I’ve been ‘clearing out the attic’, as the expression goes, and it has been an interesting experience - maps, guide-books, newspaper cuttings, old lecture notes and other half-forgotten things. I only hope I have kept what was, for me, worth keeping! All in all, it was a kind of picture of my life so far, and, at the same time, allowed me to turn a corner on the past and make a fresh start, if you know what I mean.
Talking of fresh starts, I hope this article will bring you some reports, new to you, of what is happening in the Church of Scotland at large.
From Stirling comes news of a recent appointment at the University there. The Reverend Doctor Janet Foggie has been chosen to join the existing team of Chaplains. As she says herself, “This is an opportunity to build a new church community which is shaped and created for the University it will serve.” We remember her in our prayers as she helps both staff and students to explore questions of faith and spirituality.
Scotland’s links with Malawi go back a long way, and prayerful support is needed for the medical missionaries there. Spurred on by their faith, they struggle to cope with overwhelming numbers of patients and the prejudices of witchcraft.
As usual, I have unearthed a number of quotations which are not necessarily my opinions but which may get you thinking for yourselves.
“It’s not our differences that separate us, but our judgements about each other.”
“When Jesus was arrested he forbade his disciples from meeting force with force.”
“A ban on physical punishment respects children’s rights and encourages us all to use non-violent methods of conflict - resolution in adult life.”
“Climate change and its adverse effects on the whole creation, especially on vulnerable, poor and native communities, is an urgent concern for all people of faith.”
“Let God be at the core, and face with compassion and commitment our beautiful but broken, bleeding world.”
My charity calendar this month has a picture of a Bangladeshi woman. She is smiling as she has been rescued, along with thousands of her fellow- countrymen and women, from her country’s recent earthquake by the efforts of the Red Cross. Where there is compassion in the world, there surely is God.
And finally, some lines from a tombstone near Aviemore. Do they sound familiar?
“Let the Great Shepherd lead and by winding ways,
Not without green pastures and still waters,
We shall climb insensibly and reach the top of the everlasting hills,
Where the winds are cool and the sight is glorious.”