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Minister's Update

June 2016 Letter

  • 1 June 2016
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear congregations

As a wee tribute to Bill Russell, I decided to make the theme of my letter this month "music".

I think life is like a big symphony, in which each one of us has a part to play. If we keep our eyes focussed on the conductor, God, and each one of us play our different instruments with all our hearts - read the notes, play when we are expected to play and wait patiently when it's not our turn - life can be a piece of music that takes your breath away (1 Corinthians 12: 12 - 26).

As any musician will be able to tell you, some pieces are really easy to play, and some are extremely hard. But, the more you practise, the better you will be able to cope with the harder pieces. Exactly the same thing is true of life.

No matter how easy or hard, if there is one thing Bill taught me, it's never to give up. he always insisted on singing ALL the verses of a hhymn, no matter how long the hymn would be, because it was written as a unity.

And in a sense, that is exactly how he lived his life as well - full on, from beginning to end, giving attention to every little detail along the way, not missing anything, giving everything of himself until the very last minute.

At the thanksgiving service that was held for Bill at the Mure Memorial Church, the minister read a passage written by George Bernard Shaw. here is an extract of it: "I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. i rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no 'brief candle' for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."

Now isn't that just so true of our Bill?

And such an inspiration for all of us.

Let's make the most of every single minute we have, because only God knows when the notes we are playing will become silent. But until that moment arrives, let's give it all we've got, because the mere fact that we were chosen to be part of this orchestra is an honour beyond comparison!

God bless,

Nanda

May 2016 Letter

  • 1 May 2016
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations,

The end of April delivered a few highs and lows - with Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday celebrations probably the biggest high and the death of the pop star Prince probably the lowest low...... I find it quite ironic that on the very same day that the Queen turned 90, Prince died ( at a mere 57 years of age). There's even some word-play involved here; "Queen" x "Prince"

That's just the way life is I guess: Somebody's big, special day, is always, somewhere, somebody else's hard, sad day. Lots of people all over the world celebrated this very special milestone with the Queen; while, on the same day, lots of people all over the world mourned the loss of their icon, to a much-too-soon death.

Life is full of ups and downs, highs and lows, and most of these are unpredictable. The only thing we can know for sure is that none of us will be here on earth forever; that life is short. In Psalm 130: 15 - 17 we read: "The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone...But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him..."

The fact that life is short shouldn't make us feel depressed, it should make us pro-active. We should make the most of each minute. We need to LIVE every moment we have, so that one day, when our time is up, we won't have any regrets. Here, the Queen is setting a fabulous example.

And you know, although we don't know how many years we'll have here on earth, we know - without even the faintest shadow of a doubt, that for every single one of them, we'll have God by our side.

What more can we ask for?!

May God bless you all,

Nanda

April 2016 Letter

  • 1 April 2016
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations

What a privilege to start Easter morning in the Auld Kirkyard at the crack of dawn!

There were dark clouds looming in the sky, but for the few moments we remembeered Jesus' resurrection, the sun shone brightly through the skies, colouring some of the clouds in a light shade of orange; and although it rained on and off all day long - for those few moments not a drop fell out of the sky. It felt as if even nature held its breath to remember what Jesus did for us.....

After a tremendously busy week, and even having to get up an hour earlier because the clocks changed, I felt more alive than ever, not even a little tired. I was thinking about my boys (all 3!) still cosy in bed, and then thought about Mary - grieving the death of her son like only a mother can, and then eralising that he is alive - that all his suffering wasn't for nothing (John 19 & 20).

Jesus conquered death for all of us. Because of what he went through, no amount of suffering we have to go through in our daily lives will ever be for nothing, nor will we have to handle it alone.

So let's live like people who believe this......let's see the sunshine through the rain and feel his love through our pain.

May God bless you all,

Nanda

March 2016 Letter

  • 7 March 2016
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear congregations

We find ourselves in the time of Lent niw - a time where we walk in the footsteps of Jesus, to remember what He went through to save us.

Since we've moved to Scotland, Easter has got a whole new meaning to me. Because South Africa is in the southern hemisphere, Eastertime is the start of autumn. But here, in the northern hemisphere, Easter and the start of spring coincides. So what happens outside, in nature, also happens inside, in your heart. And that just gives a whole new level of meaningfulness to what Jesus did for us!

Already our garden is filled with snowdrops, and I've had my first bunch of daffodils bring some warmth into the house (seeing the sun isn't doing it at the moment!). Despite the fact that the weather is very unpredictable this year, the promise of spring is in the air - no doubt about that!

But this year Easter will be even more symbolic, because British Summer Time literally starts on Easter morning! I know that might mean fewer hours in bed if you are planning to attend the 7am service in the Auld Kirk yard, but that also means that as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the long, dark nights will be something of the past....

What Jesus did for us on the cross means that on a spiritual level we can also put the long, dark nights behind us - He brought us new life, joy and light. So please join us for all our special Lenten and Easter celebrations this year, so we can celebrate the fact that Jesus withered and died to give us the opportunity to blossom.

 May God bless you all,

Nanda 

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