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 – 1 Corinthians 1:1-9
1 Corinthians 1:1-9 New International Version (NIV) 1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, 2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours: 3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Thanksgiving 4 I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— 6 God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. 7 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8 He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  
Reading 2 – John 1:29-42
John 1:29-42 New International Version (NIV) John Testifies About Jesus 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”  32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”[a] John’s Disciples Follow Jesus 35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. 40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter[b]).