St Mary's KirkintillochSt Mary's Kirkintilloch

Pastoral Letter

Rev Mark Johnstone

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Summer 2017

Dear Friends,


Even in the brightest day there can be darkness.  The Christian faith knows that darkness can come into out life literally at the flick of a switch.  It can be literal or figurative. We stumble in the darkness, we can be afraid in the darkness and we have a sense in which we can be overwhelmed by darkness.  Darkness can come into our life in many ways.  It can come with bad news, the action of others, the unforeseen consequences of our own action, circumstances far out with our own control.


The reality is we cannot avoid those times when sadness is too much, when we see no way ahead, when we know our life will never be the same because something bad has happened. Yet when you look back at life it is often those times of darkness that bring true insight.  We see in a way we had never seen before.  We perhaps set new goals or priorities for our life.  There is something to be said about the life learning and shaping that darkness can bring.  That is not to say dark times are good….we know they are not. Often difficult times help us see true companionship, love and generosity. We often need to hope for something better when our current situation is not good. That is a central tenet of the Christian faith. Ecclesiastes reminds us there is a ‘….time to mourn and a time to dance’.


This week as the weather has brightened and many have thought about their holidays and the summer months we heard of the Bombing that took place in Manchester.  Our sympathy goes out in any situation like this.  However the Innocent lives lost and changed for ever seems to intensify the tragic, nasty and merciless action of a bomber. The thought that moments before the explosion many of these young people had been dancing makes the images and stories told heartbreaking.  How can life go from such moments of joy to moments of darkness.  We know this bomb exploded because of the misguided actions of some. They cast a shadow over the many. They destroyed life.


As Christians we have no simple answer to the pain others cause.  


The 23rd Psalm says ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the darkest shadow…I will not fear evil….for you God are with me…’, in Deuteronomy it says ‘…the Lord says….I will never leave you or forget you’.


Jesus said ‘Love one another as I have loved you’, he also said ‘Do unto others what you would have others do to you’.


If citizens of the world, those of faith, those of none, and those in between would attempt to embrace Jesus Golden Rule we would know the benefit of community and these acts of hatred would not bring darkness to the life of the innocent.


Let us pray for a broken world, peace, love and reconciliation.  Any other way of living does not work and causes us to sit in darkness afraid even to light a candle of joy.


Kindest regards


Mark J



Rev’d Mark E. Johnstone DL,MA,BD.













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