Thought for the Week – Try Praying

Message from the Moderator

Dear friends,

Perhaps as never before in recent times, folks have ‘tried praying’!  The global pandemic has raised so many questions, not least about our vulnerability and mortality, that many people have found themselves wondering about deeper matters and not least that which is usually referred to as ‘spiritual’.

There are some within the Christian fold who adopt a somewhat sneering, cynical attitude in response.  Much as they criticise those who worship at Christmas by asking:  “Where are they on the other fifty-one weeks of the year?”, they contemptuously dismiss those who have turned to prayer in recent times, suggesting that looking for God in an emergency is shallow and infantile and hardly worthy of a response.

I take a different view.  An entirely different view.

Should those who are genuinely seeking be dismissed and put off, or encouraged?  If there is even a mustard-seed worth of faith, shouldn’t it be fed and nourished?

The trypraying initiative has grown significantly through the years and now has a significant degree of ‘brand recognition’.  Its simple seven-day format offers a challenge, but one that seems attainable to those who may be doing no more than enquiring.  And just as importantly, trypraying has now built up a considerable case history; that is, people who have tried praying and have met with significant responses.

I can’t imagine that there’s a better year for congregations to have a go with trypraying.  I’m delighted to commend it to you and offer my encouragement to those who make it happen, that it may be a blessing to the whole Church at this time:

www.trypraying.co.uk

www.thereishope.co.uk

Every blessing,

Rt Revd Dr W Martin Fair

Moderator

General Assembly of the Church of Scotland

Thought for the Week – New Year Changes by Rev Gayle Taylor

Watch for the new thing I am going to do.
    It is happening already—you can see it now!
I will make a road through the wilderness
    and give you streams of water there.  Isaiah 43 v 19

As we return to our pattern of Thought for the Week on a Wednesday in this new year, I wanted to share a little yet profound insight that came to me from reading about  Mother Teresa recently.

Mother (now Saint) Teresa (1910‒1997) lived in a community of Christian sisters at the motherhouse in Calcutta. The sisters were not rigid in their religious practice; rather, they were simply devoted women. They did not need security, answers, and order, as we see in most traditional monasteries and nunneries in the West. In fact, they were willing to live without security, with very few answers to their questions of mind and heart, and amid almost total disorder in India. What a message for us in our time of uncertainty and constant “new normals” where disorder continues due to the impact of the pandemic. The sisters lived all in union—hour by hour—with God. They lived that amazing and rare combination of utter groundedness and constant risk-taking that always characterizes the true Gospel.

The sisters didn’t waste time fixing, controlling, or even needing to understand what is wrong with others. Instead, they put all of their time and energy into letting God change them. From that transformed place, they served and carried the pain of the world, which they were convinced is the pain of God. In other words, they could tolerate and bear much because of their centre, their core belief in God’s presence in life.

As we slowly come to terms with this new year of 2021 and face the challenging January that lies ahead in lockdown, rather than trying our usual diets and exercise resolutions, we would do well to adopt something of the big picture Mother Theresa and her sisters showed to the world. It is simple yet powerful – faith is about changing ourselves, not the other. We cannot change other people, we cannot change circumstances when they happen, all we can change is our response and our way of being.

So, for 2021, why not ask the question this week, this January: what change do I want to see in myself this year?

This week’s prayer and music:

Thought for the Week by Rev Gayle Taylor

This video made by Erika (our Mission and Outreach worker) and members of our Inbetweens group, was part of our all age Nativity Service on Sunday 20th December in Mayfield and Easthouses Church which you can watch a recording of on the website. We gave out Christingle kits at church and at the Jellytots at Mayfield on Monday so that people could make one at home. If you would like a Christingle kit, we still have some extra bags at church and we could arrange for one to be delivered to you before Christmas eve – please phone the church office on 0131 663 3245.