A message from our Minister, Neil Dougall - April 2018


One morning recently, I glimpsed the sun rising behind the Bass Rock and my spirits soared. It feels as if it’s been a long, cold winter. It was cold and frosty through most of January and February, with a biting easterly wind. The days it wasn’t quite so cold, it seemed to rain. Then to cap it all, at the start of March we were hit by the Beast from the East.

Meteorologists have decided that spring begins on March 1 and that was the day when I experienced my first ever red weather warning. It turned out to be anything but a false alarm. The snow fell and kept falling. Kids enjoyed sledging, igloos were erected. Drifting snow blocked most of the roads. Those who can remember that far back reckon it’s the worst snow North Berwick’s had since 1963. By the time normality returned I was longing for winter to end.

Two weeks later, winter bit again when we experienced the mini-beast!

So when I saw the sun rising behind the Bass Rock that morning it felt like a promise. The cold and dark of winter was almost over. The frost and the snow would not return. The wind and driving rain would be replaced by the warmth and light of summer.

This month we celebrate the rising of the Son.

One of the trickiest things in language are homophones - two words which sound the same but are spelt differently, and mean quite different things. Comedians love them because they offer endless scope for punning. Here’s a couple. ‘A bicycle can’t stand on its own because it is two-tired’ and ‘bakers trade recipes on a knead to know basis’.*

Poets also love homophones because of for their capacity to express mystery.

I picture the cave-tomb where Jesus was buried. On Easter morning the scene is lit by the orange glow of the rising sun. The curtain of darkness is pierced showing that the large stone has rolled away. As the first rays light up the tomb, they reveal it is empty for the Son has risen.

The orange glow of the rising sun behind the Bass rock is a promise. It proclaims the end of winter and heralds the coming of spring. In the same way the rising of the Son of God is a promise. It assures us that the long, dark winter of sin and death is over. The chains that have held humans captive have been broken. In dying on the cross Jesus liberated us from the powers that diminish our humanity and prevent us being the best version of ourselves.

The rising of the Son of God is a sign. For those with eyes to see it declares that evil will not have the last word, that good is greater than evil and that physical death is not the end.

The rising of the Son of God is a foretaste. Winter is over, spring has come. The light and warmth of summer lie just round the corner.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3 ).


Living God,
you have given us a living hope
in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Grant that we, being risen with him
may seek the things which are above,
and be made partakers of the life eternal;
through our Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN
(Daily Prayer 1941)


Picture credit: Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_solerf'>solerf / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

To see other messages from Neil, click on the appropriate month in the table below.

April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019
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