Autumn is almost upon us, our harvest festivals are happening, and our thoughts are beginning to turn from summer to winter. Traditionally, this is the time of year when we take stock of things. We celebrate the good things that have happened over the last year and we look to the future.
. Are things better than last year? Let’s hope so! After all, there are many good reasons to believe they will be. Chief amongst them is the successful vaccination program. While clearly there are many reasons to remain cautious, we should remember that we have so many things to be thankful for.
I’m thankful that our building is open, our regular services are all running, we can sing and praise God, and that next week we can have coffee after the services. Fellowship is beginning to seem more normal. The Church Halls are open with social activities and coffee mornings. Of course, there are the usual challenges. Singing while wearing a face mask will never seem a natural idea, and whilst YouTube and Zoom have proven their worth throughout recent times, technology always seems capable of producing challenges.
Looking into the winter months ahead I am reminded of all the things we didn’t manage to do last year including, Remembrance Sunday and our Christmas Eve service. It is my firm hope that we will be able to honour those we love and have sadly passed away at our All Saints service this year, and that our Remembrance Sunday service will be open to more people. For Christmas, I’m sure that my prayers for unrestricted carol singing will be echoed by many.
Times have been difficult and continue to be challenging but I believe we have a lot to be thankful for and even more to look forward to.
With Every Blessing,
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
- 2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV -
Falcon Road flat – Recently the elders voted to keep the flat on Falcon Avenue. As advised by the factors, the flat is currently being decorated and freshened up with new carpeting also. The plan is to re-let it in October.
Book Group - This begins in the third week of September. Can all who are interested let the minister know and details will be forwarded to them.
Children’s work - Rev Steven has been meeting with the Youth advisor from the Synod and we will be announcing details this month of a new programme for our younger people.
Flowers - If anyone would like to help do the flowers one weekend, either on Saturday for the service on Sunday or on the Sunday morning itself, please get in contact with Maggie McKenzie. Alternatively, anyone who would like to contribute money for someone else to do the arrangements please also get in contact. Thank you. - Maggie McKenzie (0131 261 4908)
The Guild – In the spirit of Parish clustering and on the initiative of the Rev Karen Campbell of Marchmont St Giles, the local churches in the Bruntsfield, Grange, Mayfield and Newington areas are going to relaunch a joint Guild. We have been invited to join in.
During September, The Edinburgh Bookshop will be holding two Author Events here at Morningside United Church. Tickets are available from the book shop.
Alistair Moffat: The Secret History of Here
Alistair Moffat joins us to talk about his latest non-fiction book, The Secret History of Here: A Year In The Valley - a personal investigation into the history that surrounds us, from the historian and award-winning author of The Hidden Ways and for fans of Robert Macfrlane's Underland.
About the Book:
The Secret History of Here is the story of the site on which Moffat’s farm now stands in the Scottish Borders, which has been occupied since pre historic times. In uncovering the history of this one piece of land, Moffat shows how history is all around us, if only we have the eyes to see it. Moffat also shows how the history of one physical place can relate to a much bigger, national picture.
Janie Brown & Jackie Kay: Radical Acts of Love
Live Event Wednesday 29 September 19:00 – 20:30
Award-winning poet laureate of Scotland, Jackie Kay joins Janie Brown in conversation on her book, Radical Acts of Love: Twenty Conversations to Inspire Hope at the End of Life.
About the Book:
In Radical Acts of Love Janie Brown, oncology nurse of thirty years and counsellor of cancer patients with terminal diagnoses, recounts twenty conversations she has had with the dying; including those personally close to her. Each conversation uncovers a different perspective and experience of death. For readers of Atul Gawande's Being Mortal and Kathryn Mannix's With the End in Mind, this profoundly moving and hugely life affirming book offers a sensitive and wise insight into our final moments.
Instead, Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), the point of which seems to be that your neighbor is to be construed as meaning anybody who needs you. The lawyer's response is left unrecorded
~originally published in Wishful Thinking and later in Beyond Words
The epithet Χρυσόστομος (Chrysostomos, anglicized as Chrysostom) means “golden-mouthed” in Greek and points to his celebrated eloquence. Chrysostom was among the most prolific authors in the early Christian Church, exceeded only by Augustine of Hippo in the quantity of his surviving writings. He emphasised charitable giving and was concerned with the spiritual and temporal needs of the poor.
“Happiness can only be achieved by looking inward & learning to enjoy whatever life has and this requires transforming greed into gratitude.”
― John Chrysostom"
What a wonderful world!
What a wonderful world! These words will bring a tune to mind for many people. The lyrics sung by the great jazz musician Louis Armstrong speak to the heart!
I see trees of green and red roses too... skies of blue and clouds of white, the bright blessed day, the dark sacred night, and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.
But you may respond: What about the terrible things going on at present? What about the awful suffering in Afghanistan, in Haiti or the conflicts between Palestine and Israel? Look at the effects of the pandemic on the economy, the poor, our children, the NHS and our lives. As the COP 26 summit of governments in Glasgow approaches to consider Global warming, we can sense a depressing urgency in the melting of the ice caps and abuse of fossil fuels.
You're right. It can be hard to sing “It’s a wonderful world”. There are catastrophes here, there, and everywhere. It can seem overwhelming, leaving little room for sentimentality.
So as Christians, how should we respond?
Let us be people of optimism! Yes... Collectively as humans, we really have done much to harm the world and its people. Yet, the good surely outweighs the bad. As people of faith, we can count many blessings and discover hope. In our call to care for the world and love humanity, God gives us the means to view everything through a prism of love. This makes a difference.
Love is at the heart of our Faith because God is love.
The French philosopher Simone Weil wrote: "To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul." My advice is to be rooted in God’s love. Not only will the world appear more beautiful, but you will have the means to transform its sorrows into joy.
With Every Blessing
By Daphne Kitchin
I can’t wear the right clothes,
Speak the right words,
Fit the right mould,
Be the shape people want me to be,
Expect me to be,
Demand that I am,
But you Lord
Make it possible to be me,
In Your service,
Open for You
To transform myself
And the world around me
May the Son who teaches us to care for the stranger be with us, that we may be good neighbours in our communities.
May the Spirit who breaks down barriers and celebrates community, be with us as we find the courage to create a place of welcome for all.
The Link is a monthly publication by members and staff of Morningside United Church.
Food For Thought
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Rev. Steven Manders