Minister's Thoughts

Pray Today

You cannot go far in the parishes of Knockando, Elchies and Archiestown and Rothes in Upper Speyside without encountering a variety of bridges. Many of them are old stone-built bridges with room for only one vehicle at a time. Some are fit only for walkers or cyclists and most are in daily use. They enable people to cross from one side of the Spey, or its tributaries, to the other.

Probably the most iconic of these bridges is the Telford Bridge which spans the Spey between Craigellachie and Dandaleith by Rothes. Constructed between 1812 and 1814 the ironwork was cast in Denbighshire. For anyone who didn’t know it before, it is hard to imagine that until 1972 it formed the main route from Rhynie to Lossiemouth. Buses and heavy vehicles had to manoeuvre on and off the bridge. Today, it is used only by walkers and cyclists. The site of a much older crossing is to be found at the Boat O’ Brig which spans the Spey between Dundurcas by Rothes and Boharm. Back in the 13thC Muriel de Polloc provided land for the St. Nicholas Hospital for poor people, which was assigned to the Bishop and Chapter of Elgin Cathedral. It is said that Muriel also built a wooden bridge there. However for some 250 years or so the crossing was served by a ferry boat until the road bridge was rebuilt around 1830; and the tolls used to support the hospital. The Boat O’ Brig is still in regular use with vehicles only being able to travel in one direction at a time.

Imagine the difficulty of crossing the Spey at these places without the bridges! In the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke’s Gospel (16:24-26) Jesus tells of poor Lazarus who sat daily by the Rich Man’s gate, so hungry that he longed for even the crumbs that fell from the Rich Man’s plate. Alas the Rich Man never even noticed Lazarus. In time Lazarus died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The Rich Man also died and was in torment in Hades. He looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus at his side. Their roles were now reversed and the Rich Man begged Abraham to send Lazarus to dip his finger in water and cool his tongue because he was in agony in the fire (v24.) However Abraham said “remember in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.”

“And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross from there to us. (v26)” The point is that the way we live here and now affects our eternal salvation. Only by following in the footsteps of Jesus can we journey from earth to heaven. He is the way, the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6.) Follow him!

Rev. Bob Anderson

Reading 1 – 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 New International Version (NIV) Warning Against Idleness 6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching[a] you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” 11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.  
Reading 2 – Luke 21:5-19
Luke 21:5-19 New International Version (NIV) The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times 5 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.” 7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?” 8 He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.” 10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. 12 “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.