Ministers October Message
At the beginning of the lockdown in March when we began Zoom services I thought they might be needed for a few weeks. Six months in, I now realise that the new life and worship we have discovered through our computer screens is going to be with us for some time to come. I think it is fair to say that for the foreseeable future church will continue to be very different to what it was in the past. At the time of writing, we are following Version 7 of Church of Scotland guidelines with regard to the reopening of our church premises. The Church is now open for worship on a Sunday, and a group, appointed by the Kirk Session, is engaged in ongoing discussions as to when and how it will be safe for our church halls to reopen completely.
Last week I was able to make a small film for school assemblies at our local schools in which I spoke about the importance of holding on to hope amidst the challenge and difficulty of these times. I told the pupils how, on the final Thursday evening when we stopped applauding the National Health Service on our doorsteps, I sowed some wildflower seeds in the Manse garden. The seeds were sent to me by ‘Seeds of Hope Scotland” who wanted to give people something to tend and nurture and encourage them to think about things that gave them hope. I suggested to the pupils that no matter what life brings, whether good or bad or somewhere in between, there is always hope. This hope is not about denying challenge or difficulty instead it is determined by positive and purposeful thoughts and actions.
Patiently and under difficult circumstances, the seeds in the Manse garden grew to offer a hopeful sign that pointed to a good future. The place where the seeds were sown is not in very good condition yet the flowers managed to push their way through and now those flowers are producing many more seeds, which mean that this part of the garden will be filled with wildflowers for many years to come.
Offering hopeful signs, holding on to the promises of God and allowing them to unfold and take shape in ways that grow faith – this is the gospel we believe in and are called to share as a church together. Appropriate to this belief, is the fact that our Legacy Group has unwearyingly continued its work throughout the difficult and trying circumstances of the last few months, doing its very best to try and grow a good future for Greenbank and the community our church serves – a future that will be determined not only by the Legacy Group but more importantly by the hopes of the members of our congregation.
The hope we are called to as followers of Jesus is so aptly summed up by the words of Natalie Sleeth’s hymn called ‘Hymn of Promise’ [H727] which say;
In the bulb there is a flower
In the seed an apple tree
In cocoons a hidden promise
Butterflies will soon be free
In the cold and snow of winter
There’s a spring that waits to be
Unrevealed until its season
Something God alone can see
So may we all give thanks for the message of hope that lies at the heart of the gospel and may God bless us with the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things as yet unseen.
January 17, 2021
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December 15, 2020