The Word on the Week


Anniversaries                   Word on the Week                     18th February 2023.

We appear to be living longer these days.   Our neighbour passed the 100 mark a couple of years’ ago and this week celebrated reaching 102.

This led me to figure out that my mother would be 123 years old had she lived to this day which is in fact her birthday.   She lived all her life in the 20th century; her age matching the year which made it easy to work out how old she was!

She was an energetic person and she needed to be.   Our household consisted of my father’s father, my mother’s mother, my parents and me!   Both grandpa and grandma lived on into their 90ies and so were very much part of my early years.

Not so my mother’s father who was a farmer and died at age 64.   He didn’t feature in my early years.   In my teens bits of information filtered through. It seemed that there had been a falling-out over the Gospel.   Gran remained in the Presbyterian Church of Scotland (it was the church farmers went to in those days) and grandad moved to the Christian Brethren.

There had been a revival around the middle of the 19th century, the fires of which did not die down for a number of decades.   Kenneth Jeffrey is the author of ‘When the Lord Walked the Land’ a book which writes up the dramatic effects the revival had on the three main groups living there in the North-East of Scotland.   

First it broke out in the city of Aberdeen, then the farming community, to be followed quickly by the fisher folk.   The latter felt unable to join with the farmers (they smelt of fish) so they built Brethren Halls, many of them still standing but sadly few in their original use.

Grandpa Ross, mother’s father, must have ‘witnessed a good confession’ (1Timothy 6 Verse 12) to have moved church and joined the Christian Brethren with its practice of believer’s baptism.   Clearly this was a bridge too far for Gran!   Mother was never baptised which highlights the family difficulties around conversion.

Mother did teach me to pray.   The nightly prayer was ‘Gentle Jesus meek and mild, listen to a little child; pity my simplicity, teach me Lord to come to thee.  The last line of the prayer was answered when I was age 26 (St Matthew 11 verses 28 to 30). Praise God.

I too moved from the Presbyterian Church to an Evangelical Church and was baptised at age 30.   Strange as it may seem I did not know that my path mirrored that of Grandpa Ross until some years later!   As we saw in last week’s blog sometimes prayers take a long time before they are fully answered (1 Corinthians 3 verse 6).