General Assembly Week
Someone is talking. Behind them, we see a large bookcase, filled not only with books but also Ordnance Survey maps, pot plants, ornaments and children’s toys.
That person is succeeded by another. She seems to be in a garden, perhaps her own? Cherry trees in blossom, waving gently in the breeze.
Another speaker. An art lover, it appears, for the wall behind him is filled with framed paintings of seascapes and landscapes.
This is the sort of thing we’ve become used to over the weeks of the lockdown, as different individuals – politicians, scientists, journalists, members of the public – report to the nation on the TV News from their own homes, whether they are in urban or rural areas.
The installation of the Moderator of the General Assembly for 2020-21 also followed this pattern. Taking place yesterday (16th May) it was livestreamed on the Church of Scotland website – if you missed it, you can watch the video.
Of course there were very few people in the Assembly Hall, but proper Kirk procedure was followed, and Dr Martin Fair, minister of St Andrew’s, Arbroath is now the Right Reverend Dr Martin Fair.
Following the formalities, various people were “beamed” into the Assembly Hall to offer their good wishes: Martin’s Session Clerk, outside her house; former Moderator the Very Revd James Simpson in the Perthshire countryside; and many more – family, Arbroath folk, the Conveners of the two new Forums.
Two completely different things are making the lockdown bearable for some people: the lovely weather, and technology. With these in mind, let’s pray.
Glorious God, Creator of all
We can’t go off to exotic places right now
It doesn't even make sense to book a holiday
so we look around our more immediate area
and perhaps we are surprised by its beauty
Trees wearing pink blossom
Tulips in regal purple
Blackbird chorus, woodpecker knocking, liquid note of the curlew
Sound of the sea, sight of the sun setting
Wonderful! Thank you, Lord
And thank you for the human ingenuity which has produced the technology
to bring us together when we are apart
Beloved face smiling at us from the screen
Funny stories shared, problems halved
Messages of hope and encouragement passed on
We include in our prayers those known to us who are unable to go out
and those who feel disadvantaged because they don’t have access to the internet
May we find ways to bring joy and hope into their lives
for in this way your Kingdom will come, dear God
through our Lord Jesus Christ; Amen
A wee reminder that if you do have the technology, you can watch this year’s
Heart and Soul live
on the Church of Scotland website
this afternoon, from 2.00 till approx.. 4.20.
It won't be in Princes Street Gardens like last year but it will bring us together in a different way.