It is exciting and unsettling when Scripture speaks to you. I was struck by a verse in 1 Timothy. (Well, for a start, it was quite literally addressed to me.)

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— (1 Timothy 2:1)

We recently held the Spring Day of Prayer – our first quarterly prayer day for 2022. The theme there was essentially: rejoice, pray and give thanks. That verse inspired and challenged all who were able to take part. This verse from 1 Timothy then landed with me and gave me pause for thought.

I have been (with the help of others) pulling together various rolls, registers and records that we need to submit to Presbytery for annual inspection. Some of the instructions were a bit out of date; others were confused and in general they were complex. As everyone on Kirk Session (and a few others besides) knows: when I am busy, I like to make sure everyone knows it. So I sounded off a bit regarding these unnecessary aspects. I had sympathy and – wonderfully – a gently effective rebuke for my threats to scribble complaints and rude notes on the Returns, assuming nobody would actually read them. I can’t say I was headed for unmitigated disaster and wholesale slaughter in the way of David, but I had an Abigail influence, for sure and I was thankful. Meantime, in gratitude that people stood with me, my heart was changed.

So I paused at that verse and decided to act on what it showed me. I express my thanks; I do so publicly, rather than not mentioning anyone lest I embarrass them or forget someone else. I give my apologies to those not named, and I say thank you to Joan, Martin, John and George. And Alison F, who is an inspiration.

I had that all sorted in my mind, but then it was as if God said, “Alison F – yes, hold that thought!” God took my attitude and expanded my heart. At the Congregational Meeting, Alison spoke about the building project and  about the funds raised. She gave thanks for all the work and effort. And THAT set me thinking further about the verse in 1 Timothy. As we embarked on the work, we did indeed make petitions. We prayed and sought intercession. And guess what? Funds were raised, tasks were carried out and the Building Works were undertaken. So I echo Alison, as she spoke at the meeting. Thank you, Church Family, for your prayers, finance and commitment. We give thanks to the Contractors for their diligence and professionalism. And we give thanks to do many who did so much. Alison F and Sarah Robertson, thank you for managing the finance. Alison M thank you for co-ordinating through opening restrictions; Ros, thank you for your architectural and project management services. George, thank you for your spiritual oversight – this was not just ‘another project.’ Stewart Robertson, thank you for giving of your time and expertise for free in the civil structural engineering aspects. Moira, thank you for cleaning the church to enable continued use. The Work Party teams and individuals who cleaned out the balcony, sorted the kitchen: thank you. This is not just a delighted roll call on the last night of a show, but a heartfelt thank you to all. Just saying thank you helps change us all for the better – those who are thanked and those who thank. It’s worth repeating. And doing:

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— (1 Timothy 2:1)

[from Timothy Pitt]

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