Letter from the Manse

Dear Friends,

Dr Jack
Dr James Jack is the Minister at Duddingston Kirk

            Happy New Year and thank-you from Liz and myself to everyone (the many) who sent Christmas cards to the manse. The Christmas services all went well and according to plan.  The midnight Watchnight Service had less people there than usual; about fifty compared with our pre-COVID numbers of between 300 and  400. The outbreak of the new variant of COVID has us being even more careful.   But the rest of our services all held up.

The recent debacle from Australia with tennis players and visas has brought a sharp reaction from most of those I have spoken with.  I detect that we are all fed-up with the restrictions and the never-ending effects of the pandemic. And so when a rich tennis player proclaims he has not been vaccinated it does cause some feathers to be ruffled.   And not just Australian ones!

When the evidence of the benefits of the jabs seems so obvious, why is there still a sizeable group not willing to be part of the vaccination programme?  There is so much mis-information around – from vaccines that make you magnetic so that a spoon will stick to your face to those who believe that the leaders of the world are injecting us with tracking devices so that they will know our every movement!   And people actually start to believe such rubbish!

With over 52 million people in the UK vaccinated, there are still those who refuse to be vaccinated.  A member of my family is a consultant in an Intensive Care Unit in one of our hospitals.  He tells me that four out of every five of his patients, fighting for their lives, have NOT been vaccinated. What more evidence do we need?

My rant is reminding me of the people being led though the wilderness by Moses, having escaped from Egypt.   The people start to complain and complain to Moses then to God.  They lose their patience (see Book of Numbers 21:4-9 for this story).  They were weary and the road ahead was long and hard.   But the answer was unusual to say the least.  God appears to make their journey even more difficult!   But in the midst of it all, God asked Moses to erect a metal pole with a metal serpent on it and all who took time to go out and look at it, in faith, were healed.  This symbol of healing is the same image we find as logos on our ambulances today.

In time God replaced that metal pole in the desert with a cross in another wilderness.  The cross of Christ is there for all of us in times of distress, frustration, loneliness or even fear. That we should take time to look at it and place our awkwardness at that cross and be set free from all of it through the love of God.

May God bless you and your family in the year to come.

Yours, Rev Dr Jim Jack.