows them. Ask God to comfort, guide, help, strengthen and encourage each person by name. You will be working with God if you do. And please pray for me. I know that God will continue to lead, guide and bless us “as you help us by your prayers”.
As well as the information leaflet, I have as always attached the words that you need for the online service this Sunday. I know that not everyone is able to access that service or the daily prayers, both of which are available online or over the phone. As a Kirk Session we are continuing to do all that we can to work towards having safe physical gatherings again. In the meantime, if I or any of the elders can be of any help to you please do ask. In particular, as restrictions ease a little once again, I am beginning to do some house calls for those who feel comfortable with that. If you would like me to pay you a visit, please ask.
May you know God’s comfort and strength, such that you are able to comfort others in need.
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