Hope you’re all keeping well, despite the recent cold-snaps! (Or, at least, they’ve felt as much to this foreigner!) Well, as a number of you will have encountered this past Sunday, ‘the Aussie has landed!’ Indeed, I arrived in Aberdeen on 16 January, and – now about two weeks on – am beginning to feel quite settled, here. This is certainly a wonderful city, and I’ve been especially delighted to see it ‘in its glory’ on a handful of bright, sunny days that decided to welcome me to town.
And what a privilege it was to be able to join with some of you at Mass on Sunday; the beautiful building and even more beautiful liturgy made such a wonderful impression on me, and I am so looking forward to experiencing much more of it over the coming few years.
I wanted to say a brief thank you to the many people who have made me feel so welcome, here. You have been so kind to me, and I am terribly grateful to you all. I’m sure it will not take long at all before St Margaret’s very much feels like my new home.
It seems to me that this parish has a very particular gift to offer the people of Aberdeen. For, in the unique style of worship offered at St Margaret’s, we are given an especially powerful (and constant) reminder that our common life as the Church here on earth is ‘lived out’ together with those who have gone before in the faith, that in our collective and individual work and ministry as followers of Jesus we are witnessed, supported, and cheered on by none other than the heavenly company of the saints, in communion with whom we worship the Lord. Nowhere is this better experienced than in the Holy Mass. As we repeat the words of our forebears, worshipping as they did, we are – in a very particular way – ‘drawn up’ into the unceasing worship of all those who have ‘kept on’ as we keep on, and in death been rewarded for their labours. And so, if our lives are indeed lived together with theirs – if we, too, look toward the place of their joyful rest as our ultimate home, also – then surely we will come to find that, like them, our ‘first love’ – our ‘first duty’ – is the worship of God. If, indeed, we ‘Pilgrim People’ live in communion with them – as our liturgies so demonstrate – then there can surely be no greater, no more effective, no more important sustenance and obligation in our lives than to adore Jesus in Word and Sacrament. What greater and more significant (and necessary) offering to the people of Aberdeen?
I’m really looking forward to meeting those of you I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting. And I’m equally looking forward to hearing all the countless and undoubtedly wonderful ways in which each one of you, individually, is proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ in your own circles.
See you on Sunday.