Weekly Update - 24th September

Dear sisters and brothers

I hope you didn’t miss my letter last week too much.  As you know, we have changed to a fortnightly letter so I’m afraid that you will just have to be patient!

Patience is not something that I have always been known for.  As a younger man I often let my frustration boil over if things weren’t done “properly” (as I saw it) or “on time” (as I had decided it).  I have had to learn to be patient, but in doing so have lowered the stress levels in my own life and those around me.  Patience is, as they say, a virtue.

The New Testament writer James finishes his letter by urging his readers to “Be patient” (James 5:7).  He is talking about being patient in the midst of the suffering and struggles that we encounter in the world.  Be patient, he says, “until the Lord’s coming”.  In one sense he is encouraging these Christians to be patient by reminding them that everything will turn out alright in the end.  But it is more than simply a fatalistic resignation to put one’s head down and get through the difficult times.  James is reminding them that, however bad things get and whatever they have to suffer, Christians know something very important.  We know that God is at work in the world, even a suffering world, bringing all things together under Christ.  He reminds them of farmers who know that their seeds are still growing under the surface even when they can’t see them.  He holds up as examples of patience the prophets of old who were aware that God had not abandoned them: more than that, God was at work with them. The cross of Jesus is the greatest revelation of that – God is at work even in the worst of times.

Patience based on this understanding does not lead to a passive enduring of difficult times; just waiting for them to be over, but rather, as James points out, it enables us to live positively, faithfully and even joyfully in the midst of the most difficult of circumstances.  Throughout the centuries patience built on faith in the victory of Jesus Christ has allowed Christians to live with hope, peace, joy and love.  We should, therefore, seek to become patient people by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and by taking James’ advice to learn from the Bible the great truth that God is at work in the world, even now, and that all will be well.

One of the ways to build and sustain this sort of patience is through regular attendance at worship, where we hear the gospel story and encourage one another to live in its light.  That has been difficult over these months and remains difficult for some.  I’m glad to say that our services in Stocket Grange and Woodhill Court have resumed, and our service in Cairncry Centre continues.  If you cannot make it along to one of these services, or join them on line or on the phone, I would urge you to make use of the many other opportunities that you have to cultivate patience – not least taking time each day to read the scriptures and to pray.  Our Daily Prayers and the booklet that goes with them are another way to do that.

In these times, however, it can be hard to stay patient and know the joy and hope it brings, so let us take James’ advice and pray for one another.  I will certainly continue to pray for you and am here to offer help whenever I can.  May you know the presence and peace of the Lord.

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Ian

 

Rev. Ian Aitken

52 Ashgrove Road West
ABERDEEN
AB16 5EE
Tel. 01224 686929

iaitken@churchofscotland.org.uk
www.stockethillchurch.org.uk

Aberdeen: Stockethill Church of Scotland
Scottish Charity Number - SC030587

 

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