The Minister Writes

Writing this, at a time when the latest storm, in a long line of ‘unusual’ weather events, is passing through! Has tempted me to begin with a frivolous parody of the song, “Christmas is coming the geese are getting fat!” So far 2024 is more, “Christmas is over, and the geese are getting wet!” Christmas is indeed over, and I hope that you all enjoyed a happy and peaceful festive season!

Weather events aside; 2024 has also begun with a great deal of worrying news at home and abroad. In Matthew chapter 24, Jesus spoke to his disciples on the serious matter of the disasters and tragedies that would face the people of God not many years after his death; and in the much more distant period he referred to as ‘The End Times’. Verse 6 to 8 says, “You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth-pains.” (NIV 1984)

We are certainly living in the ‘End Times’, but we do not know how long the period will be. Instead of falling into despair about what we see happening in the world. We must remind ourselves that Jesus spoke of these things, not to worry his disciples; but to encourage them to remain faithful to him! Not to be deceived by false messiahs and religions; but to continue with the work of sharing the Gospel Message and remaining firm in their own faith. Because it is in Christ that we have our hope!

The prophet Micah spoke of a time that was coming when many nations would come to the Lord of Israel. Chapter 4 verse 2 says, “He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” Verse 3 goes on to say, “Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” (NIV 1984) It is a vision of peace that we might want to see realised in this world, but we wonder how it could ever be achieved. The prophet Micah makes very clear that there is only one way in which this glorious state of affairs will come to pass; and that is because the nations come to put their faith in the God of Israel, and choose to follow his paths. His paths are made clear to us through Jesus Christ Our Saviour. It is in believing in Christ and putting our faith in him that we can follow the paths of the Lord. When we come to pray for our world! When we are overwhelmed by so much suffering and distress! We might wonder how we can help, where to even begin our prayers. There are of course many ways we might be able to contribute to practical aid. We could pray for individual leaders, specific events or outcomes; the protection of individual people or communities! All this is good! But the most important prayer of all is for people to come to know Christ.

We are now several weeks into 2024, and as a congregation there are plans to be made and events to organise. Last year we held several very successful social events. Hosted the World Day of Prayer! Joined with other churches in the town for worship events; as well as continuing with our own services, Bible Study and prayer group. All these things are made possible by the hard work and effort that many people put in each week. So as we look forward to the coming months, may we all remember to pray for the Kirk Session, as they continue to oversee the Spiritual Life of our congregation! The congregational Board as they continue to oversee the practical upkeep of our building. The Treasurer in her efforts to make ends meet! The social Committee who plan our fundraisers and the many people who are prepared to turn up and help when needed. Not forgetting all those who faithfully go about their duties and serve the congregation with their practical skills and contribute to our worship and praise each week.

“Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” Ephesians 6: 18, 19