I continue to make progress in my recovery. I have now had my cast replaced by a ‘boot’ (but not a football one) which I am sporting until the 14th of November. However given the serious nature of my injury my GP would not allow me to travel to the Belgium Battlefields with Bishopbriggs Academy and when I last saw him he signed me off for a further 4 weeks until a case review on the 1st of November.
As a result of this extended time of absence, the Presbytery of Glasgow has with immediate effect appointed Rev. Mark Johnstone of St. Mary’s Church, Kirkintilloch (0141 776 1252) as Interim Moderator.
Rev. Jim Gemmell of Kenmure Church (0141 772 1468) has kindly agreed to continue to provide emergency pastoral care cover during my period of recuperation. Pulpit Supply will be arranged for this next period of time. Further updates will follow in due course.
The younger brother of a colleague used to say to their mother on early winter mornings, “Turn on the light, I can’t hear you.” With a profound hearing impairment, without his hearing aids in, he relied on reading his mother’s lips to receive his morning marching orders. Without the lights on, he was in the dark in more ways than one. In my enforced separation from our faith community just now, I feel that I too am listening in the dark. I want to hear and understand but I am missing out on seeing your faces.
A Norwegian, Karl Ove Knausgaard wrote, “The most powerful human forces are found in the meeting of the face and gaze. Only there do we exist for one another. In the gaze of other, we become, and in our own gaze others become. It is there, too, that we can be destroyed. Being unseen is devastating, and so is not seeing.”
The Psalmist surely knew this when he wrote, “Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me! ’Come,’ my heart says, ’seek his face!’ Your face, Lord, do I seek. Do not hide your face from me.”
Being seen, regarded face-to-face, is to exist, to be known, to be saved and to love and be loved. It is to hear and be heard. It is to be understood in a way that fosters intimacy and maybe even reconciliation. It is embodied, word made flesh as St. John put it.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor killed by the Nazis, in ‘Life Together,’ wrote: “A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner.”
St. Paul in 1 Corinthians reminds us that now we see in a mirror dimly and only in the fullness of God’s time we will see face-to-face and be fully known. In the meantime, we are called to pray for each other trusting that when we do, the light of Christ illumines our darkness and we are able to see more clearly one another’s faces and perhaps truly hear each other, too.
Until I see you again, grace and peace.