Hi folks, so we are in lockdown for another 3 weeks. At the back of our minds, though, we suspect this will go on beyond that. All we can say is, it will be over when it’s over, however long it takes. Until then, we will keep living, praying and waiting.
It’s an unusual time. I should have been in France this week, visiting my old Session Clerk from Stevenston. It’s his 88th birthday on Sunday and he was treating all his friends to a meal in the Riviera Hotel. Ah, well, maybe another time! And this Sunday you would have had Rev Esther Ninian in the pulpit. So, that’s us both disappointed ! Esther phoned me during the week. She was sad not to be coming to JHP, but she sends her best wishes and is praying for us. Hopefully it will not be too long before she can visit us again.
Meanwhile, I have had a run of funerals to do: seven thus far. Three in the last fortnight , and 4 next week, one each on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It’s been strange arranging everything by phone and email, but I’ve been doing my best to give as full a service as possible. None of these services has been for any of our members, although one of our members, Mrs Jean Beattie, died a few weeks ago and the family hope to have a memorial service at a later stage.
Every minister in the Presbytery has had an email encouraging us to have 2 days off a week, and to take whatever holidays we had planned. Even although we can’t actually go anywhere, it’s important that we take time off even if it’s only to rest in the Manse. I can see the sense in that, so I have planned to take a week in May. Here’s hoping for sunshine! I have arranged for Rev Gray Fletcher to cover for me. I will still conduct the funeral services of anyone in our congregation, but for everyone’s sake, I hope we don’t have any.
I hope you are coping with this enforced time of lockdown. To be honest, I do not want to go back to ‘normal’. As someone said, ‘normal wasn’t working’. That’s a loaded statement, and not true in every instance, but we all know what they mean.
In this world-wide pandemic, everyone must surely have had their eyes opened to the vulnerability of our human condition. People may also be pondering questions like ‘what is life about?’ We need a new normal, and it’s one that must include God. The world needs to give God his rightful place again! I also believe we need to reinstate the biblical principle of a weekly Sabbath rest. Should we go back to the day of shops and restaurants being closed on a Sunday? Now there’s a thought! We certainly need to reconsider our pace of life. With that in mind, I’ve copied a couple of items I heard during the week. The first gives some food for thought, and I hope the second one gives you a wee laugh!
Keep well. I keep praying for you.
Let yourself Rest by Jeff Foster
If you don’t feel like starting a new project, don’t
If you don’t feel the urge to make something new,
just rest in the beauty of the old, the familiar, the known.
If you don’t feel like talking, stay silent.
If you’re fed up with the news, turn it off.
If you want to postpone something till tomorrow, do it.
If you want to do nothing, let yourself do nothing today.
Feel the fullness of the emptiness,
the vastness of the silence,
the sheer life in your unproductive moments.
Time does not always need to be fulfilled.
You are enough, simply in your being.