These are difficult days in the Kirk. Morale is low, anxiety high. We face uncertainty, change, loss and decay. Rapid restructuring is leading to significant and painful consequences. And we are being asked to make horrible decisions sometimes affecting those we love and respect.
With this and other local concerns ringing in my ears, I travelled to Lendrick Muir to listen to Tommy MacNeil prophesy Gospel optimism. I nearly turned the car round more than once preferring to wallow in pessimism. But I’m glad I didn’t. Because to use Tommy’s favourite phrase – “God showed up”.
He was in the singing, which risked structural damage. He was in the teaching, where the Word and Spirit scalpel inflicted deep tissue damage. But today, what I needed most was God in the community of his people.
The combination of Covid, the conflict of change and the chaos of restructuring has turned our heads down and our thoughts inward. Have we ever been more isolated and demoralised? What a foothold for the Devil when we can no longer look each other in the eye for shame, stress and doubt.
Today, along with some other recent encounters, has reminded me to lift up my head. To look to Jesus in both Word and Spirit but also in the face of my ministry friends.
I’m not sure if the Kirk will survive this self-seeded storm. I don’t know if our efforts to hold back the dark tide of decay will succeed. But today, in my Horeb cave, I was reminded me that King Jesus remains faithful, powerful and he still has many thousand prophets to our nation.