Ministerial Update July 2022
To the Members and all associated with the congregations of Crail and St Ayle
I am just back from a holiday on board a ship which called at Helsinki in Finland. One of the tour guides pointed out a church in the city which served not only as a church where worship took place, but also acted as a light house. The light beaming from the Church ensured that ships in the water were protected from harm. I am unaware of other examples of this joint function, though there may be some. There is, however, in my view, something highly appropriate in this combined role.
The church is not just the assembly place for the members of the congregations. It provides facilities and serves the communities in which it exists. The light from the church building in the winter nights shows that faith and witness to the gospel is alive and well in the community and provides a beacon of hope and encouragement to those outside the building, or those who are unable to come to worship through frailty, or disability. We all are aware of how much the darkness of the closed Church buildings during the pandemic contributed to the dreariness and depression of the lockdown experience.
The community which gathers in our church buildings has a huge similarity to the light of the lighthouse. We who claim to follow Jesus are to reflect the light of the world and carry the hope of the Gospel into our day by day actions. We are called to bring comfort to the sorrowful, warn those whose behaviour is dangerous, or life threatening, engage with the needs of those who are in distress, and ensure that people can find safety in the darkness.
The times we are facing through the cost of living crisis, the continuing war in Ukraine and its horrors in terms of human life events and economic disaster, the lack of any end of the Covid pandemic, the uncertainties created by the Presbytery Planning process and the demission of the Revd John Murray, all contribute to the mounting sense of darkness threatening to overwhelm us. Yet we are part of a community which is dedicated to bringing light in the deepest despair and darkness.
There are dangers of a superficial positivity or false based optimism. I would not advocate this. Instead, I encourage you to affirm a trust that the care and compassion of God is strong enough to sustain us and can be relied upon in the most testing of times. Few of us could ever have predicted the events of the past three years and their impact upon us as a community or individuals. Some of the events and experiences were just beyond our imaginations.
In the depths of it all, we have had hope based on the wonders of modern science, remarkable courage demonstrated by so many caregivers, and examples of tenacity and commitment to the welfare of others. God reaches out to us, and we are invited to recognise the light in the darkness. Remember the aphorism, ’There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of one small candle’.
While we as individuals, and even as congregations, can easily begin to believe we are not effective or making a real difference, it is vital for us to continue to reflect the faith and love of God extended to us in Jesus, day by day. We cannot know how much our faithfulness, or our actions may impact the lives of others and how much our lives may really make a difference.
In these challenging circumstances, I encourage you to keep committed and continue to consider carefully how you may be able to bring hope and healing to the lives of others. Remember the Kirk Sessions and the locum in your prayers and try, as you are able, to support the worship, witness and outreach of the congregations as we enter into the next period of transition. We might remember that the Gospel is not always displayed in dramatic or spectacular actions. Our faith may best be seen in everyday simple actions of kindness, compassion and sympathy, bringing comfort, security and encouragement to a world in need of light to dispel the darkness.
Nigel J Robb ( Revd)