FROM THE MINISTER
As I write this, there is much speculation as to whether the Tokyo Olympic Games will actually take place this Summer. Postponed from last year due to pandemic issues, there have been nagging problems with logistics, spiralling costs and countries threatening to ‘pull-out’. I remember holding a school assembly in a small Borders primary school, immediately prior to one Olympic Games. The thought of creating a sports orientated theme had occurred to me. Having rolled up my shirt sleeves, I asked the children what they could see when I moved my arm in a Charles Atlas type movement. To my disdain, there was no response at first, and then a wee boy near the front row tentatively put up his hand. With a hesitating voice he put forward his theory: ‘Is that a muscle, Rev Stan?’ Right enough, as a visual aid, maybe that wasn’t one of my most obvious ideas. All was not lost, however, because that particular day, their young male peripatetic gym teacher happened to be standing at the back of the hall. The keen rugby player was only too quick to come to the front and reveal to the assembled schoolchildren all his rather more obvious muscle groups. I don’t think that I have ever had such an attentive group of female teachers at a school assembly since. The bulging biceps had their eyes out on proverbial stalks even if the display was completely lost on the kids. Their ambivalence gave me great comfort: weedy ministerial muscle never had a hope of competing with Borders rugby beefcake.
The message was, of course, that external strength has always to be coupled with internal strength of spirit. One of the most privileged things about being a parish minister is that you get glimpses into the lives of people who face huge challenges in the game of life. We all know friends and neighbours who encounter such challenges, be they a life threatening illness in a child, a tragic family episode or the revelation of a personal terminal diagnosis. Such rounds can be harder than others and all leave their mark, yet often out of expected defeat, comes victory. We are astounded when individuals can find the strength to pick themselves up off the bitter field and keep running. Often, they are an inspiration to us all.
In these days, when hopefully life is re-emerging from the effects of the pandemic, I am convinced that the inner strength to conquer defeat is a gift to humanity from God. The so-called weaklings amongst us would say that this is the reason we go to church – to build up our spiritual muscles and help us win through. Bulging biceps are a good thing, but they can never beat well developed inner resources.
May God bless you and even if the Olympics don’t go ahead as planned, can I wish you all a happy summer and great success in your personal race?
From Easter Sunday, thanks to the lessening of Covid restrictions, we have been able to hold weekly physical services in Church once more and have been able to celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion again in a way which conforms to regulations. Although we are still currently restricted by two metre spacing when members of the congregation are seated in pews, sixteen spaces are available in Kirk of St. Bride, Abernethy and fourteen in Arngask. We are still unable to sing hymns, and the wearing of masks remains compulsory although, as the vaccination programme progresses and the incidence of the virus decreases, we hope to see big changes soon. A monthly Zoom Fun Church has been taking place for our Sunday Club children and the Kirk Session has been meeting occasionally also by Zoom. The minister and volunteer team continue to send out and deliver ‘On-Line Church’ services every Sunday for those who feel that they are not ready to return to the kirk in person.
More than ever, as the weeks progress into Summer, the Scottish Government is actively relaxing regulations bit by bit. For this reason, you are encouraged to access up-to-the-minute Kirk news through the Church ADA (Abernethy & Dron & Arngask) Facebook page. Current worship information can be found here and you can also find details about how to ‘book a pew’ by registering your ‘Trace and Protect’ details.