Since I last sat down to write my letter for the April magazine a lot has happened in the world and the headlines have not made optimistic reading. There was the terror attack at the Houses of Parliament and on Westminster Bridge, the chemical weapons attack on civilians, including children, in Syria and the US response. A threat of a new Cold War between the United States and Russia over the shambles that is Syria. Brinkmanship and posturing from North Korea continues with heightened tension in the region and only last night (20th April) another police officer was callously murdered by a terrorist in the most famous thoroughfare in Paris.
Not much to be cheerful about, all seems doom and gloom. But in the middle of all these depressing news stories we in the Christian Church have celebrated Easter. If the life of Jesus had ended in his judicial murder on what we now call Good Friday then all indeed would be doom and gloom. But despite all that this world and the evil in it did to Jesus – he rose triumphant on that first Easter Sunday.
Faith, hope and love remain for ever. As the hymn writer Fred Kaan put it in the words of the Communion Hymn we sang on Easter Sunday morning –
“Jesus lives again, earth can breathe again,
pass the word around: loaves abound!”
The message of Easter is a message that the terrors and terrorists of this world will never have the last word. Jesus’ love will never be vanquished. We are called as followers of Christ not to be overcome by the evil in the world but to overcome the world with goodness and love.
The month of May includes Christian Aid Week when we can help to ensure, quoting Fred Kaan again, that “loaves abound” in the parts of the world where food is scarce. Let us support the work of Christian Aid Week as best we can and help spread the love that causes changes for the better in our world.
“Some people think that good work is our vocation.
Our vocation is the love of Jesus.” (Mother Teresa of Calcutta)
In June 1972 there was a break-in at the Democratic Party’s Headquarters located in the Watergate building in Washington DC. It went virtually un-noticed at the time but due to the investigative journalism of two Washington Post reporters, involvement in the break-in was traced back to the White House. The attempt to cover up the … Continue reading Remember Watergate?
At this time of year the snowdrops are in full bloom in the manse garden and they seem to get more and more each year. They remind me of my native, Ayrshire, as snowdrops grow in abundance there along the hedgerows and in the woods at this time of year. But the snowdrops also remind … Continue reading Snowdrops
I am writing this in the week in January when the Prime Minister has been making a major speech on the government’s Brexit strategy and the term “trade deal” has been bandied about freely. I am sure it wasn’t necessarily the intention of the PM but it is a timely reminder that “Fairtrade Fortnight” is … Continue reading Trade
I think this is the first time since I became your minister that I am writing my letter for the January magazine after Christmas. I thought the services over the Christmas period at both Elmers End and Emmanuel went well and it was wonderful to welcome so many who do not come to church at … Continue reading Standing on the threshold
I heard a caller say on a phone-in radio programme earlier this month “2016 has been a frightful year.” They were referring to the uncertainty brought about by the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump as the next US President. The continuing war in Syria and the terrorist attack in Nice and other … Continue reading Faith
I am writing this on the day when the BBC news reports that the Russian Fleet (bound for Syria) is sailing through the English Channel shadowed by ships of our own Royal Navy whose job it is to monitor their progress away from British coastal waters. For some reason this news bulletin brought to mind … Continue reading The Russians are Coming
At Elmers End we celebrated our Harvest Thanksgiving on 18th September and Emmanuel celebrate theirs on 9th October. Harvest is a very important festival in the Christian Church and it is right that we celebrate it. Unlike Christmas and Easter it doesn’t commemorate a significant event in the life and ministry of Jesus but none … Continue reading Harvest Thanksgiving
By the time you read this it will just be a few days before Marion and I and our group set off for Greece – in the footsteps of St Paul. We shall be visiting all the places Paul visited in his journey through Greece as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. We start … Continue reading Greece!
The United Reformed Church’s General Assembly which I attended in Southport from 8th -11th July had as its theme “People of the Way.” The earliest Christian church members were known by this description. In the ninth chapter of the book of the Acts of the Apostles, Saul of Tarsus (later better known as Paul) seeks … Continue reading People of the Way
At Messy Church at Emmanuel last Sunday (as I write this) the theme was “the Olympics.” During this month athletes and sports people from all over the globe will be heading to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to prepare for the 2016 Olympics which begin in early August. It hardly seems four years since the games … Continue reading The Olympics
Dear Friends Unless you have been on Mars or some other extra-terrestrial planet for the last six months you cannot help but be aware that on 23rd June there is to be a referendum to decide whether the UK should stay as members of the European Union or negotiate to come out. On the morning … Continue reading Europe