Weekly Update - 8th October
Dear sisters and brothers
Last weekend I had the privilege of attending a service to mark the opening of a new Church building in Seaton, belonging to Seaton Community Church. Seaton Community Church started a dozen years ago and has made a big impact on the lives of people living in that area of the city. Their slogan is: “Transforming lives; Transforming Community”. The preacher at the service picked up on that slogan and used a phrase that has stuck with me. He said, “let the headlines of your community become the headlines of your prayers”. The biblical text he was preaching on came from the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was a man who heard the ‘headlines’ about his home city of Jerusalem whilst he was far away. The headlines were not good and they caused him to pray – and his prayers led to action and the rebuilding of the city.
Someone once pointed out that in our world of instant news it is often difficult to ‘get the big picture’. Today’s headline is quickly replaced by tomorrow’s – and even this morning’s by this afternoon’s. But if we were to ask ourselves what the headline for a once a year newspaper might be, we get a different perspective. Or what if we had to write a headline for the last decade – or the last century? What would be the most significant thing that would dominate the headline in that case? I know that some people watch the news or read the newspaper ‘prayerfully’ and I find the idea of considering what the “headlines” for our community might be and letting that direct our prayers a good one. However, it was in another way that the idea has stuck with me.
If you had to write a headline for yourself, what would it be? For me this morning’s headline might be similar to most Mondays: “List of Things To Do Grows Ever Longer!”. But for this month it would be, “Pride in Family Grows Ever Greater!”. For this year – or this decade it would be something different. And what might be the headline of my entire life – or your life? Can I suggest that for you, as well as me, the headline for the newspaper of our life would be “God Reveals The Depth of His Love!”.
Sometimes in the day to day, week to week, even year to year, ‘stuff’ of our lives we lose sight of the most significant things. The truth is that you are loved by God, and the death and resurrection of Jesus reveals just how much. If we allowed that headline to become “the headline of our prayers” – before we rushed on to pray about the things that were concerning us or even the to give thanks for the things that are a blessing to us – we might find that we get a different perspective on our lives. That’s what Nehemiah did. He remembered God’s self-revelation as a God of love and mercy and he prayed accordingly. His life was transformed, and from there so was his city; his community. Begin each day dwelling on that headline and it might transform you.
Before I finish I have to pass on the very sad news that Elizabeth Austerberry, a long-time and well loved member of our church, died last week. Our prayers are with her family and friends. Please take a look at the enclosed notice sheet to find out more about what is happening in and around the church over the next couple of weeks and, as always, if I can be of any help please do ask.
With love from Sarah and myself,
Rev. Ian Aitken
52 Ashgrove Road West
Tel. 01224 686929
Aberdeen: Stockethill Church of Scotland
Scottish Charity Number - SC030587