Dear Friends,

I hope to be back at work on the first weekend in February, the weekend of Candlemas. My first Mass will be the Gaelic one for the Vigil of Candlemas. I am sure that the stairs in the Rectory will be a test as to how I am faring after what was major surgery. I cannot thank you all enough for your expressions of goodwill, the Get Well cards, and all your kindnesses. It has been quite an experience.

The postponed Congregational AGM will take place in Church after a shortened Parish Mass on Sunday the 18th of February. Please make an effort to attend. In fact my plea goes further than the AGM. If you have fallen away in attendance at Mass since the Covid pandemic then please take serious consideration about this. I am aware that some folks are inhibited by Ill-health and age in coming to Church, but if you want St Margaret’s to survive and Mass to be celebrated in the Gallowgate Sunday by Sunday in the years to come then it is up to you to get down to Church and support the Cause. Liturgy (Gk. Λαος εργον) is the work of the people, not just the work of the priest. So the people have to be there with the priest in this sacred place.

There are two words for time in Greek. Chronos (Xρονος) and Kairos (Καιρος). Chronos gives us ‘chronological’ and ‘chronicle’. Chronos is about the forward propelling of time that we measure with clocks, on watches, and by evolutionary phases of the moon. But time does not end there.

Kairos is what many philosophers and mystics would refer to as “deep time”. This is the time we’re talking about where the world seems to stop entirely. It can be measured in deep exhales, a shared laugh, or by a colourful sunset. It is sacramental time. It is a qualitative time where you have the opportunity to move forward in the present, untethered by any moving clock or calendar. A Kairos moment in life can feed your soul, like fuel, for many months at a time. In those precious moments where time stands still everything feels possible. I make further mention of this in the book review on Alastair Moffat’s work, In Search of Angels, elsewhere in the magazine.

Kairos means a good time for action. In the New Testament, Kairos developed the meaning of ‘the appointed time in the purpose of God.’ In St John’s Gospel, Christ talked about Kairos as the moment when He decided to go to Jerusalem to meet His terrible fate. Central to this is Christ’s offering of Himself, His sacrifice. As the Canon, the Eucharistic Prayer, of the Scottish Liturgy puts it…

“All glory and thanksgiving be to thee, Almighty God, our heavenly Father, for that thou of thy tender mercy didst give thine Only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption; who, by his own oblation of himself once offered, made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world; and did institute, and in his holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memorial of that his precious death and sacrifice until his coming again.”

All this is central to our liturgical practice. This at the heart of Kairos…sacramental time. We come together to engage in liturgy. ‘Do this’… ‘Do this in remembrance of me’…(Toυτο ποιτε). This is at the heart of the eucharist, ‘the action,’ commemorating Christ’s ‘action,’ which is the meaning of the anamnesis…basically, lest we forget. Lest we forget what Christ has done for us. This is Kairos, a good time for action. In liturgy we leap out of Chronos into Kairos. This is what we have to offer in our worship at St Margaret’s. This is what we invite others to experience. This is timeless and this is what we can offer those who are searching for meaning in their lives, and we have much to offer.

The World is not in a good place at present. Most things seem to be broken. Yet brokenness is at the heart of the Gospel. Christ’s body was broken on the cross for the sins of the world to give humanity hope. That is what we proclaim in our liturgical practice. Christ’s brokenness, Christ’s sacrifice. But it is a sacrifice that truly gives hope to a beleaguered and broken world and that is the difference.

Holy Week will soon be upon us; let’s try and make it truly special this year. Above all make it truly special for yourself.

I am anticipating that we will be joining St Peter’s in the Castlegate for Stations again in Holy Week.

I hope also to start a class in February for those who wish to learn more about our tradition and practice.

See you in Church,

Kindest Regards,
As Aye,

Fr. Emsley