A few issues arose over posting up the blog from our minister in the New Year. This issues are now fixed, so here is Mike’s musings from January
HAPPY NEW YEAR! We closed off our worship in 2018 hearing from some of the congregation, listening to their high points and some of the lows, and where amongst the year they had found God alongside them. As we move from the old year to the new it is often a time of reflection. Newspapers will have reviews of the year and the TV often has review programs too. We are hitting the awards season with the Golden Globes, BAFTAs and OSCARs all taking place in the first couple of months of 2019.
A New Year is also a time where take stock of their own lives—maybe considering family loses over the past 12 months as well as maybe new additions to the family. People might also be considering their careers—where next, what opportunities might lie ahead, or maybe just trying to work out how to survive another year.
We have seen at GMC a greater uptake of our help provided to families through Food for Families (F3) and the Glen Mission—a sure sign that folk are finding it harder economically, especially with the role out of Universal Credit. It is not just us helping out though. Many other churches across the West Fife region, as well as many secular charities help and support those who are struggling in many areas of life—from low income to substance misuse, from bereavement to mental health challenges, from job seeking and skills provision to support through the criminal justice system and many more.
Our human lives are complex, busy and demanding—whoever we are and whatever situation we find ourselves in. But I believe that among the business and sometimes chaos of our lives we can find peace. This is a peace that I can only describe as a wholeness or completeness that is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. This relationship does not shield us from the troubles and strife of our existence but it does bring a calmness through understanding of why things are the way they are.
Some may think churches are full of pious self-righteous people who think they have it sorted. That Christians somehow think they have got it made and are morally superior. I believe that is wrong— churches are places that are full of sinners, but that the folk who attend know they are such and are reliant on the grace of Jesus. It is through the price paid by Jesus on the cross that we know we are saved, and only by that are we able to serve our community in its’ needs. In a sense Christians acknowledge that it is our weakness which bring us the strength to face all the trials (and the joys) of life, and too help and serve others. That is what compels us at GMC to do what we do.
And so, our review of 2018 is that it has been a good year. But we do not rest on our laurels. There is much to be done, to both help people where we can, with the limited resources we have, in practical ways. But this is always done with the love of Christ and the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus. We seek to be a leading light in our community of Dunfermline—but with leadership comes service. Jesus said to his disciples “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man [Jesus] came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20.26-28).
True leadership come with a heart of service, but there are also other warnings when serving—”Wherever you go,” he said, “stay in the same house until your leave town. But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned these people to their fate.” (Mark 6.10-11). True service comes with the wisdom to know where the help and the message that accompanies it, is not welcomed. The message is simply this—that Jesus comes to “bring Good News to the poor, to proclaim the captives will be released, that the blind will see and the oppressed set free” (Luke 4.18).
So for 2019, GMC wishes you all a very happy new year, but more than that—that you would be blessed by the love and peace of Christ, knowing the Good News, and that though all fall short of God’s expectations, a relationship is possible through Christ.
I also pray that as you either first come to know this you will be blessed and set free to serve the Lord; or if you know the Good News already, that you will go deeper with Christ through the year, seeking his blessings so that you would serve as he served humanity.
So now. instead of only reviewing our lives once a year, let us keep reviewing where we stand with God, with one another as we travel through the journey of life together, and together receive the only award gift worth receiving—the gift of God’s grace.
In the love and peace of Jesus Christ our Lord