Tuesday Update 15
Dear brothers and sisters,
In Hebrews 4:14, the author writes: “Since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.” I wanted to reflect on what it means to “hold firmly” to our faith in Christ – and, indeed, to Christ himself.
We were at Legoland at Windsor on our holidays a few years ago, and it's a great place - it's a good thing to have children, because it gives you a valid excuse to go on all the rides! Some of the rides are quite fun, and quite fast - and on the boat/pod/vehicle that you're sitting in, there are signs saying: 'Don't stand up,’ don't do various other idiotic things that I hadn't even considered doing (!) and, of course, ‘HOLD ON!' Why do you hold on? So that you don't fall out! Or get thrown around and suffer needless, self-inflicted injury.
Like a roller-coaster, the Christian life has ups-and-downs, highs-and-lows, rough-and-smooth … and we need to hold on through it all. We need to hold firmly to the faith we profess. And as the Hebrews-writer repeatedly stresses, it's that holding on (indeed, holding on TO THE VERY END) that proves and confirms our profession of faith.
But the great thing is that it's not, in fact, our holding on that saves us or keeps us saved - important as it is to hold on. Back at Legoland, as well as being told to hold on, there's also a strong metal bar that gets lowered across your lap in the faster rides … so it's true to say that while you hold on, you are also held. And that translates right back into v.14 here, where we find that our holding on is on the basis of Christ's great priesthood.
These are days of limitations and anxiety; days of uncertainty; days of loneliness and enforced separation. These are also days of empty churches, and while we do share together in the same service week by week, these are nevertheless days of restricted opportunity for worship and fellowship. These are the kind of days when we do need to hold on to Christ, and hold firmly to our faith. But isn’t it wonderful to also know that, however firmly we hold onto Christ, it’s ultimately his hold of us that keep us safe in the everlasting arms!
Service this week
This week (DV) we’ll be looking at Q.20 in the Shorter Catechism, which looks at the covenant-of-grace, the Redeemer and our salvation. Then we’ll be continuing our studies in the Book of the Prophet Joel, coming to the section where Joel predicts the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given.
The Record June/July Edition
Due to the continuing restricted circumstances, the June/July edition of The Record has been made freely available for all. The email-link was forwarded last week, or you can read it online here
Phase 2 of lockdown-easing
As you will know, the Scottish Government has announced that we are now in the 2 nd phase of the easing of lockdown.Although church buildings are permitted to open for private prayer, such a practice has never been part of our church culture. The view of the Board of Trustees is that it is not good stewardship of resources to manage the required security, physical distancing, hygiene and cleaning requirements associated with opening church buildings for prayer.
It is possible that churches will be able to re-open for services during phase 3 – which is currently estimated to begin mid-August. Such a re-opening would certainly be subject to restrictions concerning hygiene and social distancing, etc. Decisions about re-opening will be taken locally by Kirk Sessions, though obviously subject to government regulations.
Further information concerning the FC-of-S guidance is available here: freechurch.org/covid-19/
Please also feel free to speak to any of the elders or deacons at any time if you have any questions or concerns.
I’ll be compiling the prayer update tomorrow, Wednesday. If there is anything you’d like to be included, please call or email me by 12-noon – especially if you or your family are self-isolating/ symptomatic, or have any kind of particular requests.
Let us remember the wonderful and reassuring words of Charles Spurgeon in these times: "It is not your hold on Christ that saves, but his hold of you."