The Manse of St John’s Kirk and St Leonard’s in the Fields
I write this on the afternoon of Sunday 30th January, a day when the Gospel Lesson I read in St John’s this morning contained these incomparable words of Simeon as he held the infant Jesus:
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; to be a light to lighten the Gentiles and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
During the early part of every year for the last twenty I often think of a friend of our family who died at too young an age. Before he died he described to me something that had happened on the 16th January of that particular year and he went on to say: yes, such symmetry: puzzled, I asked what he meant, to which he replied : Well, fifteen days have gone and fifteen remain: so the 16th is perfectly placed.
Symmetry: three days before today was the 27th: Holocaust Memorial Day; and three days after, on 2nd February, it will be the Festival of Candlemas: there is symmetry in connecting those days. Candlemas celebrates the Presentation of the Christ Child by his Parents in the Temple in Jerusalem, as was Jewish custom; there, they were greeted by an elderly gentleman of faith, Simeon, who said as he held the Child, Now Lord, let me depart [this life], as in the words above, known as the Nunc Dimittis.
On 27th January each year [the date of the Liberation of Auschwitz in 1945] the world remembers the horrendous tragedy of the extermination by the Nazi regime of six million people, mostly of the Jewish race : the most cruel hate imaginable.
Symmetry: 27 January and 2 February?
The evil of such behaviour by human beings is countered by the Blessing of the Christ Child held by Simeon. Darkness will never overcome light. The message of Yad Vashem, the world Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem and the message of the Light of the World join hands. As St John, the close friend of Christ wrote, the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has never mastered it.
Let us remember the light of Christ has come into the world to scatter darkness. You and I are His ambassadors for Peace on earth, for Hope in men and women’s souls and for the Love of God to be ever our Truth, as we live move and have our being in One whose Son lived, died and rose from the grave for you and me and all the world. Now, there’s good news, Gospel, for us! Gospel is Old English : God=good. Spel=news
Three aspirations : Let us hold fast. Let us go forward in faith. Let us give thanks to God for The Seventy Years of The Reign of our Sovereign Lady, Her Majesty The Queen whose Accession we mark and celebrate on Sunday 6th.
May the Blessings of the Lord be upon you and all whom you love throughout February, perhaps finding an echo of Divine Love for you on the fourteenth, that day of love, St Valentine’s Day.
In addition : Please note :
February Services are indicated on the websites of both Churches.
A Letter from the Presbytery of Perth: as below.
THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND : PRESBYTERY OF PERTH
Registered Scottish Charity No SC014528 28 January 2022
At its meeting at 10 am on Saturday 12 February 2022, the Presbytery of Perth will consider the possible terms of a Presbytery Plan in the light of current and projected resources of ministry and finance.
Every congregation within the bounds will be affected and the Rev Allan Wilson, Convener of the Presbytery Planning and Development Committee has asked that particular notice of this meeting be drawn to the attention of all congregations within the bounds.
This meeting will be held in the North Church, Perth and all will be welcome.
J Colin Caskie