Letter from the Minister, the Reverend John Murdoch
The Manse : 1st March 2021 : St David’s Day
Onwards to Holy Week and to the Third Day!
My dear friends
As we look to Easter, the words of the Prayer below are especially relevant. Known as a Collect, it was composed in Rome for Palm Sunday of 492 by Gelasius and speaks to everyone in every age. Let us not forget that we are the Easter people and Hallelujah is our song.’
Almighty and everlasting God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent Thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon Him our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of His great humility: mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of His patience, and also be made partakers of His resurrection through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
There is a lovely passage in Alice in Wonderland when Alice and the Cat are having a conversation about “going places“.
“Cheshire Puss,” Alice began, “would you tell me please which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I do not much care where,” said Alice.
“Then it does not matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
Well, for us it does matter where we go, because we are on a journey to Jerusalem, to Golgotha and thence to the nearby Empty Tomb. We go with endurance and sacrifice amidst hope, on the road strewn with hurdles in any century; today’s as in any year is littered with a variety of ‘crosses’, with twists and turns as we emerge from the ‘slough of despond’; yes, we shall encounter Worldy Wiseman, Formalist, Hypocrisy, Mr Superstition, Save-all and Money-Love; yes, we may pass Doubting Castle and Giant Despair but we also shall meet Hopeful and Faithful and Great-Heart and, as Christian knows, we are not alone. The Good Shepherd stays with us and guides us, his flock, through the valley of death so that we fear no evil.
That Collect above is contemporary and real and resonates with us in our very different world. 1529 years may separate us but we are linked through the Gospel message within those lines: love, suffering, example, humility, patience, resurrection: this is good news in the 5th century and as now in the 21st, is a prayer for all seasons. In this season of preparation in Lent we walk in Christ’s footsteps towards Jerusalem’s ancient walls and ‘survey the wondrous Cross’ where the Saviour endured loneliness, fear, separation from family, rejection, cruelty, pain and death – some of the very real feelings so many in our world experience now. Let us take real comfort and strength from Our Lord whose sorrow was bitter, whose love never wavered, whose trust never faltered, whose truth ever endures.
In our Lenten pilgrimage let us believe that just as the miracle of snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils emerging from the grip of winter reveals the birth of spring and the wonder of nature’s ever recurring cycle of life, so our belief and trust in the crucified and risen Lord of life will be a beacon of hope to draw others towards the One who forgave those who mocked and crucified Him, but on the Third Day….Fides nostra victoria : Our faith is victory.
Amidst all the suffering of Covid, the pain of war in Yemen, the racial and religious conflicts across the globe, let us hold fast to God who became flesh in Christ and who embraces us on our Easter journeys on the road to Golgotha and beyond, for we are the Easter people and Hallelujah is our song.
As we continue through Lent, I would ask that, as in previous years, we might fill a ‘Jar of Change’ to support Water Aid, the organisation that transforms communities across the globe. Last year our Congregations donated hundreds of pounds through your generosity and I thank you so very much. The Jars can be brought to Church during May when we very much hope our Church buildings may be fully open for Worship.
I pray for God‘s richest blessings upon you and those you love and especially when we celebrate Easter in some weeks’ time. At a time of global uncertainty and concern but with the great hope of vaccinations having such a positive impact and the truth of Resurrection being the corner-stone of our faith, I send my very best wishes.
We currently have one United Service per Sunday for St Leonard’s in the Fields and St John’s Kirk; it is a live-streamed Service at 10 am in St John’s Kirk where the officiating Minister and Organist are joined by the recording team of two persons.
This practice will continue until such time as we are permitted by the Government and with Kirk Session approval, to be able to have up to fifty worshippers once more. This would mean a most welcome return to Morning Service in each of our Churches at the traditional times of 9 30 am and 11 15 am.
Holy Week 2021
Palm Sunday, 28th March – Easter Day, Sunday 4th April
In addition to Sunday Worship I very much hope it may be possible to have another Service during that week and if so would give details in my April letter which I will write before the 28th March.