The Manse of St John’s Kirk and St Leonard’s in the Fields

Late February, looking to Lent in March and its conclusion in April as Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday 10th and culminates one week later on Easter Day.

My dear friends

On the threshold of Lent as we look forward in faith to ‘the way of the Cross’ and attend Worship to bring us ‘soonest to our knees’-an arresting phrase used by the church architect JL Pearson in his design of the interior of the London Church, St Peter’s Vauxhall – let us hold fast to our faith.

The snowdrops and crocuses tell the story of earth’s renewal. The changing landscape tells of the emergence of Spring and all that we cherish of those memories of what has been and yet with eyes wide open to bright new tomorrows.

Our liturgical calendar similarly: no sooner has Epiphany ended it seems, than Lent is on the horizon, beginning this year on the 2 nd March; we shall mark that by sharing together in an Ash Wednesday Holy Communion Service with our Episcopal friends in St John’s Episcopal Church at 7:30 pm. The six week period of Lenten reflection and self-denial is more about giving than giving up, more about extra than less compassion, love, truth and kindness; more about what I might do to enhance others’ lives rather than my own. When we roll our eggs on Easter Day as we recall the Resurrection of Jesus, we affirm the beginning again of the life of the risen Christ amongst us. This year for us in our two Congregations, it is both a beginning and an ending, for it is on Easter Day that our Associate Minister, the Reverend Alex Stewart retires after four and a half years of dedicated and faithful service, witness and love offered to both Congregations. On behalf of all in the linkage, I wish to thank Alex for his friendship, guidance and service to us all and for his many gifts which he has shared: Alex’s total commitment in Ministry is second to none. We extend to Alex and Liz every possible good wish for all that lies ahead in retirement. I am delighted that Alex is writing his own farewell words which accompany my letter this month.

Beyond Easter and looking towards the late Spring and early summer when I too depart, St John’s Kirk and St Leonard’s in the Fields move into uncharted waters, with consideration being given by both Kirk Sessions to the recent Presbytery proposals which have been suggested in its recent interim report: details of that will be promulgated in due course.

May I encourage you all as we walk through Lent together, to keep on keeping on, to stick in until you stick out and to be bold in witness to One who is our anchor and our Redeemer. One who gives us a sense of balance and purpose, illuminating our way to the Cross, the darkest place. Let us follow Christ and use His refusal to compromise to the Devil’s scheming ways as the best example for us to face temptations and rise to new challenges.

Here are five sentences for these two months ahead:

- Take risks for Jesus Christ.

- Renew your Church-attending Vows

- Hold fast to that which is good.

- Pray and read your Bible daily.

- Never give in as you follow Jesus Christ .

Every good wish.