Light in the darkness
This month the Herald features the ‘big interview’ with Moderator-designate, John Kirkpatrick, who will be installed at the General Assembly later in June.
John reflects on his life that led him to ministry, which includes some very difficult times in his early years – his father left the family home when he was just three, and then at the age of 10, he tragically lost his mother to cancer. He says, “I wouldn’t want to relive my life…But I thank God for it. Even the miserable bits. They are the dark shadows that highlight the brighter parts…”
Unfortunately, there are many dark shadows in our world in these days, some of which feature in this edition.
Following a recent trip to Poland, Stephen Williams offers a personal reflection on the plight of Ukrainian refugees there. Observing that the experience of refugees is greatly varied, he says: “Such is human tragedy: the mixture of very sad smaller stories within the very sad larger story.”
Pip Florit also reports on the dire situation in Syria and Lebanon and brings news from PCI’s partner Church, the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL), which is struggling to provide help. With 90% of the population of Syria living below the poverty line and a dramatic rise in the cost of living in Lebanon (it costs more than a month’s salary for a full tank of petrol), there are many needs to be met.
Despite this, Rev Joseph Kassab from NESSL relays that many people are finding refuge in the church, as the faith community pours out unconditional love. Pip reminds us that the mission there is not just for NESSL, but for God’s people worldwide. She says, “In darkness and struggle, he calls us to be his light.”
This theme is poignantly symbolised by Ruth Sanderson in her regular column. We congratulate Ruth on the birth of her second daughter last month, and sympathise with her honest reflection on the challenges of sleepless nights. Sharing her thoughts on the ensuing desperation of willing her baby to sleep, she says, “It suddenly struck me that even in the darkness of night, God was there.” The words of Psalm 139 float into her mind: “…even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”
Just as these words served as a comforting reminder to Ruth of God’s presence in that moment, so too they signify his powerful ability to bring light out of darkness and hope out of despair in any situation.
The Presbyterian Herald is the official magazine of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. It provides a forum for debate and discussion on a wide range of topics and aims to challenge and encourage Presbyterians, as well as inform them about what the wider Church is involved in. It has a readership in excess of 25,000 and is distributed throughout Ireland.
To find out more go to www.presbyterianireland.org/herald or access the digital version via Issuu.