The picture above was the image that greeted my return to your midst on January 1st. 2017. What a wonderful, colourful welcome you extended to me as I came home after a four month absence. Included on the welcome banner, were a series of luggage tags with personal messages inscribed by many of you, members of the congregation.
I must admit that when I read them later at the Manse I was humbled by your kindness, and amused by some of the humorous ones! Thank you for the welcome home, your patience and understanding during my absence and continuing recovery and rehabilitation. Thanks too are due to Rev. Jim Gemmell and Rev. Mark Johnstone, and to all those who provided Pulpit Supply AND to the many office-bearers and members who have kept things running smoothly while I have been ‘signed off.’
My physiotherapists are pleased with my progress but keen that during this period of my phased return I do not overdo things and jeopardise progress made. Cycling and marathon running are not on the immediate horizon; however I am allowed to swim!
The path back to full physical health continues to stretch out before me and I am comforted by a new insight into Isaiah 40:28-31 …
“Do you not know, have you not heard?
The Lord, the eternal God,
creator of earth’s farthest bounds,
does not weary or grow faint;
his understanding cannot be fathomed.
He gives vigour to the weary,
new strength to the exhausted.
Young men may grow weary and faint,
even the fittest may stumble and fall;
but those who look to the Lord
will win new strength,
they will soar as on eagles’ wings;
they will run and not feel faint,
march on and not grow weary. “
As a good friend said to me, “It doesn’t matter how many times you stumble and fall. What matters most is that you get back up again and carry on.”
On this path upon which I have never travelled before, I continue to get back up and carry on – with your help and with the help of God.