The Manse of St John’s Kirk and St Leonard’s in the Fields Church
Mid-May 2020

My dear friends : Greetings to you all!
Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: so began every letter of St Paul to the early Christian communities.
So I say : Grace and Peace to you!

While not allowed to worship God in our church buildings at present, we can nevertheless worship Him at home and wherever we are and be strong in our Christian living – attitude, thinking, speech and behaviour; and most of all in our trusting in One who stands with us whatever our situation may be and who goes before, behind and alongside us, as in Psalm139. For : We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses as in Hebrews Chapter 12– united in that faith which is victorious as we place absolute trust in Jesus Christ our Saviour, whose Love will never let us go.

Whether we sing, dance, exercise, write, read or paint more than we ever did: whether we clean, polish, re-arrange, tidy, play the piano more or learn a new instrument or a new language, or help family members in an online class, or spend much more time in the garden, if one is fortunate to have one, or whatever we are doing more of, we realise just how much more time we could have devoted to those pursuits in past days but, as L P Hartley wrote in ‘The Go-Between’: ‘the past is a foreign country’ and we go forward. Forward, yes, but with a renewed vision of time: remembering what WH Davies wrote :
What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.

I hope the new ‘normal’ will be the ability to use every second of every minute of every hour to good effect and essentially not for oneself either, as we think about how we might become better followers of Jesus Christ, becoming givers and not getters– for that is the way of Christ.

Giving is what we all can do, in a variety of ways– writing, offering, singing: to name but three.

It is especially lovely to receive a letter at the moment: everyone has a story to tell; I’d like to suggest a challenge: let’s call it the VE 75.
How might you feel about writing a story containing exactly 75 words on a moral, religious or ethical theme? It must have a beginning, a middle and an end. [It need not have anything at all to do with VE in 1945]
Please send it to me by 14th June and I will try to include it in one of the Services online, particularly in The Songs of Praise Service on Mid-Summer’s Day*.You’ll be amazed to know that you are giving to others in ways you never imagined and influencing others too perhaps in ways that you’ll never know.

Secondly, our Kirk Sessions are always appreciative of those who make regular contributions either by using the FWO envelopes or the Offering Plates in Church. I know that both Treasurers have written a letter concerning our financial predicaments which you will find on the websites of both St John’s and St Leonard’s in the Fields. If you felt able to respond to that letter I know both Treasurers would be immensely grateful.

Thirdly: Singing
He/she who sings, prays twice [St Augustine]

For the Sunday Service on 21st June, Mid-Summer’s Day, I would like to have *a Songs of Praise, with as many hymns as we can manage. I invite you to write a short paragraph on why a particular hymn is special to you; we shall then sing some verses of each. Either send that to me in print, or in a recording of yourself, video or vocal, indicating what the hymn means to you. Please would you send your choice to me by Sunday 14th June.

I send my good wishes to you and your family wherever they may be during this time of separation and isolation.
Keep on keeping on.
Read the Scriptures daily, finding especially in the Psalms words which resonate.
Pray regularly.
Read Alex’s pastoral letter each Wednesday if at all possible.
Never give in. Stand up for Jesus. Hold fast!

May the Grace of the Lord be with you and with those you love.

With every best wish until we meet again.
John
01738 628378
07578558978
Every Sunday there is Worship online: please visit the websites of both Congregations:
St John’s Kirk : www.st-johns-kirk.co.uk
St Leonard’s in the Fields : slitfperth.co.uk