Letter from the Minister - February 2017

Dear Friends,
It’s a regular item in my new year greetings, but I say it again without any hesitation. Thank you so
much for your love and greetings at Christmas! We in the Manse appreciate that very much. For us it was very special to have all four (plus dog!) back together after much travel and adventure on the part of the younger generation. So now if you hear of any jobs for a Chemistry graduate or a Music graduate, let us know…!
Now that we are in the new year we are in an extended read-through of Luke’s Gospel. It’s still in my memory how we did this before but still I never fail to be thankful as well as refreshed by discovering insights and angles which speak to today. That’s the thing about the Bible. It repays returning to again and again. Our different formats of morning worship is a spur to it also – considering how this Word asks questions of us, how it
speaks to young and old alike, how the bridges are built which allow anybody and everybody to come into the presence of God. As Elders we shall be asking ourselves shortly to be very clear what it is that lies upon us to be a growing church – growing in faith and stature, and growing in numbers. It could as well be asked what lies
upon us to do in order not to stunt growth or to suppress it. The children’s first shot at this in “Treasure Seekers” was to create a jigsaw picture with many different faces on it. Every part is needed to make the whole. Every part may be different but the picture is not complete if some pieces are not placed where they ought to be. I don’t know about you, I found jigsaws with lots of pieces always a bit of a challenge. So it is: the bigger the congregation, the more effort (and prayer!) may be required by every one of us in order for the picture to be completed. Talking of putting in the effort, I have had a rush of couples coming to speak to me about their weddings in this last week. Each couple has its own dynamic, their own set of leading questions and issues, but I find myself thinking – and then hearing an interesting programme on the radio – about the basics of love and
commitment. The 21st century pattern in Scotland is cohabitation rather than or at least before marriage, so then the obvious question is what is the benefit of becoming truly committed in a lifelong bond upheld by a public act as well as by intimate love? Commitment is a bit scary, especially it seems nowadays when the failure rate seems only to be on the up. I find I want to offer, and to explore, and to stretch the faith perspective on this. How much God loves us! And what security and peace and generosity and tolerance and forgiveness and freedom opens up from that! So it’s true for a couple as it is true for the church being the bride of Christ, that there is every reason for us, despite our imperfections, to treasure the commitment which comes into our lives by grace alone. Or to put it another way, husband or wife or Christ asks for our all.
Yours, Peter