I write this letter in the same week that Joe Biden was inaugurated as President of the United States of America. And I am sure that, with me, you thank God for him. We hope that, as we look to America, they will give the leadership that is often seen as the duty of the nation with the most power and wealth. We pray that they will give some stability to this world that has been a bit topsy turvy in recent years.
One of my friends from the USA messaged me to ask if the Scottish people are happier now with the USA? It was a friend whose family were very frightened by the recent events when the Capitol was stormed by extremists. They were worried to the extent that they even thought of emigrating to another country. I assured her that we in Scotland are much happier now and more confident of a stable and more peaceful wider world around us and that perhaps some of our fellow citizens in the food and drink industry are more hopeful regarding their jobs. Hopefully, those tough tariffs on whisky will be removed.
Democracy is fragile, it is vulnerable to being hijacked by extremists and can be used to take us in a direction that we would never want. Democracy is a gift that has been given to us by the success and evolution of ideas. Many people made great sacrifices for the gift of democracy and we should thus cherish it. Democracy should not be thwarted and exist for all voices to be heard and all reasonable ideas to be aired. It is a gift of God and human endeavour.
Let us continue to pray for our great friend the United States of America that they will again show good leadership in the world and set a good example in the world and help keep extremism at bay.
Meanwhile, we are still under the cosh of the COVID-19 virus. The roll-out of the vaccination was never going to be super speedy as the production of the vaccination is for the whole world. We will have to stick to that good old-fashioned British habit of waiting for our turn in the queue.
Some of you, if not many of you, may already have had the vaccine. This certainly has been a testing of our faith, of our resilience, and it has likely taught many of us many a lesson. We have learned to appreciate better the gift of human company, the gift of companionship, the voice of a friend at the other end of a telephone line, some may well be missing work colleagues whom you took for granted and so on.
We have certainly all missed the habit of gathering each Sunday for worship and the fellowship afterwards. For many, a lifetime’s habit. Yet, many of you have learned to use the means of telephone, computer and tablet to keep in touch.
Many thanks for the many Christmas Cards and messages on them that we received, much appreciated.
We think especially of those who have been or whose family members or close friends have been ill throughout or for a period of the pandemic. This has been difficult for you. Seeing a GP has not been easy nor attending medical appointments in the hospital. I am sure that you have much appreciated the care shown to you by family and friends, I know for a fact that some of you have. The gift of prayer is such a blessing in this time of the pandemic.
Prayer reminds us that there is always someone nearby, someone who always cares and listens, someone who never leaves our side.
The Church building is closed for the foreseeable future and so it is that all our worship is online. It is a comfort and a boost to know that we can gather each Sunday in our living rooms, around our tablets, or whatever device and wherever you tune in. We are one in heart, one in mind, one in worship, one in the cherishing of our common faith into which we are baptised.
Keep the faith, keep praying, keeping worshipping and keep to the rules and we should all come out of this with a fresh perspective and we will be together again as one happy Christian Family in the place we belong, Dennistoun New Parish Church. Many thanks for your continued support of the work of the Church of Scotland in Dennistoun New and elsewhere.
Peace and abundant blessing to everyone!
Your Friend and Minster
Rev. Ian McInnes