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Minister's Letter

Dear Friends,

As I sit to write this I am uplifted by the beautiful Spring-like day that I can see through the study window. There are signs of Spring in the gardens too – snowdrops, daffodils and already in some places, drifts of crocuses. Birds have already been checking out the accommodation offered in the boxes attached to the trees in my garden but as yet, I think they are only viewing the options.

This being my first year in the Manse, I am yet to discover what plants will emerge as the seasons unfold. The anticipation feels a bit like waiting to open presents on a certain date except you can’t shake or prod these gifts, it’s an exercise in patience, as is all gardening.

Yes, today is a promise of better days ahead although we know it is still early and that we might still get some wintery weather.

It is appropriate then, that this is the time of the year when so many of our world faiths hold their highest festivals, celebrating in many varied ways the growing length of days and the renewal of life, yet, with an understanding that life also has its darker days.

In the Christian calendar of course, we are entering the season of Lent and Easter, a season that itself has it’s roots in the celebrations of another culture; the Passover festival of the Jewish people. At this festival they celebrate their miraculous release from the dark days of slavery under the Egyptians and the joy of a new life as a nation, as a people of God.

It was this festival that Jesus celebrated with his family, friends and disciples. Passover is a family celebration and is unlikely to have been an all adult, male gathering as we suppose from our Gospel accounts and from classical paintings. At this meal with its very traditional structure and prayers, Jesus broke from tradition and in bread and wine instituted a new act of remembrance which we still continue today in our Communion services. So, in this season, we remember Jesus as the once and for all sacrifice for the ‘fallen’ nature of humankind with gratitude and thanks, but we celebrate his victory over death and the new life he offers to all people through his resurrection.

My prayer for us all is that throughout the seasons of shade and sunshine that make up the pattern of our lives, we will always hold in our hearts the hope that Easter brings, and experience the very real presence of the risen Jesus.

(The angel said) Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” 8So they (the women) left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
(Matthew 28 v 7-10, NRSV translation)

‘After darkness, light;
After winter, spring;
After dying, life:
Alleluia! Alleluia!’
(v1. Hymn 292 Singing the Faith by Fred Pratt Green)

Deacon Annette

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